Pandemic - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2008

Pandemic 2nd Edition
After five years of Pandemic, hundreds of thousands of players have been contracted by the virus! To celebrate this milestone, Pandemic has been completely re-designed. With new artwork by Chris Quilliams (Clash of Cultures, Merchants & Marauders), Pandemic will now have a more modern look, inside and outside the box. With two new characters: the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist, face the game in ways you never thought possible. Brand new challenges are waiting for you!

Pandemic 2nd edition board and new roles
Second edition board and new roles

Game Overview
Four diseases have broken out in the world and it is up to a team of specialists in various fields to find cures for these diseases before mankind is wiped out.

Players must work together, playing to their characters' strengths and planning their strategy of eradication before the diseases overwhelm the world with ever-increasing outbreaks. For example, the Operation Specialist can build research stations, which are needed to find cures for the diseases. The Scientist needs only 4 cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal 5.

But the diseases are outbreaking fast and time is running out: the team must try to stem the tide of infection in diseased areas while also towards cures.

A truly cooperative game where you all win or you all lose.

Pandemic 2nd edition cards
images © Z-Man Games

User Reviews (139)

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Robots on the Line fan
Miniature Painter
I play blue
165 of 169 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Superb Cooperative game”

Strong Suits
– A game where everyone works together
– Very challenging yet fun
– You can change the difficulty level from easy to insanely hard
– Easy to teach to others

– It can kill the fun if one person is telling everyone else what to do
– You will lose, especially on the higher difficulty levels (this may motivate rather than discourage, depending on the group you’re with)
– Certain “roles” may be more fun to play than others.

The key to enjoying this game as a group is to give the Dispatcher and Medic roles to the right people in your group! Sure you are “supposed” to hand them out at random, but I suggest you give the Dispatcher to the person in the group who is the most outspoken and most likes to control situations. I’d then give the Medic to the quietest person in the group, that might typically get overpowered in a collaborative situation.

The Dispatcher has extra abilities to move people around the board, which is great for a “leader” personality. The Medic has an awesome ability to go through and cure lots of diseases, which makes someone with a “follower” personality have a lot of fun and help out the group in a big way.

I love this game! The theme of viruses spreading over the globe, is one that almost any gamer or non gamer can enjoy. This is a big reason my wife likes this game as well, because it isn’t dragons or zombies or anything too fantastical.

If you’re looking for a game you can play with others instead of against them, this is a MUST HAVE for your game collection. You’ll find you’re communicating with everyone in your group the whole time, as opposed to other games where you might rarely say a word to anyone until the end of the game.

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I play red
The Gold Heart
91 of 94 gamers found this helpful
“Fun even if you lose. It's a win-win game.”

Pandemic is a quite challenging cooperative board game, even for advanced players. It has this chaotic mechanic of cities being infected by diseases, so that it can take only two or three turns before taking you from “ok, we got this” to “OH MY GOD WHAT THE **** IS GOING ON?”. That way, even if you lose, the game leaves you with that urge to play it all over again. Very rare in most board games.

The concept is that you and your friends are trying to deal with 4 different types of diseases spreading all over the world. The objective is finding a cure for all of them before your time runs out.

Each player will get a random role at the beginning of the game, which has a different skill (medic can easily remove diseases from a city, scientist can easily research a cure, etc). Since these roles affect a lot your decisions, they give Pandemic a lot of replayability, which is very very nice.

Now, in your turn, you may spend up to 4 actions, like building research centers, traveling, removing diseases, etc. So it becomes really important to discuss with the other players how to optimize your actions, specially because, at the end of your turn, you will be flipping cards from the infection deck, spreading diseases even more.

At the end of turn, you also get to draw cards that may be good (gives you mobility or are used to research a cure) or bad (epidemic cards). When an epidemic occurs, every infection card previously flipped will be shuffled and placed ON TOP of the infection deck. What that means? It means every infected city will be infected AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN, until one of them start an outbreak, which starts a chain reaction that leads to a real pandemic. By far one of the most intelligent mechanics I’ve ever seen in a board game.

After 8 outbreaks, the game ends and everybody loses. Yeah. Everyone.

Pandemic is probably the best modern co-op game out there, specially for non-gamers. The infection mechanics are really clever, cause it relies on randomness but allows the players to make strategic decisions based on their odds of succeeding.

