Pandemic: The Cure - Board Game Box Shot

Pandemic: The Cure

| Published: 2014
93 18 6

Pandemic: The Cure, a dice-based version of the popular Pandemic board game, sets up in less than a minute and plays in 30 minutes. As in the board game, four diseases threaten the world and it’s up to your team to save humanity.

Pandemic: The Cure components

Each player takes on a different role that has its own unique set of dice and abilities — and players must take advantage of their specializations if they are to have any hope of winning the game. Players can roll their dice as often as they like, but the more times they re-roll for the perfect turn, the more likely the next epidemic will occur.

If, at any time, any region is infected with more than three dice of a given color, an outbreak occurs, spreading disease into an adjacent region. If too many outbreaks take place, or the rate of infection gets too high, all the players lose. If, however, the players can discover the cures to the four diseases, they all win and humanity is saved!

images © Z-Man Games

User Reviews (5)

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9
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue
8
132 of 140 gamers found this helpful
“Pandemic: The Cure - The Dice Are Nice!”

I am an unabashed Pandemic devotee. It is, by a narrow margin, my current favorite game. I have yet to play any of the expansions or Pandemic: Contagion, but I recently acquired a copy of Pandemic: The Cure (P:TC). I don’t think it will ever replace the original, nor do I think it strives to do so. P:TC is a fine standalone, and it functions quite well.

The most striking feature of P:TC is the dice. There are 85 of them! How many games can make that claim? Quarriors by comparison, has 130, and Roll For The Galaxy 111. The custom dice that make up the bulk of the components to P:TC are lovely to behold in their 11 distinct colors. The 48 Infection dice appear to be standard six sided die, but they are far from it. Each has only a couple values of pips, and a medical “cross” symbol appears on one side of each of them. The players have seven different role cards from which to choose (or select randomly). Each role card has a color coordinated pawn and matching set of unique dice.

Player dice have a variety of symbols that represent the actions a player may take on his or her turn. Like most cooperative games, each of the roles has special abilities that makes them useful in different situations. All the die results are positive except the “biohazard” symbol, which causes the infection rate to increase. That, in turn increases the number of infection dice put in play during the infection phase of the game. Players can reroll any result other than the biohazard, so the press your luck element is evident in P:TC.

The infection rate and number of outbreaks are cleverly tracked with a brightly colored peg and hole ring made of sturdy plastic. The center of the ring serves as the “treatment center” for disease die treated from any of the six “regions” that encircle the multi function plastic ring. Players must keep tabs on outbreaks and the infection rate as well as the number of infection dice in the draw bag (which is made from sturdy fabric). If the draw bag is ever emptied, or eight outbreaks occur, the game is lost. Players win by finding cures (rolling “13” or greater with a number of treated and collected dice) for each of the four diseases.

Another element of P:TC is the use of “Event” cards which give players certain advantages. Event cards are purchased using dice from the CDC tile (those dice that resulted in the medical cross symbol). The rules are clearly detailed in a well written instruction booklet, and a new player can learn the basics in minutes. The game supports 2-5 players, and most games last less than 30 minutes.

P:TC is a fun game. Regardless of one’s familiarity (or lack of) with Pandemic, P:TC works. Other reviewers have cited the lack of a game board and how it detracts from the overall experience. I tend to agree. The map on Pandemic’s board gives it coherence and clarity that P:TC lacks with its modular setup. P:TC doesn’t give me the sense of impending doom I get late in a game of Pandemic. Die rolls mean randomness, and some may shy away from the game because of the luck factor. But P:TC is a fast paced, fun game. It is lighter but more abstract than Pandemic. I enjoy P:TC despite it feeling more like rolling dice than curing diseases. It is an attractive and welcome edition to my collection.

 
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7
Canada
Advanced Reviewer
Rosetta Stone
8
132 of 142 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Pandemic Light”

In our gaming group we see frequent play of Pandemic and the expansion On the Brink. So when we heard that a streamlined dice based version of one of our favourite games was released, we were understandably excited. We got this game home, cracked open the box and ripped through a few games. So what was our experience of this game like?

