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 (138)

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I play red
The Gold Heart
90 of 92 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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Gamer - Level 5
I Love Playin' Games
50 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Fight against terrible diseases and save the world!”


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.


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.


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.


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!

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Pick a Favorite LGS
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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Z-Man Games fan
Plaid Hat Games fan
Junior Reporter
45 of 46 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
44 of 45 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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I play red
Stone of the Sun
41 of 42 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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Rated 100 Games
Stone of the Sun
Advanced Reviewer
Novice Advisor
112 of 116 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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I Am What I Am
Video Game Fan
21 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Good Cooperative but lacking replayability without the expansion”

There are 4 diseases represented by different coloured cubes which spread their way across a map of the world and your job is to cure all 4 diseases. The basic gameplay consists of:

1) Players taking 4 actions from treating diseases to remove cubes, curing a disease using 5 cards of the corresponding colour, building research stations (used for curing and travelling), moving around the board and sharing knowledge (cards) between players.
2) Players draw 2 cards and resolve any epidemic cards which add more cubes to the board and adds already infected city cards back into the top of the infection deck.
3) At the end of each players’ go they then infect the board with the infection deck and add more cubes to the board.

Each player has an assigned role which has their own unique special abilities. Outbreaks occur if the city limit of 3 cubes of the same colour is broken; cubes of that colour then spread to all connecting cities. Players lose the game if there are no more cards left to draw, 8 outbreaks occur or there are no more disease cubes left when needed to add to the board. The difficulty level of the game can be changed by the number of epidemic cards added to the deck.
Who is it for?
This is essentially a cooperative logic puzzle game. It is about working out the best strategy together, so is good for people who are new to board games or who don’t want to play anything too competitive but is still enjoyable for more avid gamers.

– Easy to learn
– Different difficulty levels
– Short gameplay of roughly 45 minutes regardless of the number of players
– Great for people new to board gaming because it is easy to learn, quick and isn’t competitive

– Replayability is low, if you lose then you will want to play over and over and over… but if you win you will probably wait a good while until you want to play this again. Having said that the expansion “On the Brink” is definitely the cure for this ailment (sorry couldn’t help myself!).

Should you own this game?
If you like cooperative games, want to try out a cooperative game or want a game that non-competitive friends will enjoy then I would recommend trying this game. Yes, the replayability is low but the expansion “On the Brink” really does improve on this and I would actually recommend buying this expansion as soon as you know you like the base game. “On the Brink” adds more roles and three different scenarios (including a traitor scenario) which increase the variety and difficulty of gameplay.

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I play blue
Spread the Word
35 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Who knew cards and cubes could create so much suspense!”

Several years ago, one of my friends brought over a cooperative game to introduce to me. Intrigued by the idea (because, frankly, this friend and I get a bit too competitive and end up getting mad) of cooperative play, I welcomed this game called Pandemic. I was immediately hooked.

Pandemic is an ‘us-versus-the-disease-ridden-world’ cooperative game for 2-4 people designed to create suspense through the spread of 4 different infections. While there are many moving parts to consider, the basis of the game is quite simple:

You win the game if you find cures to all four diseases – I’ll explain shortly.

You lose the game if you go through the entire player draw pile.

You lose the game if there are 8 outbreaks (more than 3 cubes in a city).

You lose the game if any color of disease cubes are all out on the board (there are 25 of each).

Clearly, this game is designed to be tough to win, and winning is definitely an accomplishment! To start the game, set up the board by infecting 9 cities from the infection deck and place them in the appropriate discard pile. Then, deal out cards to the players from the player draw pile – these cards include cities and special event cards. After that, shuffle in the dreaded epidemic cards (more on that in a bit)!

Also, each player gets a role card, which gives them special abilities. Players must use these abilities and work together to prevent the spread of disease and find cures.

A turn works in this way: You get 4 actions – you can move, treat a disease, find a cure, trade cards, etc. At the end of the action phase, you draw cards from the player draw pile. Most of them are cities and special events, which is good. But sometimes you will draw an Epidemic card. These cards, when drawn, force you to infect a new city, shuffle the discarded infection card pile, and then put it back on the top of the pile…which leads me to the last phase – the infection phase. Draw cards off of the top of the pile to infect cities – and that is why an epidemic is so scary! All of the cities infected will now continue to be infected because you’ll continue to draw them! What are we to do??

