Game Review: Pandemic

Pandemic is a board game that is published by Z-Man Games in 2007. It is designed by the board game designer Matt Leacock.

The game is different from most of the board games because its gameplay is based on cooperation rather than competition. It is based on four diseases that have broken out in the world. All players must cooperate to discover all four cures before reaching any of several game-losing conditions.

The game setup consists of a board game, two decks of cards, four colors of cubes, six Research Stations, and a pawn for each player. It can be played by two to four players. The game board is a map of the earth representing a network connected to 48 cities.

The cards are divided into two: player cards and infection cards. The player cards include few cards with each containing the names of 48 cities. It also includes Special Event Cards which can be used at specific times to take beneficial actions and Epidemic cards. The Infection cards consist of one card for every 48 cities and a color of the disease that will start there.

Infection cards will be randomly drawn to occupy the board with infections from 1 to 3 cubes for a number of cities at the start of the game. The home of the Centers for Disease Control is at Atlanta where the players will start.

The goal of the game is for the players to stop the four diseases in spreading by working cooperatively. They must cure the few infected before a pandemic occurs.

Players will be given a random role and a number of player cards. A player can take 4 actions that consist of any combination in every turn. The player must draw two playing cards with each turn.

Players are given roles that allow them to alter the rules to help in winning the game. Each player will have a role among the five specialists: dispatcher, medic, an operations expert, researcher or scientist.

The players are also aided by the Special Event cards which allow for a same one-time action. The effect is a direct removal of a few infection tokens or immediate construction of a research lab. Pandemic requires all players to coordinate to win the game. They must combine their efforts to discover the cures to the 4 diseases and prevent an outbreak in an efficient manner.

The game is very different from the “normal” board games. It is great for teaching kids the importance of cooperation without having the feeling of a pep talk. And it is much wonderful because they are learning while having fun.