Pandemic is cooperative game that is based on the theme of eliminating diseases that are breaking out all over the world. Players take on different roles within the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and must work together to try to and find the cures for diseases and eliminate them. Diseases are represented by different color wooden cubes and players collect cards of those disease colors as a means to find the cure. Five matching color cards allow a disease to cured. So players collect and trade these cards as they travel around the world map trying to keep the continually spreading diseases under control.
- 1 8-Page Colour Rulebook
- 1 Folding single-side Gameboard
- 5 Role Cards
- 5 (wooden) Pawns (one colour for each role)
- 6 (wooden) Research Stations
- 96 (wooden) Disease Cubes (24 for each colour disease - black, blue, red, yellow)
- 6 Markers
- 1 Infection Rate Marker
- 1 Outbreaks Marker
- 4 Cure Markers with "Vial" and "Sunset" sides (one for each colour disease)
- 59 Player Cards
- 48 City Cards
- 6 Epidemic Cards
- 5 Special Event Cards
- 48 Infection Cards
- 4 Reference Cards
Average Game Length: 60 minutes
Most of the card and board games out today are PvP (player vs. player). But there are a few games out there where players work together as team against the game itself. You all win or you all lose. Pandemic is one of the more popular co-op games and everyone I've introduced it to has loved it for that reason.
Pandemic is all about taking a role of a person from the CDC to order to find cures to diseases that are spreading all over the world. The game board is a map of the world with major cities being represented on the board. Each region of the world is a certain color and there are 4 different colors. Players collect cards that have city on the card and the color of the card is the color of the region that city is in. Players use these cards to travel around the world in order to try and heal diseases in different cities in addition to collecting 5 of the same color cards in order to find a cure for that colored disease. To win the game, you need to find cures for all 4 colors of diseases.
Each turn players have 4 actions they take from moving their piece around the the map, to trading cards, to finding cures, to healing diseases in cities. At the end of each players turn, cards are turned over from the "Infection Deck" that contain all the cities on the map. When a card is flipped over, a disease (cube) is placed on the city denoted on the card. If three cubes already exist, an outbreak occurs and diseases infect cities adjacent to the city with three cubes. So each turn, more and more cities are being infected. As a team you work together to keep the diseases under control. Players lose if eight outbreaks occur, you run out of a certain color cube, or you extinguish the players draw deck.
Each game, players are assigned random roles that give each player a special ability. For example, the scientist only needs 4 of one color card in order to find a cure for a disease, a dispatcher can help move other players around the board, the medic can heal all cubes in a city for one action (as opposed to healing only cube) and the researcher has an easier job of trading cards between players. These random roles make each game a little different since strategies change based on what roles players have.
As you play the game, players can discuss strategies and try to help each other in determining the best way to win. One problem with the game is that if you have type 'A' personality playing they can tend to take over the game and tell people what to do. At that point the other players don't feel as involved which deter from the game experience.
Hardcore Score: 7
Pandemic is not as easy game to play. The rules provide three modes of play, easy, normal and hard. And even on normal the game can be challenging. The game flow is very dynamic based on where diseases pop up. As such, strategies need to change quickly in order to keep the game from getting out of control. Hardcore gamers will probably also be the ones that are very vocal about strategies and guiding others on what to do. When a group of hardcore players are playing, discussions during turns can be lengthy, but at least there is very little downtime for players. In addition, hardcore players may find the game involving too much luck based on card draw.
Wifecore Score: 9
Due to this game being a coop game, this is a great game for the wife. Not having to play against others removes the intimidation factor. Furthermore, playing within a group allows casual players to be involved as much or as little as they want. The rules are pretty easy to follow, so casual players won't be faced with a steep learning curve. This is one of the better games for casual players...highly recommended.
Kidcore Score: 4
While the rules aren't hard to follow, working out strategies to win the game may be a little tough for kids. In addition, if the kids are playing in a group of adults, it typically turns out that the adults tell the kids how to play their turn which isn't any fun for the kids at all. If it's just a group of kids playing, this score will go up as they will tend to work together and not just wait to be told what to do.