The difficulty can be easily changed depending on how experienced the players are, and the role cards give Pandemic even more replay value.

I would never hesitate to recommend this game to a gamer, it’s a “must play”!

– Easy to learn, hard to master
– Incredibly clever mechanics, tons of emotions
– Good replayability
– Lose or win, there’s no way you’ll play this game only once
– Good components

– Like every co-op game, alpha gamers may ruin the experience of shy players, so choose well who’s playing with you.

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Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
112 of 117 gamers found this helpful
“Get rid of deadly diseases together!”

Most cooperative games are meant to be fun. Most aren’t very hard, but just promote a sense of working together instead of competing. With Pandemic it’s different. This is a cooperative game that is hard, very hard. It is so from the first time you play it and when you grasp the basics, there are always higher levels of difficulty to try out. Teamwork and strategic thinking are essential to winning, for the diseases don’t wait…

In Pandemic you are a member of a disease-fighting team (part of the CDC – Center for Disease Control and Prevention) based in Atlanta. The world is on the brink of a global disaster, because of four diseases that have infected some cities already. You need to combat the diseases and find a cure for them before it’s too late. Every player will randomly get a card with a specific role (like Scientist, Dispatcher, etc.). Each role has a special ability that will be vital to winning the game.

Each player gets four actions which for instance allow him or her to move around the board (depicting the Earth with some major cities on each continent), treat diseases present in a city or try to help discover a cure for one of the diseases. Players can also use their special abilities (the Scientist for instance can more easily discover a cure).

For most actions you need cards. These cards are dealt to you at the start of the game and they might represent cities on the board or some special action that gives free stuff (like a free research center – you start with just the one in Atlanta).

After each player has done his or her best to limit the spread of the diseases, the infection phase starts. A deck of cards has been created at the start, containing some city cards. Depending on the infection rate (this increases when an Epidemic card is drawn) cards are drawn and disease spreads in the cities (add cubes of certain colors to the city). When a fourth cube would be added, there is an outbreak and the disease spreads to adjacent cities. This might trigger a chain of outbreaks, so players need to reduce the number of cubes in cities to prevent this. Too many outbreaks and the game will be over!

When the players find a cure for all four diseases they win. However, when there are no more cubes of one type of disease left to place or there is an eighth outbreak or the draw pile from which players draw two cards each turn is empty, it is over and the players lose.

At first glance Pandemic seems a straightforward game. At the start there is not that much disease on the board and you have a lot of actions to do something about it. This is deceptive, however. The board might quickly explode with disease rampant all over the place and you and your fellow players having a hard time even keeping a status quo. I remember my first games (at the easiest level) that all ended in losses (and big ones!). So you really need to learn and replay this game to get the hang of it. Some roles greatly interact and some don’t, so you need to talk a lot and try to plan ahead. Playing alone is no option. When one player decides to try something not agreed on, you will probably lose fast. In that sense this is a real cooperative game with no room for single glory. You win as a team or not at all!

Personally I think Pandemic is a smart take on the cooperative game genre. While some cooperative games are fun they are mostly not difficult or challenging enough. With Pandemic you are constantly challenged and at the edge of your seat when cards are drawn. Will there be an outbreak just where you hope there wouldn’t be one? How will get out of this new situation? You really need to think strategically and get all players to make their best effort. Otherwise the world is doomed and a global pandemic will crush humanity…

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48 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“Great introduction to coop games.”

Pandemic is the only coop game I’ve ever played. I never really saw the appeal of coop games until somebody brought this in to work. After my first play through I knew I needed to buy it.

In Pandemic you and the other players are all trying to cure 4 diseases before they outbreak too much and just become unmanageable. You will start with 9 random cities with disease cubes on them, the first 3 get 3 cubes, the next 3 get 2 cubes and the last 3 get 1 cube. The world is grouped into 4 regions (denoted by colors) for each of the 4 diseases. The starting cities get the color of disease cube for the color of city they are.

Each player now takes a special role that will help them specialize in things that will help out in the game. Now the players need to build research stations, remove disease cubes, share knowledge, and eventually cure all 4 diseases.

The difficulty comes from the constant onslaught of disease cubes. After each players’ turn the next cities are flipped over and receive disease cubes. If a city gets flipped over and it is already at 3 cubes it then outbreaks giving one cube to each city attached to it. Throughout the player deck epidemics are included, as these come up you get a brand new city with 3 cubes. In addition all those cities you’ve already been adding cubes to, yes those ones you’ve been removing cubes from as well, get shuffled and thrown right back on top to add even more cubes.

