Pandemic – A Story

I know I’ve reviewed Pandemic before – I absolutely love this game and play it almost every day over lunch (one game takes me around 15 minutes). But perhaps wordy reviews aren’t your thing? You’re here for stories right? So this time, after every turn, I wrote. Enjoy.


Saving the World One Cube at a Time

Turn One – Cornelia Tann

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Today was just like every day in the CDC, reports came in from all over the globe on diseases new and old. Most we knew the countries could handle themselves. The news from Africa was the most troubling. Yellow fever had reached critical mass in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. People in Johannesburg and Kinshasha were panicking – which was threading a double outbreak that would spread the fever to all of Africa. That wasn’t something we could risk. But my specialty was Asia, I wasn’t sure I could help.

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Turn Two – David Plum

With the possibility of a double outbreak any moment, I knew I had to act fast. Getting people to Africa was my top priority and I pulled strings to have one of our specialists flown out there. Sure, they normally worked in Asia, but for now, Asia was quiet. Africa was screaming.

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As suspected, just having more help lowered the panic to manageable levels. And it happened just in time. Word was in from Jakarta that a new, more virulent strain of Red Pox was taking over the streets. We wouldn’t be able to concentrate fully on Africa for much longer.

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Turn Three – Amy Azure

I’d been sent to Essen on a tip that the Bue Flu was breaking out again. But the rumors proved to be false. Moscow was claiming that the Plague was back, but when word came in about panic in Ridaya and Jakarta I had to pick one.

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They were both in equal peril of an outbreak and there was no way to know which one would break first without feet on the ground. I headed to Jakarta as I knew my coworkers would be able to make it to Ridaya – hopefully in time.

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Turn Four – Oliver Greene

I was in Africa helping out with the Yellow Fever crisis there when word came in that Ridaya had confirmed cases of the Black Death – the plague was back. I immediately headed north to help establish a research station. We would need all the help we could get if the plague was back. Ridaya was happy to see me.

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Turn Five – Cornelia Tann

There’s always someplace in the world in need of help. But Africa, for now, had things under control. I headed North as well to help Oliver Greene establish the research facility in Ridaya.

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Turn Six – David Plum

I looked down at the list in my hand. Bogota and Moscow both were requesting aid, but according to my bosses neither were in immediate danger. I just hoped Moscow could hold out till A could meet up with them. We were already close to curing the Red Pox that had sprung up in Jakarta.

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Turn Seven – Amy Azure

As much as I wanted to join the efforts to cure Red Pox, I was urgently needed in Moscow. They’d been requesting aid for months now and we’d been unable to send anyone. It was time to help.

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Turn Eight – Oliver Greene

With Cornelia Tann’s help, I established a reputable lab in Ridaya and headed off to Sydney where scientists claimed to be mere weeks from a cure to this newest virulent strain. Jakarta had enough cases to speed the efforts on and luckily this version of Red Pox was rarely found in other Asian cities.

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Turn Nine – Cornelia Tann

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At last, a cure for the Red Pox was found thanks to the efforts of all of us working round the clock. I could hardly contain my excitement as the scientists announced their findings. I took the good news, and the cure, to Jakarta. Whispers say that the Blue Flu might be heading towards a breakthrough as well. These are the days that I love working for the CDC.

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Turn Ten – David Plum

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Close on the heels of the news that the Red Pox had a cure was the rumbles of a cure for the Blue Flu which was ravaging Europe. I pushed myself and my coworkers day and night to find the cure.

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I was in the midst of finding and ferrying relevant scientists when the news came that Yellow Fever had spread to Mexico City. I feared the news would derail our efforts again the Blue Flu.

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Turn Eleven – Amy Azure

I got to Mexico in time to prevent panic in that city, but the disease will continue to be a problem as long as governments refuse to take it seriously.

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Funding is chronically short when everyone seems to be concentrating on the less deadly, and less spread Blue Flu, just because it strikes closer to their homes. The death tolls in Africa are raising while scientists are bend toward curing a different disease. It won’t be long, I fear, before the world’s attention will be forced back to Africa.