Here’s how you find cures – collect 5 cards of the same color and discard them at a research station. Then that disease is cured. However, there are rules on collecting cards. You can only have a certain number of cards in your hand, and trading cards requires you and your teammate to be in the same city of the card being traded. Hopefully someone has the right role to make that easier!

This game is full of discussion with your teammates about how to balance urgent problems while focusing on the cure. That, in my opinion, is the best part about this game. There are lots of decisions to be made, and the longer the game goes, the more intense it becomes – the fate and well being of the world lies in the hands of you and your friends sitting around your coffee table! As you travel across the map to various cities, you’ll often find that there is too much to do and not enough time. Those times usually end with a loss. After a loss, I immediately want to play again – I think the replay value of this game is quite good. And, there is no set formula for winning – each game, with its various roles in play and various cities infected, will play out differently. Sometimes it will be over quickly and you’ll lose. Other times it will take a bit longer, and you’ll have a chance to win! Either way, you’ll enjoy it. Most games last about 45 minutes.

I believe that there are a lot of great things about this game. The components and artwork are great – they have an efficient and urgent feel. The cards are made like they’re meant to be shuffled and traded and handled (I have a gaming pet peeve with card quality). The gameplay, while having many moving parts, can be boiled down simply. And if there are any questions, the rulebook is clear and concise. The game creates an enjoyable tension where the highs are celebrated, and the lows are dreaded…who knew cardboard and wooden cubes could have such influence on our emotions!

Almost all of the people I’ve introduced this game to loved playing, and many of them wanted to play again. I’d recommend it to just about anyone except for social gamers and power gamers. Social gamers probably want to include more people and have something a little less intense, and power gamers probably want to beat people with their perfect strategy – plus Pandemic is a little light to be considered a power game.

Overall, I really enjoy this game. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t have fun playing it, and those are the kind of games I want in my collection. I think it would be a great fit for yours too.

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Greater Than Games fan
1A Games fan
75 of 78 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 77 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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Intermediate Reviewer
49 of 51 gamers found this helpful
“Ew, Cooties!”

But worry not, now you can fight against this childhood dread.
Pandemic is a board game about disease control and racing for the cure. If you have ever played mobile/pc game Plague Inc., its similar, but you’re the bad guys… well it kinda, it depends on the point of view.

Get those germs!
Pandemic is cooperative game for 2-4 players (I have played it with 5, can be done on easier difficulty levels. Beware time runs out faster though) where you try to contain 4 diseases simultaneously while looking for a cure for each disease.

You need to run around the world trying to heal cities in verge of outbreak and same time trying to get right amount of same color cards in order to cure the corresponding disease.

Every turn you have 4 actions where you move and do various things in hope of curing or buying more time to cure a disease. After your turn ends you draw 2 player cards which can be city cards with disease color which can be used for cure, travel or building additional research stations. It might also be an epidemic card that causes all **** to break loose and forces you to change strategy.
Lastly you draw from infection pile to determine where additional disease cube appears and if its right after epidemic card you feel the dread in air.

You win if all 4 diseases have a cure (which you can make when you have 4 same color cards) and you lose the game if one of following happens: player cards run out, outbreak counter reaches to 8 or disease cubes run out.

Who let this amateur in here?
Game is not really complex to learn. As it is a cooperative game you can lay down few basic rules and learn by playing, you get the gist of it in few rounds (as long as there is at least one player who knows the rules). Problem isn’t learning the game, but mastering it. This is one difficult game and even on the easiest setting it’s often a close call.

Where’s my petri dish?
Game components are neat. Especially the disease cubes, they are beautiful and nice to handle. They’re even fun to place on the board, which it really shouldn’t be.
Card art is good and very thematic, but the board is where the art shines. However biggest downer is the old time player pieces, but at least they’re color coded for player cards.

We’ve won… for now
This game can be very hectic and there is feel of impending doom lurking above you. Your group needs to work as a team and be in same page in order to win the game. Or you can have one alpha player to tell you what to do and remove all fun from this game.
Often cooperative games have issues with dominant player, but in this it really bleeds through and it’s arguably the weakest link of the game.

If you have a good group of players who can work well together, this game reaches its proper heights. There will be lots of planning in mids of playing and people asking advice from others what they think is best course of action. Some people might find it too much to handle, but most will enjoy this throughly.

This game promises thrill, anticipation and fun. It doesn’t fail to deliver.

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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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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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