This is a rewarding game. It is fun to work together and not have to come up with the strategy all by yourself. It might be good to play the first few times with open hands, but I wouldn’t do that for long. It might be easier, but it seems like it turns into 1 or 2 people running the whole game.

I gave this a 7 because it is quick to play and offers a lot of tough decisions in that short amount of time. If you lose, at least it was only 15 or 20 minutes so you can easily get in another game to try and win. If playing with only 4 epidemics becomes to easy, just add one. Once you get up to 6, which is the most for the base game, things get really tough, so you will never feel like this game is too easy.

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Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Junior Reporter
47 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Lets Work Together!”

Picked this one up on a whim as I was looking for something a little different. Tried to use it in our league, scoring it that we either gain together or lose points together. We finally agreed that this was not for leagues but perfect for any get togethers where everyone wants to stay friends.

This is a blast! Four diseases are spreading fast and you and your team need to cure them all fast. The strongest piece of advice I can give here is everyone remember your roles you are given at the start and play to your strengths throughout or else you will lose. And defeat comes quicker than you think as the game has three different ways of winning while you have only one.

This is a game of tough decisions and massive leaps of faith. You can take everyone’s council on board but make sure to make your own decisions, win or lose you don’t want to ruin this game by being bullied by people who are pushier and you will never suffer the ‘why didn’t I listen to myself?’, moments if you make your own decisions after taking on board all the suggestions and facts from everyone else, after all you are part of a team, but a team of specialists.

Replay Value: At about 45 minutes a game this one is endlessly replayable. It has a real ‘just one more go’ feel and the set up is different every time. It is at it’s best with 4 but works very well in 2 or 3 player.

Components: Simple ‘Cluedo’ pieces for the people but that’s okay as they serve their purpose the board is nice and gives the feeling of something on a screen being monitored in a command centre. The disease look great as little, coloured, see-through cubes. The cards are perfect for the game also and, thankfully, a nice size.

Easy to Learn: I have found that this can be thought within 5 minutes or two goes and everyone is well able to play by the second game which is quick in coming around.

To sum up, get this, it is perfect if you want to play together and not fight or be competitive. Perfect for when you involve people who shy away from confrontational board games. Basically perfect for a fun night in with serious and new gamers alike. Just don’t let anyone get bossy.

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AEG fan
Amateur Reviewer
47 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“It's an Epidemic...of fun!!!”

In brief: The CDC has recorded a marked increase over the last 8 years or so of recreational use of this game. Symptoms include: Rapid onset of addiction, increased socialization between users, and in some extreme cases, trouble breathing during the moment a “helpful” card is flipped in anticipation of an epidemic card.

The Game: This game is as addicting and fast acting as they come! The rules are easy to learn and it is one of the first games I’ve played that are not plagued by constant references to the manual. The set up is easily understood and can be repeated with minimal effort which is good because in this game, you will most probably die (lose).

Replay Value: Very high! Not only because of the quick set up time but also because the moment after you loose (which follows a universal stunned silence) you actually have to force yourself from setting up again. This game is so much fun to lose, as many have said before me.

Overall: This game has managed to pull it all together. The components are simple, not complicated. The learning curve is almost non-existent. The difficulty level is incredibly high, but for reasons I still don’t understand, loosing this game is the most fun I’ve had in some time! I challenge you to only play one game, especially your first few times pulling it from the box. This will be a game requested again and again at game night.

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8 Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012 Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
128 of 134 gamers found this helpful
“Stopping the Spread of Disease, Not Fun”

This is a game where I love to loose. It is obvious by how quickly I want to reset the board and give it another go. We have played through Pandemic about a dozen times and I think I’ve only won about two times. But every time we lose it feels like you are so close and, “One more time!!!” is being shouted across the table.

You are a team of researches out to cure several epidemics ravaging the world. Each player has a special ability that makes this a bit easier for them. On your turn you draw one infection card that puts a new disease marker on the board and you also draw a player card that will hopefully get you closer to curing the disease.

Curing a disease is done by gathering a number of like color cards and getting them to the research center on the board. For instance, five blue cards cure the blue disease. Get it to the a research center and you can start curing the people.

