Designer: Matt Leacock
Artists: Josh Cappel, Christian Hanisch, Regis Moulun, Chris Quilliams, Tom Thiel
Publisher: Z-man Games
Year Published: 2008
No. of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 45 minutes
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A bit on the nose these days, the game pandemic is an oldie but a goodie. A purely cooperative game in which a team of up to 4 people try to stop four diseases from destroying the world. (We know this is a sensitive topic but this was written before things got this bad.)
The setup of Pandemic takes a bit of time and depends on the number of players in the game. First, you pull everything out of the box and set the cubes in an easily reachable place and put the markers at the starting positions. Next, you take the player deck and pull out as many cards you need for the players starting hands as well as a role and a reference card for newer players. Now, you divide the leftover player deck into equal stacks the number of which is equal to how many epidemic cards being used. The number of epidemics determines the difficulty. Then add one epidemic to each stack and shuffle them, adding the stacks on top of each other after being shuffled. The last thing to be done is starting the infection. Flip three cards from the infection deck and put cubes on the corresponding cities. Then Flip three more and put 2 cubes on the cities and finally flip 3 more cities and put 1 cube on them. With that, the board is set and play can start.
The game happens in turns between the players. A player starts by having four actions. The actions a player can take are moving from one city to a neighboring city, discard a card to move to the city on the card, discard the card of the city you are in and move to anywhere, move from one research station to another, build a research station by discarding the city card of the city you are in, remove a cube from the city you are in, give or take a card from another player of the city you are in, and finally cure a disease at a research station. After they take the four actions then players draw two cards and then infect cities the number of which is determined by the infection tracker. Players win when all 4 diseases are cured. Players have many options to lose. The most common from our experience is running out of player cards (your team runs out of time). The other two ways are running out of cubes of one of the colors ( a disease spreads too much) and the other is having the outbreak counter hit the bottom (worldwide panic happens).
Theme and Mechanics:
The game is themed after a worldwide pandemic. The look is very sterile and clean because of that. The turns go buy quickly and every action taken feels important. Most turns leave you with the sense that you need to do more. Overall, I would say the game is fair but challenging.
- Works the brain
- Games are always going to be different
- Is a representation of real life
- The game can seem unfair on the challenging difficulties
- People can take control and dictate everything
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