Rio de Janeiro
Rip off bit harsh maybe? How about reinvention?
Maybe, but it seems that Launius "reinvents" games from other designers quite often. However, I must confess that I was unimpressed with Pandemic and enjoy Defenders of the Realm much more.
Do you seriously think that Pandemic is as similar to Knizia's Lord of the Rings as Defenders of the Realm is to Pandemic?! I understand that Lord of the Rings was the first cooperative game (or at least the first to be popular), and that's probably where you are coming from, but the only thing that Pandemic has in common with it is that it's cooperative. Pandemic was very original at the time and I would never call it a reinvention.