GAMEPLAY

Anyone who is familiar with the Pandemic game system will find this game to play out intuitively. Many of the same actions that could be exercised by players in the original are present here with the odd exception which accounts for the dice nature of the gameplay. The Cure is a cooperative game with the same theme as its older brother. Four diseases are ravaging the world and its your job as CDC agents to stop it. No new roles have been introduced in this game and it retains only the most common/effective roles of the original. Where this game departs from the original is length of game time (about 30 min now), decreased complexity, and the process by which diseases are handled/cured.

The game is engaging to a lesser degree than its older brother, which is often the case in dice variant games. The game comes without a board and instead uses numbered coasters to represent the different geographic districts of the world (I’ll get to this later while discussing components). While it takes very little room to play, I felt that the transition away from the board strongly effected player engagement and gave it much less of a global feel that the original game possessed. The yahtzee style/push your luck mechanism by which players execute their turns contributes to faster gameplay than the cards of the original (albeit more restrictive).

COMPONENTS

This game consists of numerous quantities of 4 coloured dice that represent the diseases,individual player sets of 5 – 7 dice that players use to determine their actions during the round, cards to denote player identity and CDC assistance cards, a plastic ring that represents the treatment area and infection/outbreak scoring track, a cloth bag to house the infection dice, and numbered coasters to represent 6 different geographic zones of the world.

The components in this game are of very good quality, the dice are deeply embossed, the plastics used for the board are heavy and nicely painted. and the cardstock is of good quality including the role identifiers that are made to have the appearance of security ID tags. I can’t complain about the quality of the components. However, because the game is arranged in a manner that has a single ring in the centre of the table with a concentric ring of sequentialed numbered coasters surrounding it, it has definitely become nebulous in its appearance. The original game for me benefited form the fact that the world was clearly represented with game board. It was engaging and had the feeling that you were overseeing a global operation, this game simply does not have that feeling and to that extent feels much less engaging.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

While this game is a pale comparison to the original, I still found it to be enjoyable. Games play out much faster, and with greater simplicity. We have 2 children under 12 and were able to teach this game to them quickly and observed that they were able to grasp all aspects of play within this game, definitely not something I can say of the original. While the fact that this game is not supplied with a board (which was a major detractor for me), it is portable and small enough that it can be played on much smaller surfaces. The Cure has managed to stay faithful in its game play to the original while simplifying and increasing accessibility to new younger players. I wouldn’t recommend this game as replacing the original but have found that it makes for a nice alternative filler game.

 
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9
USA
I play blue
Paladin
Master Grader
9
131 of 141 gamers found this helpful
“It'll cure what ails you.”

Dice versions of the most popular games has become quite a rage, but the most successful to my knowledge is Pandemic: The Cure.

In Pandemic, players co-operate to stop the spread of four diseases across the world. This idea is abstracted out into the playing of cards and the placing of disease cubes. In Pandemic: The Cure this same idea is abstracted into dice.

Gameplay:

Dice in the game are rolled both to see what options are available for each player to take and to represent the spread of disease across the continents. Careful tactical planning will have to be utilized in order to win.

Each player is assigned a different role which gives them certain strengths in fighting the spread of the four diseases and you really do get the sense that you have a different job to do. The variability in roles provides for a lot of replayability.

With dice rolling there is obviously a lot of luck involved but thoughtful decision making definitely makes a difference. The game plays quickly (probably 30-45 minutes) and most often seems to generate multiple plays (particularly after a loss).

Components:

The dice are of high quality and the cards are fine. The box is overly big and you can easily take the parts out for a great game to pack when travelling.

Overall:

If you like co-ops and/or dice rolling this game is a must have. It is easy to introduce to new players and non-gamers. It is more abstract than Pandemic but frankly it has nevertheless replaced Pandemic (a former favorite) for me and my family. This is my most played game from 2014 and I think is an under-appreciated gem.

 
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4
9
7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“A nice quick version of Pandemic!”

