This review of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 will have spoilers for things you could know after playing the prologue (aka the learning game) but will avoiding spoiling anything from actually playing through any portion of the campaign.
I’ve played through the entire campaign of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2. My wife and I played the entire thing just the two of us with each of us controlling 2 characters, which is exactly the same way we played through Season 1. Because of the nature of legacy games, our experience will be somewhat different from those of other players. That said, I can safely say I’ve had a full, robust experience of what’s in the box.
Rules & Game Mechanisms
The gameplay for Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 intentionally is a turning of the rules of normal Pandemic on their head. Instead of taking cubes on the board that the game is continuously adding, you’re adding cubes that the game is continuously taking off. You’re still doing this while collecting sets of cards, though you’re using them to build things instead of finding a cure.
The result is that the gameplay feels very similar while having some interesting differences in strategy. The limitation in the number of supply cubes you have is an interesting twist which plays out throughout the campaign.
There are a number of different mechanisms that get added throughout the game that give you different options and interesting choices, making it a somewhat more complex game without changing up the core gameplay too much. I would say that it very much succeeds as a legacy game in this way. It gives enough without giving too much.
Art, Theme, & Components
The art and graphic design do an excellent job of giving the post apocalyptic feel of the game while feeling fresh and not too much like a Mad Max ripoff. They also do a great job of integrating the components, including the ones not added until later in the game into a board that feels like it’s part of that world and not simply a vehicle for playing the game. The plastic components didn’t fit quite as well into this though they did help tie the game back to its predecessor, Pandemic. As a whole I was very pleased with the art and components.
Theme wise, the game does a great job as well. It takes the world of Pandemic and makes it feel alive in a way that season 1 just didn’t manage. There’s now a world here with a history and it’s fun to play on top of that backdrop. It makes me genuinely excited to see where they take the world with season 3 and that means it’s a win in my book.
Strategy & Replayability
One main aspect of the game that I didn’t talk about above but which is visible but not accessible during the prologue is the exploring mechanism. Gameplay wise this gives an interesting contrast where you are both trying to win the current game but also explore and unlock things for future games. It led to a lot of interesting discussions for us on what was more important and what strategies to implement based on the goals we wanted to complete. There was at least one game where we delayed winning the game in order to complete other goals.
Obviously as a legacy game, the replayability is somewhat limited, though 12-24 plays is already an impressive number. Unlike season 1, it’s really not possible to play a normal Pandemic game with this one. Additionally, due to much of the difficulty and decision making in this game being dependent upon the exploration elements, a second playthrough of the campaign might feel too easy in a way that’s not quite true for season 1. The players know where to go and what to avoid and that might make them a little bit too efficient.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a fun and robust game that I would encourage anyone who enjoys exploration or storytelling in games to play through. It’s not perfect but I definitely feel that it took a step up from season 1 and it leaves me excited to see where season 3 goes in a couple of years. I highly recommend it!
Thanks for taking the time to read my review
If you enjoyed it, please pass a thumb my way!
Check out www.epicherogames.com to find all my reviews in one place
Follow me on Twitter to hear about my latest reviews and whatever else I happen to feel like posting!