Turn Twelve – Oliver Greene

I heard that if I headed to Lagos there would be a scientist there who had insight into Yellow Fever. With proper facilities and funding, they would be one step closer to curing the fever. I got to work building the research station.

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Turn Thirteen – Cornelia Tann

I had hoped that with the Red Pox being cured, that the crisis would ebb, but it seemed to just continue to expand. Africa was one epidemic away from a triple outbreak which would spread Yellow Fever into neighboring countries and threaten the world’s economy. Although other cities also cried for help, I couldn’t do it all.

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I hoped I hadn’t picked the wrong crisis to avert. But, moments after arriving in Johannesburg, I got word of panic in Tehran. That close to Moscow we were risking a major outbreak of Black Death. But there was nothing I could do but pray they would be alright.

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Turn Fourteen – David Plum

Our luck has run out. Out of nowhere, the Black Death was suddenly all over Eurasia and the Middle East. Panic hit Tehran and Bagdad simultaneously. Even as reports of an outbreak in Chennai came in. The plague had officially spread. And soon would spread too far and too fast for us to do anything. Despite the outbreak of Blue Flu in Milan, I knew we had to act fast to save the world.

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I assembled a mobile team and headed to Ridaya myself. We were able to calm the panicked city just in time, but I knew our respite would be brief.

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Turn Fifteen – Amy Azure

Despite the panic over the black death, I had a responsibility to escort the scientist to Lagos. He was badly needed to help the efforts again the Yellow Fever. I knew my next post would be in the North.

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Turn Sixteen – Oliver Greene

One more piece and the scientists said they would have a cure for Yellow Fever. It was sorely needed.

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I followed the hint of work being done in Los Angeles, but even as I traveled back to the United States, reports out of Eurasia had me worried that it might not matter. Time was running out.

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Turn Seventeen – Cornelia Tann

Panic was occurring in all corners of the world. Shanghai and Hong Kong were both suffering from cases of the Red Pox despite the cure being found. It wasn’t reaching them fast enough. The terrible news on the black death was on every channel. Even the Blue Flu which previously had seemed like a minor illness to me starting to have a noticeable death toll.

It seemed the only place not panicking was Africa. Everyone was calm, certain that we were less than a year away from having a cure for the Yellow Fever.

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I was sent to Asia, cure in hand. They were relieved to have help as the cure was distributed. I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t locking the barn door after the horses had escaped. Not for Red Pox. But the encroaching Black Death had us all on edge.

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Turn Eighteen – David Plum

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In the midst of panic, a small beacon of relief. The cure for the Blue Flu had finally been found. I didn’t know if it would do any good. Every day I was surrounded by those ill from the plague. The cause here felt hopeless.

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Turn Nineteen – Amy Azure

The plague was halfway to being cured. Scientists worked round the clock on a cure and we were throwing every effort to help those cities near riot from the number of cases. Our presence was clearly helping to ease the panic so the scientists could work.

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Turn Twenty – Oliver Greene

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Los Angeles proved to be the place where everything came together and we could announce the Yellow Fever had a cure. I rushed to dispense the cure to those most in need. I had to trust in my co-workers that they would do what was needed there. I was helpless to assist them.

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CDC: ALERT DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MASS PANIC, ALL TRAVEL AND CONNECTIONS BETWEEN COUNTRIES IS TO BE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED.

Turn Twenty-one – Cornelia Tann

I was in Taipei when the alert was issued. Only those of us with the CDC could move about, citizens were on lock down. Drastic measures, but with Eurasia and the Middle East on the verge of an economic collapse, it had to be done. The loss of a stable word government and economy would doom us all.

I had been days out from Jakarta, moments away from irradicating the Red Pox permanently from the world. But I was also the only one able to prevent panic from completely overwhelming us once the suspension was lifted. I hated to leave Asia with Red Pox still there, but I had no choice.

