Pandemic is a well-loved co-operative game which brings plenty of people into the hobby. It was first released in 2008 and was designed by Matt Leacock. Since then, there have been several different iterations and spin-offs. Examples include Fall of Rome and Iberia, as well as two legacy games.
The next title in the series is Pandemic: Rapid Response, designed by Kane Klenko. This game takes the series in a slightly new direction, with a heavy focus on dice. It's for two to four players and comes from a designer known for good real-time games. Klenko also created games such as Flatline and Fuse.
Rapid Response - The Game
In Rapid Response the world is in chaos and trouble. Cities around the globe are crying out for food, water, vaccines and supplies. As a member of the Crisis Response Unit (CRU) it is your job to fly your specially equipped plane around the world delivering these essential supplies. Be quick though, as you are on the clock and only have limited time to deliver the supplies.
On a player's turn they will roll their dice (performing up to two re-rolls) and use these dice to move around the plane, fly the plane to different cities or assign your dice to a supply room. When assigning dice to a supply room the dice faces have to match and there are certain spaces requiring groups of like dice having to be placed at the same time.
However, a single player does not have to assign all the dice and this can be a group effort. Dice that are assigned to rooms are "locked" until the room has been activated often resulting in players having less dice to roll on future turns.
In addition, the more dice you have in a supply room the more resource you will get when it activates. This "locking" and increased resource mechanism brings the co-operative nature Rapid Response together wonderfully.
When rooms are activated the dice are returned to the relevant players and the corresponding resources are moved to the cargo bay ready for delivery. Providing resources to a city gives players extra time tokens. When the timer runs out it's flipped and a new turn begins. Meanwhile, time tokens are removed from the time track.
If the players run out of time tokens, they lose the game. Ensuring that players are supplying cities with the correct resources is critical to not losing the game.
Rapid Response comes with seven unique specialist cards, each with their own ability. 24 custom dice (six of each resource in four colours), city cards, crisis cards, a plane miniature and various other tokens and cubes. The resources in the game are vaccines, food, power, first aid and water. But during the process of creating these supplies you generate waste. Creating too much waste will cause the players to lose the game.
Although Rapid Response hasn't been designed by Matt Leacock, it's in good hands. Kane Klenko has a good track record with real time games. Rapid Response is looking to be a good implementation on the classic Pandemic series and one that I am excited to try.
The game is due to be released next Friday (June 28) and is available to pre-order right now!