The great reviews of Pandemic spread like an epidemic, can a game really be that good? Anybody who has read my blog on the stigma of board gaming and how I got involved will know that this was the first game I played and like other gateway games, Splendor for one, it still has a place in my collection but gets played less and less as I try out more niche games and my tastes change.
Introduction to Pandemic
The key to getting most out of Pandemic is to immerse yourself into the theme and really look at it as you try to save the world. The premise is that the world is suddenly hit by disease and you play as one of the people tasked with curing said diseases.
There are four diseases to fight against in Pandemic, with each one being represented by a different coloured cube, and making use of one of the seven role's special skills is essential for victory.
Pandemic is a co-operative game and plays up to four people, with each player choosing a specific a role to play in the game. These roles are as follows:
- Contingency Planner
- Operations expert
- Quarantine specialist
Playing the game
On your turn you're allowed to take four actions. You can select any combination of these actions and you can do an action more than once. The actions you can take include....
- Drive/Ferry- Move to a city connected by a white line to the city you are in
- Direct flight- Discard a city card from your hand and move to that city
- Charter flight- If you have the city card matching the city you are in then discard and move to any city
- Shuttle flight- Move from a city with a Research station to another city with a research station.
- Build a research Station- Discard the matching city card to build a Station in that city you are in.
- Treat disease- Remove one cube from the city you are in
- Share Knowledge- This action has two variations, Give a city card that matches the city you are in to another player or take the city card that matches. (the other player must be in the same city and this action cannot take you above the hand limit)
- Discover a cure- If you are at a research station discard 5 city cards of the same colour to cure that disease. (if no cubes of the colour remain it is eradicated).
Final Thoughts on Pandemic
You have to work as a team using the above actions and the roles special ability’s to cure all the diseases. The game is very well balanced and by adding or removing the epidemic cards, the game can have varying difficulties which adds replay value as does playing as different roles.
The best way to get most out of this game is to not let any one player take command and work as a team equally. The quality of the components is very good and I love the little plastic disease cubes. The game board is very easy to understand and there is a place for everything so you don’t need a large space to play.
The player’s pawns (or meeples) are a let-down and don’t sit right within the theme for me and this is the only area I can think lets the game down component wise. The cards are of decent quality and even with all the shuffling show no sign of wear. The cards have all different artwork and make sorting the decks out simple.
The game ebbs and flows nicely and one minute you can be close to winning and the next you will have a fight on your hands. You must think ahead and if a lot of one colour cube is very prominent then working as a team to get rid of them is necessary. After a few turns of failing you soon get to understand what you must do to improve and you suddenly start thinking in advance and the games moves along as you get immersed in the world.