Board Game Review! Pandemic from Z-Man Games

Posted: August 6, 2018 in Board Games, Components, Game Play, Review
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!

 

Our featured game for the weeks of July 5 and July 12 was a cooperative game from Z-Man Games, Pandemic.

Pandemic on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Pandemic

In Pandemic, several virulent diseases have broken out simultaneously all over the world! The players are disease-fighting specialists whose mission is to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each of four plagues before they get out of hand.

The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. A deck of cards provides the players with these abilities, but sprinkled throughout this deck are Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases’ activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the “normal” spread of the infections.

Taking a unique role within the team, players must plan their strategy to mesh with their specialists’ strengths in order to conquer the diseases. For example, the Operations Expert can build research stations which are needed to find cures for the diseases and which allow for greater mobility between cities; the Scientist needs only four cards of a particular disease to cure it instead of the normal five—but the diseases are spreading quickly and time is running out. If one or more diseases spreads beyond recovery or if too much time elapses, the players all lose. If they cure the four diseases, they all win!

The 2013 edition of Pandemic includes two new characters—the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist—not available in earlier editions of the game.

Pandemic is the first game in the Pandemic series.

You and your team are the only things standing in the way of deadly diseases that threaten the world. The fate of humanity is in your hands.

As skilled members of a disease-fighting team, you and the other players work together to keep the world safe from outbreaks and epidemics. Only through teamwork will you have a chance to find a cure.

Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. First published in 2007, the game’s unique combination of cooperative gameplay, engrossing premise, and compelling design have proved a hit with everyone from hardcore gamers to casual players. The Pandemic game line now includes multiple expansions and stand-alone titles.

 

Co-Op games are definitely favorites among my group. Pandemic has various difficulty levels and every game feels different because there are more character role options than player spots. This means you might get a role one game and not see that role in the next game!

Rules

The rulebook is easy to read and follow. I was able to understand all the basics and some of the additional rules after one reading of the rulebook. Player aids match the rulebook descriptions of the abilities as well.

Components and Game Play

You can find a review video on my YouTube channel that shows all of the components with a brief description and also a review of the game play.

You can follow this link directly to my video – HERE.

Summary

I love how the game feels difficult or hopeless at times – like the diseases are overwhelming your team, but then all of a sudden, one right draw can set you on a path to victory. I also like how you can do everything right and still not win. The randomness of the game is what makes it fun and exciting for me. The components are durable and the colors are all bright and appealing. The only issue I see is that some colorblind players may need help with some of the pieces.

This game promotes the most co-op play I’ve ever seen in a co-op style game. You don’t have just one person dictating what everyone should be doing, because all the players can easily come up with options or solutions to a current situation.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – The game is definitely ‘infectious’ and I love how the difficulty level adds to the fun. And I love the co-op play. I don’t like how one card or one wrong draw can ruin your best laid plans though.

Paul H. – Fun. I like the whole game and everything about it.

Sean – I liked that the roles are unique and how much the game can change depending on the various combination of roles. I dislike that you can lose after only eight Outbreaks.

Hannah N. – I like the game overall, especially that it’s co-op. Who knew diseases could be so much fun!

Olivia W. – I like the variations in the roles. I like the randomness of the infections and how random, or not random sometimes, the Outbreaks can be. The stress and the fun is contagious! The co-op is fun and to die for!

J. Hollis – Extremely fun and I love how strategic the game can be, but also how simple and easy it is to learn.

J. North – The most fun game to lose at! It’s also simple enough to be a gateway game for new players that are likely to be more co-op players than competitive type players.

Buy or Bye?
Buy!

I do not own this game yet, and I feel like I absolutely need it in my collection.

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more gaming and Star Trek related content!

Board out and game on!

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Comments
  1. A fantastic overview of what is possibly my favourite game; like you, I really like the co-op element and it can really feel like you’re up against it sometimes! There’s a tenth anniversary edition coming out soon (https://zmangames.com/en/products/pandemic-10th-anniversary/) in a beautiful metal first aid kit box which has character figurines; if you’re going to get a copy I would definitely wait for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading and I’m very happy that you liked my review. We seriously love this game and while one in our group has it, I MUST buy a copy – likely the anniversary edition (depending on finances).

      We typically only buy one copy of a game between all our players in our group – but this is a must have for all of us!

      Like

  2. A great overview of what is probably my favourite game. Like you, I love the co-op element and it can really feel like you’re up against it sometimes! There’s a tenth anniversary edition coming out soon in a beautiful metal first aid kit with character figurines; if you’re going to get a copy that would be a lovely addition to your collection!

    Liked by 1 person

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