Like Pandemic’s previous expansion, On the Brink, Pandemic: In the Lab contains a number of modular expansion elements. The most prominent of which is the titular Lab Challenge – this adds a whole new way to cure diseases, through the use of a lab board and a set of sequence cards.
Rather than just cashing-in five same-coloured city cards at a research station (as previously), with the Lab Challenge players at research stations can all contribute together to characterise diseases (select the colour of disease to find a cure for, as only two can be processed at any one time) and process (move) treated disease cubes through the sample dishes on the lab board until you can fill a sequence card with the required cubes – you will then submit three cards of that colour to find the cure.
The box of goodies doesn’t stop there! This expansion, from Matt Leacock and Tom Lehmann, also includes four new roles: Field Director (treat adjacent cities and move adjacent pawns), Local Liaison (easily share local city cards), Pilot (flies three connections away and can take a passenger) and Virologist (can discard city cards for favourable effects).
The expansion also includes three new events and two new Virulent Strain Epidemic cards to add to the Virulent Strain Challenge from On The Brink. The Mutation Challenge: Worldwide Panic builds upon On The Brink’s Mutation Challenge by adding 12 new purple disease cards and a higher level of difficulty.
Pandemic’s co-operative nature lends itself to solo play, where a single person can play multiple roles, but In The Lab adds an official solo mode where a lone player receives help from the CDC. The CDC takes a single action at the end of your turn and can move your pawn, reassign your role, exchange data, draw a card for the CDC or discover a cure.
The new Team Game divides four or six players into teams of two players. Each team receives a random goal card that will shape their strategy and bonus cards will be added to the player deck to help the teams out. All teams will be trying to save the world, but they’re competing to be the best at it!
When a disease is cured or eradicated on a team’s turn, the team will take the relevant award marker(s) and put them face up in front of themselves. These earn prestige at the end of the game, as displayed on each team’s goal card.
The final element to this expansion is the realistic coloured cure vials – a lovely and popular addition by Z-Man Games.
Player Count: 1-6
Time: 45-60 Minutes