A Newbies Review: Pandemic
Introduction to Me:
For less than one year I have played typical Gateway Euro Games and an assortment of American games! This experiences includes Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Bohnanza, Last Night on Earth, Ticket to Ride, and other games used as gateways to this great hobby!
This review is intended to give the perspective of a newer gamer for other new gamers interested in this game! Expect a bias in this review, since reviews are basically opinion pieces!
My review will be focused solely on my biased opinion and I would refer you to other reviews for a deeper explanation of the rules!
You and your group of up to 4 friends are a team of experts chosen to save the world! A world filled with different disease that are affecting cities across the globe. Each of you will randomly choose a role that allows you to have special abilities the other characters will not have. As a team, you will work together to defeat the diseases by flying to cities, treating disease cities, and discovering a cure to all four diseases! Once you do this discover the last of four cures, you have saved the world!
- The cooperative aspect of this game will really appeal to a wide range of gamers and non-gamers! I have successfully gotten my gaming group, social friends, fiance, brother, mother, father, and grandmother to all enjoy playing Pandemic! While I do not own other popular cooperative games such as Battlestar Galatica, Space Alert, or Ghost Stories, I can attest that this game has had a wide appeal!
- This game is no walk in the park! By adding or subtracting epidemic cards and mixing different combinations of roles, this game can give a great challenge that suits the group playing. Being able to change the difficult of this cooperative game really helps with its appeal to a wide range of audiences. For example, when playing for my traditional parents (Monopoly, Risk) I lowered the number of epidemic cards to suit their experience, and it worked perfectly! On the other hand, with my gaming group, we increased the number of epidemic cards and we still find the game a challenge after 30+ plays.
- The game components are high quality! The board is very sturdy and the cards are of good quality that can take some wear and tear, but still retain their purpose.
- The game has a high replay value! The initial placement of diseases in various cities across the world gives each game a new starting board! Every game requires new tactics as the diseases placed around the world are never exactly placed as the game before. In addition, each game gives players a different set of cards in their hand! With these factors, my group of friends has played this game numerous times without feeling that "same as usual feeling! In fact, we have played several games back to back without overplaying it.
- The rules are simple and easy to understand. The rule book is very user friendly and once the rules are understood, there are few "hazy" situations where you need to pull out the rule book. Once you got the rules, you are good for life.
- The game can lose its theme. At first my gaming group really felt the strong "Save the world" theme as we infected cities with evil laughter, cried at outbreaks, and reveled in the hero role of Medic. However, over time my gaming group has taken a more mathematical puzzling fixing attitude to the game. "If we take only 1 cubes off that Lima we should be okay because the Lima card is in the discard and we just drew an epidemic." "If you move here in three, give me this card, and then have the medic moved through those two cities..." While we still really enjoy solving this puzzle, I felt like the theme has been lost a little.
- Once the puzzle was solved, it lost some of its value. The main part of this game is working together as a group to beat the game and save the world. Earlier, I stated that the game has high replay value because every game is slightly different. I still hold true to this, but I find that once you become quite good at the game, it loses a little its value. Every game is slightly different, but once you become quite good it is almost a puzzle that you have solved many times already. It is a game that requires you to keep upping the difficultly, otherwise it is not as fun. Luckily, the expansion does serve this role!
- One player to rule them all! This game can easily lead itself to one or two outspoken players dominating the movement and decisions of the group. Often times there are only 1 or 2 competing options for the best thing to do, which leads itself to the group just telling players what to do instead of individual players making decisions that cooperative with the team. In our gaming group, whenever we play Pandemic with a mix of newer players and experienced players, the new players often have the actions told to them by experienced players. (Yes, this is a combination of the game and personalities of the players) "Okay, Medic on your turn you should do this.. and after that Rick, you should give her your 2 blue cards and move to Lima..." It can be quite ugly to have a dominant player telling everyone what to do, and this game is one that allows that to happen. I am not sure if this is something cursing all cooperative games or just this style.
Winner! The numerous positive qualities really sets this game as a great cooperative game that is very different that any other typical gateway game that you might play. If you are a newer gamer looking to get into board gaming, I highly recommend this game as your first cooperative!
Congratulations on your review! Good content, and I liked how you organized your review around the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! A great idea!
Thanks for the review...wait til you get the expansion!