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Plague Inc

RRP: £33.99

NOW £18.99
RRP £33.99

Earn 1899 Victory Points

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Plague Inc: The Board Game is a strategy game in which players aim to evolve their deadly diseases and race to wipe out humanity. Based on the popular video game Plague Inc by Ndemic Creations, Plague Inc: The Board Game brings a recognisable design with its striking colour palette and icons. And it’s not only similar in looks, but in all the ways that made us love playing the ori…
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-NDM001 Availability 5+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Turns a very familiar theme on its head.
  • A really good, simple area control game.
  • Great player interaction.
  • Plenty of scope for expansions.

Might Not Like

  • Player interaction is very take-that heavy, which some may not like.
  • The theme could be quite off-putting/upsetting.
  • It looks a little bland in red hues and stark simplicity.
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Description

Plague Inc: The Board Game is a strategy game in which players aim to evolve their deadly diseases and race to wipe out humanity.

Based on the popular video game Plague Inc by Ndemic Creations, Plague Inc: The Board Game brings a recognisable design with its striking colour palette and icons. And it’s not only similar in looks, but in all the ways that made us love playing the original.

Each player has their very own deadly disease to work with, earning DNA points to evolve new symptoms and infect as many people as they can across the globe. The game is easy to learn and fast to set up, so everyone can get stuck in straight away. Start with a player mat, a set of plague cubes, and some special trait cards. The player who last washed their hands gets to go first.

Place tokens in cities, earn points, and work to prevent other players from dominating the board. As your disease spreads and you take over more countries, you earn DNA points. DNA points double as victory points and currency, to spend on Traits to upgrade your disease. Traits improve your infectivity, lethality, ability to travel between continents, and can make you weather resistant to different climates. This allows you to place your tokens in more cities.

Players also need to keep in mind where they place their Trait cards on their player board, as some spots include special abilities. Covering these spots with a Trait card means you can no longer use that ability.

Once a player is in control of a fully infected country, they must try to kill it once and for all by rolling the 6-sided Death Die. If the number rolled is less than or equal to their lethality rate, the country is killed. There are both advantages and disadvantages to killing off countries, so plan wisely…

Players can also sabotage their rivals and bolster their own efforts by using event cards. Bomb the dominant player’s diseased cities or hold the Olympics to attract a huge surge of infected people to a healthy continent.

Finally, once the final Country card has been placed or discarded, the game enters sudden death. The game ends when one player’s plague is eradicated, or when a player is unable to make any moves. The player with the most points wins.

Plague Inc is a great gateway game, especially if you’re trying to win over fans of the video game. It’s packed full of theme, strategy, player interaction, and competition, while still being light enough not to overwhelm anyone.

Remember to wash your hands after playing!

Player Count: 1-4
Time: 60 minutes
Age: 14+

If you’re familiar with the mobile game of the same name, this board game variant of Plague Inc. will need little introduction. For those that haven’t heard of it, in this game you are a pathogen, a germ, a dirty, dirty disease with only one goal; the complete and utter annihilation of human kind.

Thematically, this is opposite to the well known and loved Pandemic series of games, but that is where the similarities end. Plague Inc. will take you on a very different, very competitive journey in your attempt to wipe man from the face of the planet and be claimed the best (or worst, depending on which way you look at it) disease of all time.

Now, for some people, the theme may be off-putting, I get that. I could tell you that this is a good game, which is full of interesting choices, a little bit of luck and some great player interaction. But, if you really don’t like the idea of playing a game based on a Doomsday Event, you’re going to find a barrier that I can’t really help you get over.

You should try though....

Playing Plague Inc.

Each player begins Plague Inc. with a fairly innocuous pathogen, represented by a player mat with some basic stats, limited abilities and space for new Traits to be evolved and added later. Playing as either a Bacteria or Virus (the Virus offering a slightly more complex game, but you can play a balanced game with a mix of both on the board) each turn you’ll follow a strict order of play that will enable you to affect more countries, evolve your disease, infect and ultimately kill - removing countries from the board in the process.

The complexities, wonders and beauties of the world are reduced to a red-hued world map showing six continents (Antarctica is excluded), each to be made up of Country cards as the game progresses.  These cards display a number of black hexagons which represent the major cities and these are what you will attempt to infect and kill.

In a player’s turn, they will collect DNA points (which act as both victory points and currency) for each county they control - have equal or majority infection tokens on. Following this, players will get to choose to add a new, healthy country to the board, or remove a country from the deck in order to [I’m going to call it] mutate and refresh their limited and dwindling hand of Trait cards. It is at this stage that the interesting choices start to show.

