Pandemic – A Brief Overview

This was supposed to be last Friday…but for some reason the email from the iToy with all the screenshots on it arrived today. I sent it last Thursday. Lol. Technology.


Pandemic is first and foremost a board game. And unlike many games, it’s great for two people since it’s you against the board. Basically the game has four diseases slowly (or speedily if you’re unlucky) spreading across the board. With each turn you frantically move across the board and try to keep the diseases from taking over while simultaneously researching a cure. It’s awesome. Of course I also bought the game on my iToy since it means I can play all four characters myself. I win…maybe 65% of the time.

Starting game setup. Here I know I’m going to have the Epidemiologist grab Chennai from our Trouble shooter. The rest will go out and try to cure our 3-cube cities.

Everyone starts at the CDC in Atlanta. I always play with four random characters. Each character has different special abilities which can make the game easy…or not. Depending on luck. For example here the Scientist can cure a disease with only 4 cards of the same color instead of 5, the dispatcher can move other players around, the Epidemiologist can freely take 1 card from another player, and our Troubleshooter gets to glance at where the diseases will strike at the end of her turn.

Our scientist has drawn two blue cities. That means she’s got three blue cities and only needs one more to cure blue…expect…blue’s already been cured so it’s not the best hand.

Each player get four actions each turn. Basically they may move along the city paths, remove 1 cube from the city they’re in, or trade with another player in the same city they are. At the end of the turn they draw two cards and the game places between 2 and 4 new cubes.

The game’s really good at giving you the help you need to remember what everything does and how it all should work.

It’s easy to find the dangerous spots that you really should concentrate on. If the board places a cube on a city that already has three cubes you get an outbreak. One cube is then placed every connecting city. Yes, you can have multiple outbreaks if you’re careless! On the psychical board I like to stack them vertically for a 3D effect.

This is when I start hoping the board isn’t about to draw Karachi or Delhi or Tehran! Please! I don’t want to lose!

Here I lucked out since Santiago only connects to Lima so it’s not that big a deal. Plus can have 8 outbreaks before it’s game over.

Santiago outbreaks to Lima. If it had been Buenos Aires that would send a cube to Sao Paulo and Bogota. If Bogota had an outbreak? There’s five cities attached to it!

That’s not the only way the game can win. The board is really really against you. If you run out of cubes to place? Game over! Run out of cards to draw? Game Over!

This often happens. Especially since the game recycles its cities each time there’s an epidemic so a city in trouble is about to get into more trouble.

But it’s not helpless. All the time you collecting and trading cards with other players trying to get five of kind to cure the disease. Cured diseases are still a problem, but a lot easier to take care of. And once you cure all four disease you win no matter how bad the board looks.

Looks like our Epidemiologist traded in five cards to cure one of the colors…I don’t remember which one.

If you’re really lucky, you can eradicate a disease. That means cubes of that color won’t ever be placed again. To eradicate you have to remove all the cubes for a cured disease. Not normally worth the time and effort, but really awesome when it happens.

Really I adore their soundtrack, it’s just perfect for this. Jubilant during the curing and eradicating, tension building during epidemics and outbreaks.

There’s a lot of strategy and co-op that needs to happen to win against the board. An a lot of rules and quirks I’m not going to point out. (You can also modify the difficulty at the start of the game – I play on normal now…it’s hard).

But if your family is more a cooperative family when it comes to games, you might want to check this out. Or if you want, I think the game is $9.99 in the apple store. Or it was when I bought it. And probably goes on sale from time to time. Give it a try!

It’s such an accomplishment to win, and the game slows down the spinning cubes and the music calms down so you know it’ll be alright.


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