Number of Players: 2-4
Time: 45 min
Introduction to Pandemic
Pandemic is a cooperative board game that pits the players against the board. You and your friends are tasked with trying to eradicate the diseases that are plaguing the earth, and through team work, and a healthy dose of luck you may just be able to save the human race! Don’t be fooled though, this game can be extremely difficult to beat even on the lower difficulties. It’s great for those to love a challenge and aren’t afraid of repeated failure.
How to Play Pandemic
The goal of Pandemic is to cure all four diseases that plague the earth. Each player choses from roster of roles that each have their own unique ability. All players start at the research station in Atlanta with a handful of cards that is dealt out to them. This starting hand will contain location cards which are used to cure diseases and move around the board, and possibly some even cards that they player can use during the game. At the beginning of the game players draw a number of cards from the location deck and each of those cities start with 1-3 disease cubes.
On their turn each player takes 4 actions. They can move to an adjacent city, cure diseases, treat cities, share cards, and build research facilities. Each action can be done multiple times as long as the player has the necessary cards and actions left to continue. For instance, they can move up to four times and not do any other action. At a research facility they can pay 5 of the same colour cards to cure a disease for one action. A character can treat a city they are in by removing one of the disease cubes. If that disease has been cured, they can remove all cubes from that city with a single treat action. If there are no more cubes of that colour on the board, the disease is eradicated and cube of that colour can no longer be placed. When players are in the same city they can give or take one card per action. Just remember that you can only have a maximum hand of 7 cards. You can build a research station in the city your player token is standing in by discarding that same city card. It’s good to have a few of these spread out enough to cure diseases faster.
Once a player has used up all four actions they draw city cards and spread uncured disease. If they draw an epidemic card, the reshuffle all the cards that have been drawn and place them on top of the draw pile. Any outbreaks that happen during this phase raise the epidemic levels and players will have to draw more cards when it crosses each draw threshold. If there are too many outbreaks, the players will lose the game.
Notes on Pandemic
Pandemic is a game for those of us who like to be punished. You can even increase the difficultly and really make your partner question her decisions when dating a masochist like you. I wouldn’t say this is a great game for a casual player, but anyone who enjoys a good puzzle (or is just tired of competitive board games because ‘you always win’) this is the game for you! While I know it’s not necessarily for everyone, it is one of my favorite board games in my collection.
There are a heap of different expansions and versions of Pandemic as well. In addition to the base game, I have Pandemic Cthulhu and the Pandemic Legacy Season 1 Blue Box. I definitely recommended more serious players try out a legacy style game like Pandemic Legacy. It’s a unique experience where each game effects the one played after. Other legacy style games include Gloomhaven and Stuffed Fables, both of which I also highly recommend players check out.