This review is an overview to see if this is a game you should purchase. And is it good with 1 to 4 players. I will not go in to a long rules explanation due to the fact that on the Geek there are excellent resources for that.
Basic Game Play:
The world is suffering from 4 deadly diseases rapidly spreading from city to city. Your Teams goal is to control the spread of these diseases and find cures for all four. This is a co-operative game so you are not trying to beat your fellow players but rather the game itself. Table talk is needed in order to be successful. And each player has a unique ability to bend the rules to benefit there team.
During your turn you are given 4 actions you can use those actions in any order you want.
Available actions are:
Basic Actions which are your 4 different ways to move around the board (Drive / Ferry, Direct Flight, Charter Flight, Shuttle Flight).
Special Actions include: Building a Research Station, Discover a Cure by having a set of 5 cards of 1 color and playing those at a research station, Treat Disease this allows you to remove a disease cube, Share Knowledge give a player that you are in the same city with that city's card.
After taking your 4 actions you draw 2 cards to your hand with a max hand limit of 7 cards. The draw deck is in the bottom right side of the board as seen in the picture. You may draw an Epidemic card this gets played right away and has 3 effects.
1. Increase the Infection Rate: Move the marker up by 1 on the Infection Rate track. As seen in the top right side of the board.
2. Infect: Take the bottom card from the Infection draw pile and add 3 cubes to the pictured city, then place the card on the discard pile. This may trigger an Outbreak.
3. Increase the Intensity of Infection: Shuffle the Infection discard pile and place it on top of the Infection draw pile.
Then draw cards from the Infection draw pile equal to the current Infection Rate and add 1 cube of the color of each card to the pictured cities. Cards are resolved in the order drawn. This may cause Outbreaks if any of these new cubes cause the total number of cubes of that color in an adjacent city to exceed 3, additional outbreaks may occur were that color disease spreads to each connecting city. Each city may only outbreak once in each chain reaction. Each time a city outbreaks, move the Outbreaks marker up 1 space on the indicator. This can be seen on the bottom left side of the board.
How does the game end?
The game immediately ends in defeat for all players if any of the following occur:
1. A player needs to add Disease cubes to the board and there are none left of that color in the supply.
2. The 8th outbreak occurs (the Outbreaks marker reaches the skull symbol on the Outbreak Indicator).
3. There are not enough cards in the Player draw pile when a player must draw cards.
Players collectively win the game immediately when the cures for all 4 diseases (Blue, Yellow, Black and Red) have been discovered. Players do not need to administer cures to every infected city in order to win the game—victory is instant when any player discovers the 4th and final cure.
So much for that being basic game play overview.
Close up of board with a 4 player setup.
4 Player Setup.
Box and what is inside.
First I have to say the box is on the smaller size and I have read that with the expansion it is hard to fit everything. The box insert is very basic just a divider. The rule book is well laid out with good pictures to help explain game play. I also think the artwork is very good. Cards are made of good card stock. As a side point I had a few cards that had flaws in them when I purchased the game and Z-MANN games sent me new ones right away great customer service. My only other complaint is the pawns are way to big it is like you are Gigantor trying to save the world.
I have read that this was fixed with the expansion.
I think the theme is integrated perfectly in this game. I really feel like each time there is an outbreak the disease is wiping out the world and I need to get there to save the city. There is a lot of randomness to this game in the way the city cards come up and then get disease very thematic. And the set collecting sometimes takes forever to get what you need and in the mean time you just keep trying to control the spread of disease. And that feels very thematic not every disease do they find cures for over night and while searching for cures they are quarantining areas to control the spread of disease. And this is a very family friendly theme that I don't think anyone would have problems with it.
Availability and price:
This can easily be found online and at most local game stores which is a plus. The suggested price is $39.99 I think that is a fair price since I think it would get lots of play. Although you can find it readily online in the mid to high $20s and I feel this is a very good price for this game. I found mine on sale for $18 and I got my moneys worth for sure.
Is it easy to learn/teach?
I would definitely put this as a Gateway game. It is easy to learn and easy to teach and is very family friendly. The suggested age is 13+ I feel that is correct in that a 13 year old could grab this game read the rules and play it with his friends. But I have played this with 10 year old's and it played fine. Since this is a co-operative game you can easily help a child out and not make them feel like they are not contributing to the game. It also has 3 different levels of difficulty and on easy it makes it very kid friendly.
I have played this many times in all player counts and I still enjoy it. When ever you lose you want to just play one more game and try winning. With the variable player powers and the different difficulty levels there is a lot of replay value in that small box. My wife and I have played this at least 15 times together and we would like a little more to change it up. I think the expansion would really revitalize this game for us but every time I place a game order they are out of stock of the expansion. But we still pull it out just not as often for our 2 player games.
1-4 players really?
Many have had the problem when playing co-operative games that there is the 1 guy who is always telling everyone what to do and turns a 4 player game into 1 player. I will not lie I am that guy but with my wife yelling at me when I would start to do that or threatening that she would not play with me anymore has helped. I am proud to say now that I got better. I now try to look at it as an extra challenge when I see someone do something that was not the best move then I can try to improve my turn to better the team.
Now that is out of the way my thoughts on player counts.
1 Player: I know it says this is a game for 2-4 players. But you can easily play this 1 player. I do a 2 player set up and play both players and I find this very fun. I am not a big fan of solo games but sometimes you do what you have to.
2 player: Is great since no game really plays the same and with the variable player powers each game still feels like a challenge. But as I said before after over 15 plays with the same person I am ready for a little more to keep it fresh.
3-4 player: I like the 4 player a lot just watching people get so into the game and having more table talk just adds to the experience. 3 player is still very good but 4 is just better.
Would I buy this game just for the 2 player experience?
Well I did buy this for just the 2 player aspect. As our gaming group started dwindling in size and a lot of the games I had were best with 4+ players I started looking for some games I could play and enjoy with just 2. This is a good game with 2 and is nice because it mixes it up a little instead of always trying to defeat the other player you get to work together. In other words you don't stand the chance of sleeping on the coach because you played mean.
Overall I would give this a 8.5 for those that like number ratings. For me that means I will gladly play this game when it hits the table with no complaining or asking to play something else.
Excellent post. For me, Pandemic is one of those gateway games that has legs and just keeps finding more mileage. I've played a ton with 2p and 3p, and I have to say, I think 2p is my favorite. I'd love to try it with 4, but have no interest in trying it with 1p. I think there's so much more to this game than simply trying to win that I personally don't see the need for 1p if I don't have to go that route (but I understand that some folks want to play it and simply have to go solo on it).
Every adventure requires a first step.
We're all mad here.
Good review. You are correct that losing is just as fun as winning and makes you want to play again.
If you are interested in the On the Brink Expansion, I can confirm that it adds a great deal of variety and options to the game. If your copy of the original Pandemic is fairly new, however, then it already has the "smaller" size pawns of the expansion, which are still a bit larger than optimal. If your normal game source is out of stock, I know Amazon . com still has new copies for sale with free shipping.
- Last edited Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:48 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jan 7, 2013 4:45 am
Very nice review. Thank you.