As a member of the ‘Blogger Board Game Club’ each month I am sent a game to play, review and to share with my readers. This month we were sent the international award-winning game ‘Pandemic’.
Pandemic – A Cooperative Game
Designed by Matt Leacock and published by Z-Man Games, Pandemic is a cooperative game which all players work to win or lose together, this is a rather new concept for our household as over the years we have grown accustomed to board games being a battle against one and other.
Pandemic is suited for two to four players aged eight years and over, each player takes on a specific role (either a dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher, operations expert, contingency planner or quarantine specialist) each of which contributes to game play through special abilities and skills.
Game Play & Setup
This game took my husband and I quite some time to set up as the rules are fairly lengthy and complex to understand. For this reason we chose to wait until the children had gone to bed for the night before we practiced playing the game. Having eventually read through and made sense of the rules we began game play which seemed rather unnatural at first considering that there to be no winners or losers around the table as we were to work together to either win or lose as a team.
As members of a ‘disease-fighting team’ players must work together to keep four deadly diseases at bay by travelling across the globe, finding resources, treating infections and eventually curing diseases in a bid to win the game. However, time is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics continue to spread making this game more of a brain teaser than a battle. Players must work together to discover all four cures before the game ends (which can happen in a number of ways).
Unlike most game reviews in which I usually outline the rules required for play, I will keep this post simple as if I were to try to explain the entirety of this game I would baffle not only myself but the majority of my readers alike.
Included within the Pandemic board game is:
- 1 x Game Board (featuring the World’s major cities)
- 7 x Role Cards (including two new roles)
- 7 x Role Pawn Playing Pieces
- 6 x Research Stations
- 96 x Disease Cubes (in black, yellow, red and blue)
- 48 x Infection Cards
- 59 x Player Cards
- 4 x Reference Cards
- 1 x Rulebook/ Instructions
A Race Against Time
Given that my husband and I had already spent almost twenty minutes reading through the rulebook and preparing the board for game play we weren’t exactly off to flying start when we first attempted playing Pandemic. The game itself however took some time and whilst the game is said to last for up to forty-five minutes we found that it took us well over an hour in total to play. There are three levels of difficulty for play (Introductory, Standard or Heroic) which is dependent upon the number of ‘Epidemic’ cards which are placed within the player pack. As you may have guessed we chose to play at an introductory level which seemed to suit our ability at the time.
Upon each players turn they must first carry up out up to four actions (driving/ ferrying/ flying/ charter flights/ shuttle flights/ building researching stations/ treating disease/ sharing knowledge/ discovering a cure) following which they are to draw two player cards then finally complete their turn by infecting cities.
The aim of the game is simply to work alongside each other in order to discover a cure for all four deadly diseases before either the outbreak marker reaches the maximum level, disease cubes are no longer available or player cards cannot be drawn. This may sound simple but believe me, once game play begins and disease begins to spread things can get out of control very quickly.
As I said above I would explain further but the rules are so complex it’s quite difficult to do so. Pandemic may have been difficult for us to get our heads around at first but it was well worth the effort as gameplay was both challenging and fun. My only bugbear was that as gameplay is based upon a cooperative team, I found that the person with the loudest voice seemed to guide and rule the entire gameplay that will be husband then. Also with two players I feel that gameplay may have been a little bland and for that reason I would suggest two players each playing two role cards at the same time to jazz things up a bit.
Purchasing and Pricing Information
The Pandemic game line now includes multiple expansion packs and stand-alone titles alongside this game. Pandemic is considered to be one of the most successful cooperative games that has reached the mainstream market, so much so that Pandemic is now also available as an App both for android and IOS devices (currently priced at £4.99 to download).
Our Final Thoughts
Overall both my husband and I enjoyed playing this game after we’d eventually worked out how to do so. Whilst our son is eight years old and the game suggests that it is suitable for such an age I’m not entirely sure whether he himself would have the patience and understanding required to take part within this game. I would suggest that Pandemic is more suited to an adult audience and whilst this isn’t something which I’d play around a table during a party it’s certainly a challenge for small groups to carry out whilst of a soba mindset.
For further information upon the Pandemic board game and related products visit www.zmangames.com/en/games/pandemic
Disclosure: I was sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.