Does finding a cure save that region the disease spreading? NO! There are still people out there without the cure running around not washing their hands spreading their filth all over the place! In order to eradicate the disease you have to cure each city, wiping out the disease.

Do this with each of the five diseases and you can win. It’s a tall order, especially since there are a number of ways to lose. Running out of disease cubes, running out of infection cards, or too many outbreaks could all lose the game for you. You better like losing to play this game because it will chew you up and spit you out!

Their nice, but nothing special. I think the board has nice art work. The pieces are more functional then a piece of stunning art.

Great replay ability. It will have you coming back for more.
It has a short training time, making it easy to teach to new comers.
Decently short play time allows for multiple play thorughs
Good price point

I think you’ll hear this over and over as you read through the reviews, and it pretty common with co-op games, but look out for the general. That one player who is always trying command the other players where to go and what to do. It’s not a con on the game, and just like most games, you have to have the right people to bring the best of the game out for all to enjoy.

This is a fun game where the theme does a great job driving the game and making you feel the pressure that things are getting out of control and you are going to lose. One of the great things about this game it can often time be more fun to lose to than to beat. When you lose you feel like you were so close and you just needed on more move or break or card and you could have saved the world. Win or lose, this is a game that you will enjoy.

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Gamer - Level 2
85 of 89 gamers found this helpful
“Everyone must do their part to stop the spread of disease”

This cooperative game differs from most board games in that players are all working together, rather than playing against each other. The players, as a team, must coordinate their actions to stop a global pandemic.


96 wooden disease cubes, 5 player pawns, 6 wooden research stations, 6 little markers, 115 Cards (48 infection cards, 59 player cards, 4 role cards, and 4 quick reference cards), and one board depicting a map of the world with connections between cities.

Gameplay Summary

Players are each dealt a role, and place the appropriate pawn in Atlanta to start. Nine infection cards are revealed to populate the board with disease markers, and then the cards are placed in the discard pile. On your turn, you get four actions. An action can be moving to another city, removing a disease cube from your current city, building a research station in your current city, or curing one of the disease types.

After your four actions, you will draw two more cards, which will likely help you travel to different cities and cure diseases, but may be one of the dangerous EPIDEMIC cards that increase the infection rate. Once you have drawn your cards, you must reveal the top few cards of the infection deck, and add disease cubes to the cities revealed.

If a fourth disease cube would ever be added to a city, that city suffers an outbreak, spreading cubes to all adjacent cities. If eight outbreaks happen, or if too many cubes of one color are added to the board, the players lose the game. If the players manage to cure all four diseases before the draw pile runs out, the players win the game.

Good Stuff

As a cooperative game, Pandemic provides a refreshing change of pace from most board games. Rather than competing against each other, players all have to work together to try to defeat the game itself. This makes Pandemic a fantastic game for players who don’t like overly competitive games, or players who normally might not enjoy a board game because other players always beat them. In Pandemic, everyone can share in the victory.

Another side effect of the game being cooperative is that a lot more conversation and interaction between players goes on that in many other games. A game of Pandemic will have all the players discussing strategy and options together on almost every turn. As opposed to a game like Chess, where players can play silently for hours, Pandemic encourages players to talk with each other about the game while it is in progress.

Bad Stuff

Although players should work together evenly to solve this puzzle, there is the potential for one aggressive and outspoken player to essentially play the game single handedly and give orders to everyone else. If you let the most experienced player in your group make all the decisions, it won’t be very fun for the other players.

Also, since you are playing against the game instead of against other players, games of Pandemic may start to feel similar over time.


Pandemic provides a pretty interesting cooperative experience at a level that doesn’t take too long to learn or play. As long as you make sure that your players are working as a team, rather than one puppet-master and three minions, it should be fun for many plays.

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Miniature Painter
Professional Advisor
Advanced Reviewer
140 of 147 gamers found this helpful
“Intense Cooperative with Great Replay Value”

Overview: Pandemic is a cooperative game in which 2-4 players team up to contain and cure catastrophic diseases threatening the global population.

