With the current COVID-19 pandemic on everyone’s minds, what better time is there to step into the shoes of our front line heroes and battle your very own fictional pandemic? The board game Pandemic has been a favorite of countless players since it was first released in 2008. A delightful mix of strategy, cunning, and luck, Pandemic offers countless hours of fun for both families and friend groups.
The World Of Pandemic
In the world of Pandemic, you’re not just dealing with one crisis. Multiple virulent diseases are breaking out at the same time all across the globe, causing a worldwide pandemic that’s up to your little group to solve. You and the other players are specialists from the CDC who are tasked with treating hotspots of disease while at the same time racing to find a cure for these four viruses.
Pandemic uses a game board that portrays 48 major population centers on the globe. Players begin the game at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, with each person being assigned a random role and several Player cards. Each turn you take you get to choose up to four actions, some of which will require cards that you pull from the deck.
Depending on the card you select, you can build a research station, discover a cure for one of the viruses, travel from one city to another, or treat the infected. Be careful, however, as the deck also contains special “Epidemic!” cards that will only worsen the spread of the diseases.
Roles In Pandemic
One of the most fun aspects of the game is the different role that each player gets assigned at the beginning of the game. This is where luck meets strategy, as your strategy depends on the strength of your specialist. Roles such as the Containment Specialist or Operations Expert contain powerful abilities to treat infection, while the Contingency Planner and Pilot are much weaker roles.
Whether you succeed in treating the infections and averting a worldwide meltdown depends on how well you play the role you’re given. This is part of what makes Pandemic such an excellent game for repeat playing, as you may find yourself handicapped with a weaker role that makes gameplay much more challenging.
Unlike most board games, Pandemic requires players to work together in order for everyone to win. Your biggest competitor is the disease itself, rather than the person sitting across from you. Work together to keep the diseases from spreading too far by sharing cards and preventing Outbreaks. This isn’t the kind of game where you shut people out and clinch the victory for yourself.
Pandemic Expansions And Spinoffs
Pandemic comes with several expansions that expand gameplay to include new threats and additional roles. The first official expansion “On the Brink” was released in 2009, which came with additional roles and Special Event cards. Since then, there have been two more expansions that allow you to do things like research cures in a laboratory. One even adds a fifth disease, an incurable Superbug that makes the game much more difficult.
Spinoffs of Pandemic add new features such as dice to the game, which introduces an additional element of chance. One unique spinoff called Pandemic: Contagion flips the script entirely, putting players in the role of the diseases and forcing you to work towards the eradication of the entire human race! And if you’re into mythical monsters and H.P. Lovecraft, you’ll love Pandemic: Reign Of Cthulu, which pits you against occultists who are trying to summon the legendary monster.
Save The World From Pandemic
Pandemic is a perfect game for families, as it accommodates 2-4 players from ages 8 and up. It’s not too difficult to get the hang of, but it’s also challenging enough that you won’t get bored of it after a few plays. The additional expansion packs are a creative way to extend gameplay and get a few additional years out of this classic. But above all, Pandemic stands apart from other games because of its focus on cooperation. If you can get kids to work together to rid the world of disease, there’s nothing you can’t do!