Pandemic - Board Game Box Shot

Pandemic

| 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 (125)

Filter by: Order by:
Player Avatar
6
Brazil
Game Developerz fan
The Gold Heart
8
85 of 87 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.

CONCEPT AND BASIC MECHANICS
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.

CONCLUSION
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”!

PROS
- 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

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

 
Player Avatar
6
Pick a Favorite LGS
Robots on the Line fan
Miniature Painter
I play blue
9
156 of 160 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

Weaknesses
- 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.

Suggestions
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.

Summary
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.

 
Player Avatar
8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
9
69 of 71 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.

 
Player Avatar
9
Rated 100 Games
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer
7
106 of 110 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…

 
Player Avatar
5
Greater Than Games fan
1A Games fan
8
72 of 75 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.

SETUP
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.

GAMEPLAY
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.

WIN/LOSE
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.

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

BAD
-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.

FINAL THOUGHTS
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.

 
Player Avatar
4
Gamer - Level 4
Knight
9
18 of 18 gamers found this helpful
“Fight against terrible diseases and save the world!”

Overview

Games are about 45 minutes, 2-4 players.

You play as a team of specialists, each player has a unique skill that will come in handy during the game play.

During your turn you can do 4 actions:
Move or travel to different cities, treat disease, trade player card with other payers, build research stations and discover cures.
You may do the same action several times, for example:
Move 3 steps and cure 1 disease cube.
Move 1 step, cure 2 disease and build 1 research station.

After your 4 actions are done you draw 2 player card and then infect 2-4 city’s depending on the infection rate.
You infect city’s by placing colored cubes on them, there are 4 different colors that represent the 4 different diseases in the game.
If the city already has 3 cubes of a color,
you do not place a 4th cube. Instead, an outbreak of this disease occurs and the disease spreads to all the connected city’s.

The player card can either help or break you.
There are 3 different player cards, the colored city cards that will help you travel to other locations or build research station, event card that can be played anytime during the game and epidemic cards.
The epidemic cards will truly make **** happened.

Objective

Your main objective is to collected 5 of the same colored city card and then move on to a research station. At the research station you discard the cards to discover a cure for the disease of that color.
If no cubes of this color are on the board, this disease is now eradicated.

But during the game you will also have to maintain the diseases so that no outbreaks occur.

Goal

The goal is to discover cures for all 4 diseases.
The players lose if 8 outbreaks occur, not enough disease cubes are left when needed or you run out of player cards in the deck.

Verdict

Oh my god this game is hard! We’ve played it a couple of times and have never won. The most times we lose because we ran out of player cards.
But this is truthfully a remarkable and good game.
The excitement and the tension alone when you play is hard to come by.

Using the characters strengths wisely and planning you strategy before the diseases turns the world into a zombie infected death trap is great fun!

This is a definitive buy!

 
Player Avatar
8
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
8
123 of 129 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.

GAME PLAY:
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!

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

PROS:
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

CONS:
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.

OVERALL:
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.

 
Player Avatar
3
Gamer - Level 2
9
81 of 85 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.

Components

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.

Conclusion

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.

 
Player Avatar
5
7
44 of 46 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.

 
Player Avatar
8
Professional Advisor
Tactician
Advanced Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
8
135 of 142 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.

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

 
Player Avatar
6
United Kingdom
Intermediate Reviewer
Video Game Fan
9
91 of 96 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!

 
Player Avatar
4
Gamer - Level 4
Professional Grader
8
73 of 77 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!

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

 
Player Avatar
6
Finland
I'm Completely Obsessed
Intermediate Reviewer
8
125 of 132 gamers found this helpful
“A well balanced fight against the nature”

The Premise

Pandemic is a game about four disease control workers trying to stop four global Pandemics from eradicating the human race. It’s a race against the time, and the winner is determined by who is left on the face of the planet.

Out of the box

The board is thick and feels durable. There’s lots of cards too in there. Five different player pawns of unique color and some wooden houses representing research stations. There’s also a manual which seems well done, clear and informative. The colors on the pawns are a bit off though, they don’t represent the colors on the role cards very well (which determine your disease control worker’s unique skills). There’s also wooden cubes for the four different diseases.

Actual Gameplay

You have three different mechanics for failing. 1 You run out of player cards (which are used for travel and curing diseases, each player draws them from a deck during their turn), 2 you run out of disease cubes which you have to add to the game (representing the diseases spread) or 3 there’s too many outbreaks. You win only by curing all the four diseases.

You start in Atlanta, travelling the globe in search of information with which you can cure the diseases. It’s though, you have to really work with your team mates in order to save the planet.

Final words

The game is HARD. You will most likely lose first games you play. Don’t be but down by this: the game is very rewarding. The game feels a bit repetitive though without the expansion, but nothing that prevents you from playing again and again. One of the role cards is a bit underpowered, but it gets buffed in the expansion. Some of the disease cubes are a bit bad quality and the pawns have wrong shades of color on them, but otherwise the components are good.

So, if you are a sucker for co-op games and aren’t afraid of getting beaten by the board, get this. The gameplay isn’t deep, but keeps your entertained for sure. It will most likely get a lot of table time as well in your play group, so it’s a good purchase.

 
Player Avatar
8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
8
71 of 75 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.

 
Player Avatar
7
Intermediate Reviewer
Copper Supporter
10
140 of 148 gamers found this helpful
“Down to the Basics Review”

Disclaimer: The main goal of “Down to the Basics Reviews” is to show what the game is about, getting down to the basics, the bare minimum necessary to captivated the reader.

So, about Pandemic:

1) What it is?
A cooperative game where you have to discover cures for diseases to avoid the brutal human extinction.

2) How do you play?
Draw cards, move pawn, give cards, put cubes on board, remove cubes, shuffle cards, get cure tokens, build research stations, set the outbreak and infection rate levels. Cubes represent disease infection levels and are added to a city when an infection card of that city is drawn. There must be a maximum of three cubes of each color in a given city. If a fourth cube must be added, the disease spreads to the neighbour cities (outbreak). Players can remove one cube worth of a disease per action if the cure was not yet discovered or all cubes from a city per action otherwise. A cure is discovered when one player reaches a reasearch station in a city and he discards five cards of the same color.
Victory: all cures are discovered.
Defeat: there are no more cubes of a color when one is needed or there are no more player cards to draw or the eighth outbreak occurs.

3) What are the decisions that you make?
You have 4 action points to spent with the following actions:
- Where to move your pawn. You must move to remove cubes from a city (cure population), to reach a research station or to be in a better position to give or receive cards from other players. You may move direct to a neighbour city or to any other city using your cards.
- Give cards to players. Other players may have more of a certain diseade. You may give another card of the same color so they have a better chance to discover the cure. You can only give cards of the city where you are.
- Decide to build a research station. These are the only places where cures can be discovered.
- Each player has a different role with different powers. For instance, if you are a scientist you can cure a disease with only four cards.
- There are event cards that can be used at any point during the game. Such cards do not need action points.

4) What is good about it?
Variable player powers are really interesting because they require group thinking and a good dose of ingenuity to work. The game is simple, elegant and fun to play. You can even play solo using more than one role card.

5) What is not so good about it?
As a cooperative game there can be those moments when one player tries to command everyone. Also, you can adjust the difficulty level but after a number of plays the game may look repetitive. This can be corrected with the On the Brink expansion.

6) What it feels when you play it?
After a few rounds there will be tension in the air. There will be outbreaks? Will I be able to reach the research station on time? After a victory, a sense of relief. After a defeat, totally despair, the humanity is doomed.

 

Add a Review for "Pandemic"

You must be to add a review.

× Visit Your Profile