Pandemic has long been near the top of many gamers’ cooperative lists, as it makes a wonderful entry level game and there’s not fighting. There’s also no dice in the game. It also does require quite a bit of space and time to play Pandemic. So what’s a gamer to do if they don’t have a lot of space or time? Zman answered this by making Pandemic the Cure. So what’s the difference between it and the original; and is it worth buying?

The first difference is that there’s no board so to speak in this game. I mean, there’s a ring that you track the infection rate and epidemics on, and there are circles representing the continents, but it’s not a map board like the original. The good thing about this is that it results in saving lots of space to play the game. It’s a nice tight circle that you can put the continents quite close to the fairly small ring, and so you don’t need much space to play. There’s also not a lot of cards. There are the event cards you can choose, but this game is largely determined by the dice, most of which are in a bag. This is one of the other good points. This game is very quick to set up. All the parts are easy to place out, pull some dice, and while the rind does split into two pieces, you can actually put the ring back in the box in one piece if you so choose. Obviously, it may come apart in transport, but you can in theory.

Gameplay is fairly simple, though by no means is this game easy. As in the original, you have several different roles, which have different specialties. Each has their advantages and uses, pretty similar to what they did in the original. They have custom dice they roll to determine what they can do, reflecting their roles. As the continents are set up in a circle, moving between them is moving between adjacent circles, unless you can fly, in which case you can move to any location. To determine where the infection spreads, it’s not always concentrated in areas that are already infected. To put diseases out, you roll dice and that’s where the diseases go. The dice color corresponds to the various continents, like the original, so you’ve got a rough idea of where these diseases are going to land, but they can land in any location that matches their color. These disease dice aren’t all bad, however. If you roll a cross on them, then instead of spreading disease they give you the ability to buy the cards to help you. This, unfortunately, is quite random, as I’ve played games where we were overflowing with crosses, and there were others where they just never came up. You can probably guess the times we won and when we lost. The other problem this causes is that instead of several cities across a continent to absorb the disease, there are SIX locations; so where you could use the cities to have lots of diseases in the original, here they add up FAST! More than once this has led to epidemics adding up VERY quickly. For this reason, I find this game much easier with 3-4 players. Having the extra roles out there, and players to move around, makes things much easier. When I’ve played with only myself and one other, we lost almost every time. We didn’t win every time with 3-4, but then I felt I could play to win, as opposed to how close would we get to winning. One nice thing is that with either player setup, it’s quite fast to play…just with a different usual outcome. It’s definitely quick enough that if I lose, I’m not feeling tired of it, and am willing to immediately give it another go.

Regarding the components, they are for the most part good. The dice are of excellent quality and easy to read, and the hard plastic will stand up to repeated use. The cards have a good feel to them. My main complaint on this front is the markers for the diseases and epidemics don’t fit too well in the holes. The holes are too tight, and I just feel that I’m going to accidentally snap them one of these times trying to force them in. I definitely like the size of the components. This game is very portable. The box is actually quite a bit larger than it needs to be, and you could carry it in a smaller bag if you had to for portability reasons. That’s another reason to consider this game if you just can’t play Pandemic for whatever reason.

So, should you pick up this game? Yes! I wouldn’t quite call it a filler game (unless the dice really hate you that day), but it’s nice and quick and portable. It’s simple enough to teach to new or non gamers and get them interested, but also enough to hold the interest of veteran gamers. For those who want quick setup and teardown in a Pandemic game, and love to chuck dice, this is for them! I know I’ve never turned it down!

 
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10
United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
8
114 of 138 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Pandemic, streamlined and hands on.”

Pandemic: The Cure is not another expansion for the classic co-operative Pandemic, but a standalone game that shares the same theme and objectives, yet introduces a physicality to its mechanics. Pandemic: The Cure is a dice game, continuing the trend of taking well-known board games and re-implementing them as dice games, from the Catan Dice Game to Roll for the Galaxy. In Pandemic: The Cure the diseases have become Infection dice, rolled to randomly determine where they appear. Similarly the players’ actions have become dice, rolled randomly to determine what they can do.

The players now have to undertake two tasks in order to find a cure for each disease—collect samples and then roll to find a cure. A sample is one Infection die that has been treated and collecting a Sample means that a player must sacrifice one of his action dice to store that Sample until the cure can be rolled for.

