Pandemic [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Pandemic | Board Games | Gaming | Pandemic | Game Review | Pandemic Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
This game has been on our radar for quite some time. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the board game and it was really different from other board games we’ve played. The biggest learning curve for us, I believe, was to remember that it was a cooperative game rather than a competition between all the players.

rachmii
Playing a cooperative game was a nice change of pace though. Especially since we normally play just the two of us, most competitive games are harder and would be more fun if there were more of us. Of course, the first time we played (and learned) Pandemic, we played with our cousin Kat.

krismii
Yes, Kat was a great addition to the board game, giving us another to bounce ideas off of and a third voice to help interpret the rules. The main objective of the game is to find cures for four deadly diseases before the population of the world succumbs to them. To do so, you need to find enough “data” on each disease — also known as collecting enough city cards of the same color — and bring your findings to a city with a research center. Once you do so, that particular disease will have a cure. With a limited number of turns determined by the player deck, it’s definitely a challenge!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
“Interpret the rules.” That’s code for Kris reading the rules and trying to explain it to us while Kat and I played with the game pieces. The rules are a lot of fun though. Once you start playing, the game is easy enough to understand, but it’s difficult. We played so many games – with just us or with three people – and I think we won twice.

krismii
Yes, we do not have a great win streak with this game so far. Speaking of the game pieces, there is a bit to set up. Aside from the character pawns — each of which represents a certain role with a special ability or two — there was also the disease tokens, the outbreak and infection rate tokens, and the two deck of cards. The player deck consisted of the many cities you could travel to and the infection deck indicated which city became more infected at the end of every turn.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
To set up the game, you need to spread the virus around a bit so you can, you know, have something to cure. This is done by taking nine cards from the infection deck and, depending on their color – red, blue, yellow, or black – you need to place the virus block on those places. One infection on three places, two infections on three other places, and three infections on the last three places. Now, if a place has three infections already and they get infected again, an outbreak occurs. A place can’t have more than three infections so all the connecting places will end up getting one infection. Get seven outbreaks and the game ends.

krismii
All of the characters start in Atlanta at a research center along with a handful of cards from the player deck, indicating cities that they can charter a flight to. Working together, players must visit cities to start eradicating diseases. When you visit a city, you can take away a virus block as one of your actions. Players can take up to four actions during their turn, including traveling to another city, building a research center, or sharing knowledge with another player that is in the same city as them. Sharing knowledge is crucial, as it enables players to share city cards of the city they are meeting in. Collecting enough city cards of the same color is key to curing the diseases once and for all. During some of our games, we tended to assign a “disease” to each player, saying one would do her best to collect enough blue cards and another to collect black cards as a goal to find cures.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Depending on which character you choose, you have special skills as well. For example, I personally loved being the Medic because instead of taking away one infection in a city per action, I could take them all away as one action. It helped out a lot, but… we still lost the game a lot. And, honestly, I think we even fudged the rules a couple of times accidentally too. We still kept losing though, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless!

Pandemic gets a rating of…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Pandemic [Board Game Review]

  1. Glad to see that you enjoyed Pandemic! It was the first co-op board game Steff and I ever played, and one of the first modern board games that really warmed us up to the hobby. If my memory serves me well, I think this is one that I introduced Mat and his wife Liza to when they came to our house years ago for a board game night. Steff and I still lose most of the time, but it only makes winning that much sweeter. As you said, there’s a lot of initial set-up and rules to keep track of, but it becomes quick to grasp after a few games.

    Was really banking on the Switch version having online play so we could all stream this together someday, but the Switch ports don’t have that option 😦 I think the Steam version might have online play though?

    If you decide to go further into the Pandemic universe – which now has a ton of expansions and spin-off games – I highly recommend Pandemic Legacy. Unlike mainline Pandemic, it plays out across one set campaign where your decisions are permanent. Cards get ripped up, you write on the board, add stickers to cards, entire cities get removed from the map, and more! It’s in my top 5 board games of all-time. We finished season one and are halfway through season 2.

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