W. Eric Martin
If you've scanned the official schedule for BGG.CON 2013 — the annual convention in Dallas, Texas run by this very site, a convention that opens on Wednesday, Nov. 20 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 24 — you might have noticed an official event on Friday that runs from 1-5 p.m. titled "Pandemic: The Cure Tournament", and while you might have thought this was simply a tournament featuring the new edition of Matt Leacock's Pandemic that Z-Man Games (and many other publishers) released in 2013, a click through that event link would have revealed something else entirely:
Come play in the exciting new dice game set in the Pandemic world. Pandemic: The Cure prototypes will be used for six teams of five players to participate in this new challenge. Matt Leacock, the designer, will teach and officiate this tournament. Two rounds of play and the top two teams playing in a final for a $50 gift certificate for each team member.
Can you save humanity with these new tools?
Yes, Leacock has something new for the Pandemic universe — Pandemic: The Cure, a dice-based version of Pandemic that Z-Man Games is previewing at BGG.CON 2013 ahead of its anticipated release in the second half of 2014. Here's an overview of the game, which remixes familiar elements to have players gambling on humanity's future in a new way:
Pandemic: The Cure sets up in less than a minute and plays in 30 minutes. As in the board game, four diseases threaten the world and it's up to your team to save humanity. You and your team must keep the world's hotspots in check before they break out of control, while researching cures to the four plagues.
Players roll dice each turn to determine the actions available to them. They can fly and sail between the six major population centers of the world, treat disease in their current region, collect samples for further study, and exchange knowledge to help them in their goal of discovering cures. Each player takes on a different role that has its own unique set of dice and abilities — and players must take advantage of their specializations if they are to have any hope of winning the game. The Dispatcher, for example, can spend dice to fly others around the board, while the Medic is particularly adept at treating disease. Players can roll their dice as often as they like, but the more times they re-roll for the perfect turn, the more likely the next epidemic will occur.
At the end of each turn, new "infection dice" are rolled to determine the type and location of newly infected populations. If any region on the board is infected with more than three dice of a given color, an outbreak occurs, spreading disease into an adjacent region. If too many outbreaks take place, too many people get infected, or the rate of infection gets too high, all the players lose. If, however, the players can discover the cures to the four diseases, they all win and humanity is saved!
If you're not going to be in Dallas for BGG.CON 2013, I'm sure that the disease fighters who do show up will let you know how their efforts panned out — unless they died, of course, in which case we'll all be in trouble...
Game layout with prototype components