Country Cards

Your disease can’t just pop-up and start infecting willy-nilly. Far from it, any new country card added needs to be first connected to a country you currently infect – either on the same continent or via boat or plane. Next, this new country has to be climate suitable. Extremely hot and/or cold countries are difficult places for an un-evolved disease to thrive.

You can use these extreme temperature countries to box opponents in or reduce the amount of connectivity they have by discarding country cards that bear the boat or plane icon. Ensuring that you maintain plenty of climate suitable connectivity.

Of course, your opponents are trying to do the same to you. However, discarding a country card comes with a ‘cost’ - the discarding of your current hand of Trait cards.

Trait Cards

Trait cards represent the symptoms (by and large) of your disease, with each card enabling your disease to do something else, or something extra. Each card is delightfully named and thankfully bears no picture other than an abstracted symbol.

These benefits range from making your disease more infectious, making it tolerant to extreme temperatures, more stable when travelling and, probably most importantly, making it more lethal.  Only one Trait can be evolved –added – to your disease each turn, so the manner in which you evolve your pathogen will impact your game.

The cost of each evolution is naturally sliding, the more it does, and the better it does it the more expensive it will be. This is where the game gets a little swingy, as the more victory points the Trait costs you, the longer you spend recovering from your purchase.

At the end, you’ll get the points back for all active – topmost – traits, but that only helps in game, and does nothing to help you evolve and upgrade whilst playing. It is with this mechanic that most new-to-the-game players struggle, as they place additional value to the higher costing, more powerful cards. Spending 20 DNA points in the first part of the game is eye-watering high, so newer-gamers hold on to these cards, clogging up their hand which slows their progress.

Wipe out those Countries

Finally, you’ll be looking to wipe countries out.  Once all the city spots are full, any player who controls that country rolls the Death Die, rolling equal to, or lower than your Lethality score – so if you are prone to roll ones a lot of the time, you will do very, very well playing Plague Inc. Remember I promised you player interaction, it is here that it really comes in.

Event cards give you all sorts of abilities, some will let you move your disease around a little more freely as a one shot, others will allow you to make a nuclear strike against that country that is soon to score and you’re not in. You can quarantine other players, stop them, slow them and generally get on their nerves, all in these great little pockets of playing “the good guys.”

These event cards are a welcome and occasionally brutal surprise when playing a game, and any player that occupies a county when it is killed gets one, so even just dipping your toe in and spreading your little, non-lethal disease around will net you a good bunch of these cards.

The Event cards also inject a little more colour into the game, with more illustrative card art, however, these cards don’t fit perfectly from a thematic stand point, where you will be wiping out parts of North America out one minute, and then setting up a travel ban for all of Asia the next. This flip-flopping between humankind and disease does snatch some of the immersion away – of which, as an abstract game there isn’t an abundance.

Final Thoughts on Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. is an example of a game that tells a story, even though it is probably one you don’t want to hear. There is a healthy dose of replay-ability as some countries are removed each game, and with two different styles of play and a large Trait deck, you are unlikely to see much repetition.

You’ll play your second game different to your first, and different again in your third and so on, learning and improving your understanding of the game each time. It may be a little morbid, and monochromatic on the table, but the player interaction and competition will keep Plague Inc. as a welcome game on my table or shelf.

Solo Mode

Plague Inc. also boasts a solo player mode, where you’ll play against the Plague Bot. This presents an interesting challenge and a fun little puzzle but it can, if you’re unlucky either kick your ass or just end up limited to the African continent making people sneeze and very little else.

This is a middle weight, competitive area control, hand management game, which is easy to pick up but offers plenty of choices and changes between games.  You’ll have great satisfaction dropping CDC quarantine down on your opponents, and the rare occasion where rolling a one is always a good thing.

In Plague Inc. you don’t want to succeed too much as you can risk taking yourself out of the game, so striking that perfect balance where you are slightly ahead but never in risk is an interesting challenge.

As a fan of the mobile game, I’m really excited to see where the board game goes and how it develops with expansions, not that they are needed but they are ripe for design. As much as this game is a little morbid, it is sometimes a lot of fun being the “bad guy.”

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Turns a very familiar theme on its head.
  • A really good, simple area control game.
  • Great player interaction.
  • Plenty of scope for expansions.

Might not like

  • Player interaction is very take-that heavy, which some may not like.
  • The theme could be quite off-putting/upsetting.
  • It looks a little bland in red hues and stark simplicity.