This rolling of dice has a number of big effects. Obviously, it adds a random element to the Pandemic design, lessening the ability to predict which diseases are going to appear and where, as in the board game, though prediction is still possible—the players can still track the colour of the dice available on the table—but no more than that. Unable to predict what dice will appear and where, the players will find Pandemic: The Cure a more
proactive than reactive game.

Unlike in Pandemic, the diseases cannot be eradicated. They still keep coming back out of the bag to infect Region Tiles anew and can still trigger Outbreaks, though like the boardgame, once a cure has been found, they are easier to Treat. This further forces the players to track the number of Infection dice in play.

Players having their own dice and being able to re-roll undesired results, means that the number of actions they have from one turn to the next can vary wildly. Some turns it might be none, others it might be as many as five. Collecting Samples means temporarily giving up dice—and thus actions.

The game consists of a plastic hoop—the Treatment Centre—with peg holes to track both the Infection Rate and Outbreaks; six numbered disks—the Region Tiles—each one corresponding to a continent, plus another disk representing the CDC headquarters; seven role cards plus corresponding pawns and action dice; a Cured Disease card and ten Event cards; a cloth bag; and forty-eight Infection dice in four colours. At game start, the Region Tiles are laid out in order around the Treatment Centre, everyone receives a Role card and the corresponding dice. Then twelve Infection dice are rolled to determine which Region Tile they are placed on.

The Infection dice are where the game begins to get clever. The opposite sides of normal six-sided dice always add up to seven; not so here. Instead, the numbers are weighted so that they will always land on certain Region Tiles. For example, rolls of five only appear on black or yellow dice and when rolled are placed on the Africa Regional Tile, whereas rolls of one appear on blue or red dice and are placed on the North America Region Tile. Then are the player dice. All have the same symbols—an aeroplane (Fly to any Region), a Ship (Sail to an adjacent Region), Hypodermic Needle (Treat an Infection die and move it to the Treatment Centre), a Bottle (Sample an Infection die in the Treatment Centre and save it for a Cure attempt), First Aid (used to buy Event cards), and lastly, a Biohazard symbol. When rolled, this moves the syringe along on the Infection Track and increases the chance of an epidemic.

Each set of role dice also has its own symbols, representing special actions. For example, the Medic has multiple Hypodermic Needles on some dice which allow him to Treat multiple Infection dice with one action, whilst the Dispatcher has the Helicopter symbol which can be saved to airlift anyone to any Region Tile before the Dispatcher’s next turn.

On his turn, a player rolls his dice, using them as necessary or re-rolling; travelling to the different Regions, Treating Infection dice, collecting Samples, and so on. Biohazard results cannot be re-rolled. Just like in Pandemic, the players need to Treat the Infections and find a Cure, which is done by Treating Infection dice and moving them to the Treatment Centre, and from there collecting Samples which can be rolled to find a Cure. The latter simply involves rolling the collected Samples and beating the target. At the end of his turn, a player draws more Infection dice from the bag and rolls to see where they appear.

Like Pandemic, there is one way to win—find the four cures, and like Pandemic, there are multiple ways to lose. These are running out of time (the infection rate syringe reaches the end of the Infection Track), too many Outbreaks (eight or more), and too many people infected (not enough Infection dice to be drawn from the bag). Like Pandemic, it is also a co-operative game. The players need to work together and every player’s turn is about discussing the possible optimal actions as well as carrying them out.

Ultimately, the rolling of dice and and the design of the playing area do undermine the game. The problem is that it abstracts the Pandemic concept and hinders a player’s engagement with the game. No longer is he trying to save Istanbul or Shanghai, but rather the world in general. Yet the dice add variability and frustration to the game in equal measure as well as tension—is your next roll going to save humanity or help destroy them? Rolling dice also add a physicality, making the game more hands-on and engaging.

Streamlined and quicker to play, Pandemic: The Cure is Pandemic’s lighter, simpler, and more family friendly brother. Perhaps a little overpriced, Pandemic: The Cure is the slick addition to the Pandemic family.

 

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