Gameplay: Each player is randomly assigned a role card which gives his character special abilities to use during his turn. Four different colors of wooden cubes, representing the diseases, are seeded on the board by drawing cards from the Infection deck

During your turn, you must choose four actions to take, including moving around the world, reducing disease buildup, and finding cures. Next, you will draw two cards from the player deck. These cards will usually be locations which can be used for faster travel and curing diseases. Also in the player deck are Epidemic cards. They will increase the rate of infection and reset the Infection deck, creating an unpredictable situation and hampering your current strategy. Lastly, you will draw cards from the Infection deck based on the current rate of infection. These will add infection cubes to the board and possibly force an outbreak during which an additional cube is placed on EVERY adjacent city!

The players win by discovering the cures for all four diseases. They can lose in three different ways: failing to prevent eight outbreaks, running out of cards in the player deck, and running out of infection cubes from any of the four colors.

– Random roles and difficulty to win increase replay value.
– Innovative game mechanics.
– Takes about an hour to play, can be used as filler game.
– Excellent gateway game as players do not need to compete and can learn as they play.
– Difficulty can be customized by choosing amount of Epidemics
– Unpredictable Epidemic draws create tension because victory is never guaranteed.

– Experienced players may dominate strategy discussion causing negative play.
– Unpredictable Epidemic draws create tension because victory is never guaranteed.

Historical Figure/ Fictional Character I’d Most Like to Play With: Louis Pasteur

Pandemic is one of the best cooperative games available. It combines quick, strategic gameplay with a random antagonistic game system to generate an entertaining experience.

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United Kingdom
Intermediate Reviewer
Video Game Fan
95 of 100 gamers found this helpful
“Are you ready to save the world?”

Breaking news! The world has been infected by not 1, not 2, but 4 deadly diseases, all over the world!

Well that’s bad news! I’m glad it’s not up to me to cure them!

Ah, didn’t I mention you’re an honorary disease control expert charged with saving the world?

No. You didn’t.

Welcome to Pandemic. Pandemic is a cooperative game in which you must cure the world of 4 diseases. Diseases are represented by little cubes in cities round the world represented on the board.

So how do I go about it then?

On your turn, you take 4 actions to help rid the world of disease. Then, you draw two cards from the player deck (nearly all of which will help you). Then the infections spread!

Ok, back up! What actions can I take?

The two simplest actions available to you are to move to an adjacent city on the board or to remove a cube of disease from the city you are in (or all cubes if the disease has been cured). You also have a hand of cards, most of which will show a colour-coded city, and these give you other actions you can take. If you discard a city card you can move directly to that city for an action. If you’ve got the city card and you’re already there, you can give that city card to any other player who is also in the city, or you could discard that card to either move to any other city you choose, or you can build a research station at the city you are in. If you have 5 cards of the same colour and you are in a city with a research station, you can discard them all to discover the cure for the disease of that colour.

And then I get more cards?

Yes, you take two cards from the player deck, and these will nearly always help you. Most of the cards are city cards. There are a few event cards, giving you one-off abilities that don’t count as actions. Finally there are a few, just a few epidemic cards to make your life a living ****. I’ll tell you about the epidemic card in a moment after I’ve told you about the infection phase, so you can fully appreciate how bad it is!

Why am I getting a sinking feeling?

So for the infection phase you draw cards from the infection deck (the exact number depends on how many epidemic cards you’ve drawn so far – the more epidemic cards, the more infections). For each city, add an infection cube to the city. If the city already has three cubes on it – outbreak! Infect all of the cities neighbours instead. If one of those cities also has three cubes – chain outbreak! The only exception here is if a disease has been cured and eradicated from the board, then you don’t have to infect those cities.

So what do these epidemic cards do?

When you draw an epidemic card you take the bottom city from the infection deck and give it 3 disease cubes. This is bad, because this will be a city you’ve not been concerning yourself with before is suddenly full of disease! Then, if that wasn’t bad enough, you take the discard pile for the infections deck, shuffle the cards and place them back on the top of the infection deck. That means the cities you’ve had before, the ones that are already infected, are all about to get infected again. That’s really bad.

OK I’ve got it, but surely I just keep going until I win?

If you run out of cards in the playing deck, you lose. If you have too many outbreaks, you lose. If you run out of disease cubes for any disease, you lose. More than likely, you will lose.

So why would I want to play?

Because it’s such a blast. It’s great working together towards a common win instead of trying to beat your opponents. It’s really tense, and involves the ritual chanting of “please don’t be an epidemic card, please don’t be an epidemic card” every turn of the player deck. And you will probably find that when you lose you’ll only just lose, and you’ll want to play again. And again. And again.