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Any outbreak in Eurasia would be the end of us and I could lessen that chance. I headed to North Africa.

Turn Twenty-two – David Plum

We aren’t out of the woods yet, but once the travel ban was lifted we all held our breath and the world, trembled but did not fall. It’s possible we could cure this plague in time. I was exhausted shifting folks back and forth but our last puzzle piece was in Algiers.

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If the world could just wait long enough for the scientists there to put everything together. I moved everyone into place. It might still all be in vain if luck isn’t on our side.

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Turn Twenty-Three – Amy Azure

We continue to be lucky. Every day we wait to hear about a mass panic and spiraling out of control. The world was in rough shape. London and Milan were both suffering from outbreaks of the Blue Flu. Chennai and Algiers could end us all if they both panicked.

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I was sent to help Moscow and once it was calmed, I looked to see if there was somthing more I could do. I could only help London. They welcomed me, but I held my breath, eyes glued to the news. We were so close to both being saved and begin destroyed.

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Turn Twenty-Four – Oliver Greene

Panic rocked Algiers spreading Black Death to all its neighbors. But we were lucky. Moscow was quiet after Amy Azure had been there. I flew to Chennai knowing that if I didn’t and if they panicked, it would be over.

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Turn Twenty-Five – Cornelia Tann

We are saved. The cure to the plague was found.

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True, there’s still a lot of work. Plenty of panic in Africa. Distribution of the cure for yellow fever has been slowed by politics and panic over the plague. But now, we could all calm down and send out medics to help. Milan is still suffering the most from the Blue Flu – but again the cure is known and on its way.

Perhaps our greatest efforts are still in Eurasia where the Black Death has devastated the population. It’ll take time, but we have time now to distribute the new cure to everyone. The end is in sight.

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Notes

I wrote this as I played and I wasn’t sure we would make it. Suddenly, black cubes were all over and we were down to only a few more cubes to play. In the game, if you run out of cubes to place, it’s over. I hope you enjoyed my tale.

Knowing how to play the game might not be necessary for the story – but it might help explain the screenshots. Feel free to read on if you want to know how to play the game.

Game Play

I always play with four random characters on normal (that means four epidemics in the deck) difficulty.

On each turn, a player may make four actions. These actions include moving, treating a city, building a research station, or curing a disease. Playing a special action card is a free action and can be played at any time the card may be played from anyone’s hand.

At the end of each turn, the player draws two cards (These may be colored city cards, special action cards, or an epidemic) into their hand and then the board has their turn.

The board will draw a number of cities and place a disease cube in each of the drawn cities. If the city already has three disease cubes instead of placing a cube, there is an outbreak. This will place a disease cube in each adjacent city.

If the player has drawn an Epidemic card on their turn, a new city is picked for a three-cube placement. In addition, the board’s discard city pile is shuffled back into the top of the deck before the board draws its cities.

Character Abilities

Caroline Tann: Containment Specialist- This player will remove 1 disease cube automatically when they enter a city with two or more cubes. Later, they were made a Medic. Medics remove all disease cubes in a city when they treat a city. Additionally, when a medic arrives in a city with a cured disease, cubes are automatically removed.

David Green: Dispatcher- This player may move any other player on their turn. They may move themselves or another player to any city adjacent to the city the player is in, to a city with another player already there, or discard a card from their hand to move to that city.

Amy Azure: Archivist – When this player is in a city whose card has already been discarded or played, they may take an action to put that card into their hands. This may be done multiple times. Additionally the Archivist hand limit in increased from seven to eight cards.

Oliver Greene: Operations Expert – This player may spend an action to place a research station. They do not need to discard the city’s card or have in their hand to build the station. Additionally, when in a research station, this player may discard any card in their hand to travel to any other city on the map.

Losing (And Winning) the Game

The game can be lost in several ways. If there is no available disease cube to place when the board needs to place a cube. If the players run out of cards to draw at the end of their turn. Or on the 10th outbreak. The game can only be won when the players cure all four diseases.

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