Cooperative board game about infectious disease
Pandemic: The Board Game is a cooperative game, wherein you and your family or friends will race against time. In this game by Asmodee Digital, viruses are spreading and are threatening to go from epidemic to a full-blown pandemic. The players will take on the role of scientists, medics, dispatchers, and various other specialists and will try to cure the virus. Pandemic employs virulent whack-a-mole gameplay to prevent the fall of humanity. As it is a cooperative game, everyone in the game wins by curing all the diseases. Everyone also loses when the global catastrophe spreads.
Stop the viruses
In the world of Pandemic – The Board Game, four different virus strains are threatening to destroy the world as we know it. The players are humanity’s only hope in stopping the pandemic. The game starts with the players stationed at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta. Nine major cities in the world are already having disease outbreaks. The players will need to keep the illnesses under control while finding the cure before the time runs out.
If they can cure all four diseases in time and keep the outbreaks under control, they will win the game. If not, the world will be destroyed. Pandemic: The Board Game allows solo gaming or local-co-op of up to four players. At the start of the game, the players will each take a specific role. Each role has a unique and specialized ability allowing them to help in different situations. This adds tons of variety to the playing strategy and helps the replay value.
Aside from choosing their roles, players will also choose the nine cities where the virus will spread. This gives the players a chance to deal with the outbreak right off the bat. The players will have four actions. They can move across the board, build research stations, treat diseases, and share their knowledge with other players.
Pandemic: The Board Game also uses card game mechanics. There is a player deck in the game, which holds a variety of cards. There are city cards, which players will need to collect to cure diseases. They can also draw special event cards, which give them unique, one-time-use abilities. The deck also holds an epidemic card. Every time one of the players draws this card, a city from the bottom of the city deck will gain three infection cubes.
To treat the diseases, players will need to remove the cubes that have accumulated in a city. If you get five cards of the same color to a research station, one of the four diseases will be cured. The catch is that each player has a maximum of seven cards. They will need to trade or discard cards to maximize their opportunities in curing the virus.
As an extra challenge, epidemic cards randomly appear, causing the previously-infected cities to be re-infected. Moreover, the rate of infection increases as the game progresses. Be warned, as the game ends if you have too many outbreaks. Players will also lose if they run out of the disease of one color and run out of cards to draw.
Faithful to the original version
Pandemic: The Board Game is the modern and virtual version of the popular physical board game of the same name. It shares the same mechanics as the original version. The only difference is that you can play it solo. The game is easy to pick up and understand, yet complex enough to allow deep strategic and tactical options.
The game pieces are unique, with brightly colored cubes representing each disease. The artwork and instructions are also excellent. However, there are a few caveats that need consideration. One is that the game only allows up to four players playing locally. There is no multiplayer option, and solo mode only works if you are willing to play multiple roles.
Players will also find the game too difficult, especially if you are new to the game. You will likely have far more outbreaks than cured cities. There are also other technical glitches in the game, including the broken quarantine specialist. The game freezes mid-game and has lots of random crashes, too. Sadly, technical support is very unresponsive.
Spread the fun
For a game that tackles worldwide health issue, Pandemic: The Board Game is actually fun to play. It is very challenging and will really put your decision-making to the test. The layout is also aesthetically pleasing and the soundtrack is engaging. The deal-breaker, however, is the bug issues that you will encounter when playing.