So, saving the world huh? It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it…

Yes, but thank goodness you’ve got some help!

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Gamer - Level 4
76 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Fun Co-op Play, becomes awesome with experienced players!”

My wife and I got this two years ago in Seattle. We spent 8 ours in the store playing Pandemic, Dominion, and Citadels to try them out. This was not my first choice to take home because I’m competitive by nature, and didn’t really think it would be fun if everybody wins, but I was wrong. This game will make you sweat as you work to eradicate the diseases.

I think one of the best things about this game is that it will never be the same, diseases will always spread differently, and those darn Epidemic cards will turn up just when you don’t want them. We once had two in a row and the next one came two turns later, which ended the game. Winning certainly isn’t easy, but the challenge is fun, and if you lose, you lose together.

After a few tries by ourselves, we decided to bring it out for others to play, too. Well, that didn’t work so well. The two of us, mostly me, ended up dominating the game, plotting out which way to go and what diseases to cure next. I don’t think our friends had too much fun that first time, since they haven’t played since.

What really makes the game fun, though, is when you play with 4 people that know the game. We played with two of our friends that are loud and outspoken, and there were a few arguments about the best way to proceed. Four opinions and five epidemic cards makes for a very fun game that often creates a stress level factor usually only seen at Defcon 5!

– Tons of replay value
– Different levels of difficulty allow for more relaxed play
(especially if you have just been trounced by the black cubes!)
– Fun from the beginning, but increases with experience.

– When playing with a mix of new and experienced players can lead to a game that is managed by one or two people.
– Can get a little aggravating when the diseases win 5 in a row!

Overall, this is a great game that gets better the more you play.

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Professional Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
75 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“Tough but rewarding co-op”

Pandemic is a well designed co-operative game that can really be tough to beat. This game scales well with 2 to 4 players, and you can even play it solo as well (just pick 2 roles).

Players pick roles that give different abilities, then work as a team as you race around the world trying to save it from four virus outbreaks. There is only one way to win the game: cure all viruses. There are many ways to loose: too many outbreaks, player deck runs out, or virus cubes run out.

You’ll be constantly trying to slow down the spread of the diseases long enough to find the cures. To find a cure you must have 5 cards of same color (unless you’re role is Scientist then 4) as the virus, then bring those cards to a research station for a cure. It might sound easy, but you only get 4 actions per turn, and you draw new infections after each player’s turn. An epidemic card can really mess you up, because it increases the infection rate and reshuffles the infection discard pile back on top ready to reinfect the same cities again. It takes careful coordination between players to maximize the teams effectiveness at stemming the tide of infections to prevent outbreaks (really bad) while getting the cure.

The game has different levels of difficulty, and even the easiest level can be quite challenging. I marvel at those who can win this game at “legendary” level.

This game has pretty wide appeal, because of current events and who doesn’t like to save the world! Even my kids dig it and they’re really not quite old enough to play it.

One con: This game can degrade into non-cooperative and boring play if someone in the group is too bossy or not patient with other people’s mistakes. Just come together to have fun and work together.

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Greater Than Games fan
1A Games fan
75 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“Who knew that epidemics could be so fun?”

“Yes, I just cured the disease but wait, there is another epidemic in Hong Kong!” Pandemic is a co-op game that sends players all over the globe curing and eradicating diseases. It gets harder as the game progresses and everyone either wins or loses as a team.

Everyone gets a role card.
Set up the starting infection. (see rule book for instructions)
Put the Epidemic cards in the Player deck based upon difficulty desired.

Take four actions:
*move to next city
*discard a Player card to move to the city named on the card
*discard a Player card of your current city to move to any city
*move from Research Station to Research Station
*cure disease, discard 5 cards of the same color
*remove one cube (disease) on the city you occupy
*trade cards (which matches the current city you’re in) with your teammates

Next, you draw 2 Player cards. If you draw an Epidemic follow the instructions on the card. Finally, you will draw Infection cards equal to the current infection rate.

You win by curing all the diseases. You lose by running out of player cards, you can’t place a cube of a certain color because the pile has ran out, or you had an eighth outbreak.

-co-op play that really emphasizes teamwork
-easy to teach/learn for gamers mostly
-quick gameplay
-varying difficulty

-might be too tricky to teach non-gamers
-Z-man reprinted the game so if you want to play In the Lab (latest expansion) and you don’t have the newest edition of Pandemic you will either 1) need to buy the core game again or 2) buy the conversion cards.

