Pandemic: Review

OVERVIEW

Our Rating:

In this cooperative game by Z-man Games, you and your fellow co-workers are assigned the task of ridding the world of the deadly diseases that have broken out throughout the planet. You must work together, and use your specialized skills to help cure (and ry to eradicate) the diseases before there are epidemics and time runs out. Don't leave a city untreated for too long or an outbreak might occur!

Pandemic was recently featured in a few of our Favorites Lists. For more like it check out...
Best Cooperative Board Games
Best Two Player Board Games
Best Gateway Board Games

Note: If you are looking for a Simplified Version of How To Play Pandemic or maybe you want to understand the mechanics more before you buy... We have you covered!

KAITLYN'S REVIEW

My Rating:

Likes

  • You can increase the difficulty
  • High Replayability
  • Pandemic Shuffling
  • No wait time between turns

Dislikes

  • Can have the dominant player problem

Intro/First Impressions

If you have read any of my other reviews, you would know I am partial to coop board games. The obsession runs deep, I want to try them all. I love that everyone works together and you get to speak your thoughts or feelings of frustration instead of just keeping them in your head.

Of all the coop games I have tried (check out our best cooperative board games list if you haven't already) Pandemic is by far my favorite. It’s stressful, challenging and a lot of fun

Thoughts

There are 4 viruses spreading across the globe and it's up to you and your fellow disease fighting specialists to try to cure them before they take over the world.

Each player gets dealt a different character card, they all have different abilities that will help you to travel, prevent the spread of diseases, or cure diseases. For example the researcher only needs 4 cards to cure a disease instead of 5.

I love that with this game your role card is dealt to you since I find some of the roles to be stronger than others. Not having a choice forces you to change your strategies every game.

The game starts with all of the players stationed in Atlanta and with 9 cities across the board already plagued by the diseases. On your turn you have 4 moves, the main moves you can do are move to a different city, treat disease cubes or cure a disease.

After each player's turn more cities become infected and at random times epidemic cards are drawn which causes the disease to viciously attack a new city. This brings us to the most stressful part of the game, you are constantly forced to make the decision to either treat what is already on the board or attempt to cure a disease and possibly have outbreaks occur.

An outbreak occurs if a city has 3 disease cubes placed on it. This causes the disease to spread to all the cities it is connected too, and if any of them have 3 cubes another outbreak occurs and so on.

Now you understand why every decision is so stressful. That is the basics for what happens in Pandemic, if you would like more details check out our how to play guide.


We have had Pandemic for a few years now and we have never had a bad game. We have lost we have won, but it has always been fun. One of the things I love is that each game is different.

The creators did an amazing job of making it extremely challenging to win. I would say that at least 70% of the games we have played came down to the last couple turns. Which is normally when we find ourselves retracing our steps to find out how we could have won. Pandemic is that addicting! Even when you lose you need to keep figuring it out.

We have played with 2 up to 4 players and have found it to be just as enjoyable with any number of players. Between the number of city cards, different role cards, randomness of epidemics, and different expansions the replayability of Pandemic is endless!

Note: Pandemic can also be played as a single player game if you want. In fact it made our list of Top Solo Board Games Here

One of my favorite features is the “Pandemic shuffling” mechanic. Depending on the difficulty level that you choose you will add between 4 and 6 epidemic cards. The way in which you add them is unique.

If you choose the basic 4 epidemic option you split the city card deck into 4 piles and shuffle one epidemic card into each of those piles. Then you add all 4 piles back together by stacking them not shuffling them together. This means that you will have 1 epidemic card come up per quarter of the deck but don't be fooled they can still come up back to back if you're unlucky.

Pandemic is a full coop game meaning that your cards are laid out on the table for everyone to see. This is one of my favorite features, because of this you are never sitting around waiting for your turn, which is one of my biggest pet peeves with strategy board games.

You know everyone's cards and abilities so every player is involved in every discussion. This does at times lead to the dominant player problem but as long as everyone remembers it's ultimately the player whose turn it is choice then it shouldn't be a problem.

Conclusion

As you can tell Pandemic holds a top spot in not only my favorite coop games, but my favorite board games in general.

It is super easy to learn/ teach since you can basically just start playing. When everyone works together you don't need a solid grasp before starting.

You can up the difficulty if you somehow manage to become a Pandemic master, it's on the more affordable end of the spectrum, and finally the games are rather quick (45 mins) so even if the board wins (which it will, a lot) you have time for another game.

In short, buy Pandemic. You won't regret it.

About the author

Kaitlyn

I love playing board games with my family and friends! If i'm not doing that you can usually find me belting out a song or drinking way too much coffee! Check out my full biography on the about me page!

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