Pandemic is one of the most popular board games available. First published in 2007 by z-man games, it is a game suitable for 2 – 4 players aged 8+ and takes between 30 and 90 minutes to play.
The aim of the game is to cure the world of 4 deadly diseases. Each player has a specific character (scientist, medic, researcher, dispatcher or operations expert) that has special abilities that will help them out throughout the game. The players work as a team to discover cures for all the diseases and save humanity before a pandemic occurs.
As disease spreads across the 48 cities on the board, the players must travel around the board and use their abilities to remove infections and try and find a cure. Each turn, random cities (drawn from a deck) have random diseases (represented by colored cubes) placed on them.
To find a cure, the player must have collected 5 cards for a specific color (disease) and make their way to the research lab. Once a disease has been cured, and all current infections for this disease have been removed, the disease can no longer spread.
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If a city already contains 3 cubes of a specific disease and a new one is drawn, then an outbreak occurs and the disease spreads to all cities adjoined to the current city, and one colored block is placed on each adjoining city.
Once a cure has been found for all 4 diseases, it is game over and the players win.
If 7 outbreaks occur, it is game over, and the players lose, so it is important that players don’t let too many block of any one color accumulate on each city.
If there are no more cubes available for a disease, it is game over and the players lose.
If there are no more player cards available to draw, it is game over and the players lose.
There are 3 expansions available for the base game.
On the brink – this expansions adds new roles and also compatibility for a 5th player
In the Lab – this adds a laboratory which the players can use to cure diseases. It also contains new roles with different abilities.
State of emergency – This adds new roles and events and three new challenges – The Hinterlands, Emergency Events, and Superbug
These has also been 3 spin off games
Pandemic The Cure: This is a dice based game which is very similar to the original board game but with a few differences.
Pandemic Contagion: This is a non cooperative version of the game where players take the role of the diseases.
Pandemic Legacy: This is a new version of the base game however the board changes permanently (parts of the game that are not used are actually disposed of) and takes course over a year. The game is played over 12 – 24 sessions depending on how well the players perform.
Pandemic Reign of Cthulhu: The gameplay of this is based on the original game however instead of finding cures for diseases, players must close portals and shut down cults in the fictional town of Arkham.