I absolutely love the challenge in Pandemic. I would say that when I have played it has been a 50/50 chance of us winning the game. I like games that I don’t win all the time. The challenge is rewarding especially when you do win the game. My biggest complaint about the game is the reprint. I own the original Pandemic and original On the Brink expansion. I can’t play the newest expansion In the Lab unless I either buy the conversion cards or re-buy Pandemic (newest edition.) I find this frustrating. However, this doesn’t change my opinion about the game. It’s an exciting game that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you try to cure diseases and keep infections from spreading.

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Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
74 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Intense and Well Balanced Co-op Game”

Pandemic is a great co-op game where you and your teammates race around the world trying to stop epidemics and hold off rampant outbreaks of disease. Each player gets a different occupation with various abilities and the the team uses these abilities and special cards they draw to control the spread and find cures.

The main strategy is to cooperatively maximize the application of the tools and abilities you have at your disposal on a turn by turn basis with your eye on the ultimate prize to find cures before time runs out.

Tension is generally fairly high and it’s a great game for a group of problem solvers. Note that it can suffer from bullys who decide all the actions for the group or if new players sit back and let others tell them what to do — in such cases the game can be tedious for those not actively engaged.

Co-op games can also suffer when we’ve figured out the basic strategy and the theme evaporates into the metagame. With some games we’re left feeling that winning is just about luck. But think about it, any co-op game has to have a good deal of luck involved or it would be winnable almost every time. The key for designing a good co-op game is to add enough player options and interaction to at least make it *appear* that the players’ actions and strategies make a big difference.

Pandemic gets this down well. If the cards aren’t with you, you can’t win, but you can try…. stretch yourselves to the limit. You’ll still lose, but the experience can still be a blast!

This isn’t to say one loses at Pandemic often, but like most good co-op games you can adjust the challenge to make it difficult — making a win very satisfying.

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I play red
Stone of the Sun
41 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Don’t let that single virus go unnoticed!”

First impression:

At the time I was looking for a cooperative game, I was researching Pandemic and Flash Point. After reading various reviews and hearing that Flash Point fits its theme more than Pandemic and knowing Flash Point supports six players I eventually choose Flash Point over Pandemic.

Game summary:

Players work together to find cures and stop the spreading of viruses using various actions and the special abilities of the roles provided. The game can end when there are 8 outbreaks, run out of viruses to place on the board or run out of player cards. If the players can find the cure for all four viruses in time, they win!

My Experience:

Eventually I received Pandemic as gift and have played roughly 20+ games to date. Majority of the games were with 4 adult players, a few with 3 adult players and none with 2 or solo. After playing various other cooperative games prior to this such as Flash Point, Witch of Salem, Space Alert, Ghost Stories and Mice & Mystics I grew to realize I enjoyed cooperative games only when the difficulty is at the hardest. And that is when we, as a team, communicate and work together the most.

And Pandemic could be a hit or miss even when played at the hardest difficulty. There are times when you’ll steamroll the game because of no epidemic draws, powerful roles and the perfectly placed diseases. And there are times, without notice, when one outbreak can trigger a chain reaction of outbreaks to the point of no salvation. This can lead to players blaming each other for ignoring that single cube. And this is when I start enjoying the game; you are forced to work together and optimize the available resources at hand or panic and watch the Alpha Gamer take control over everything. I prefer working together.

My Likes:

It’s a great gateway game that brings people together and everyone I introduced it to enjoys it greatly. After setting the game up, the game plays smoothly without fiddling with tons of components. Also, it is casual enough where I can walk away; change my daughter’s diaper and come back still knowing the situation of the game.

My Dislikes:

As with many cooperative games, this game can suffer from the Alpha Gamers taking over and you end up watching him move cubes around. Other than that, this game can be light on strategy and can suffer from bad shuffles that lead to easy wins. Certain roles can deem very powerful, such as the Quarantine Specialist or the Medic, and can help an easy win become a steamrolled victory.

Latest Impression:

Even though the difficulty can be a hit or miss I still enjoy the game. Everyone I introduce this game to enjoys it greatly. When asked to play, I’ll gladly take the offer if it is on the hardest difficulty and we remove some role options… and maybe just play with the On the Brink Expansion.


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