Pandemic is a cooperative game by Matt Leacock. It’s a game for 2-4 players and plays in about 45 minutes. In this game there is a global emergency. Four deadly diseases are sweeping the globe and the CDC has chosen your team, you and your friends, to battle this crisis. You must find the cure for each disease, and treat as many people as you can before the world is ravaged beyond repair.
In Pandemic each player has a different character with a special ability, the Medic helps treat, the Scientist helps research cures etc. All players begin their mission at the CDC in Atlanta and move throughout the world doing what they can to stop, or at least slow the spread of disease. Each player will have a hand consisting of 7 cards, the majority of the cards being location cards, and the rest special event cards, and players have 4 actions that they can use a turn but they have eight different things that they can do. They can Ferry, moving from one city to another. They can fly by either discarding the card pertaining to the location they are moving to, or by discarding the location card for the city they are currently in. They can also fly between research stations without discarding cards. While in a city they can use an available action to treat disease, removing a disease cube from the location on the board, pass the card for the city they are in to another player also at that location, build a research station by discarding the location card of the current city they are located, or trade in 5 cards of the same colour while at a research station to cure the corresponding disease. At the end of each player’s turn the pick up two new city cards and put them into their hand, then draw a number of infection cards which indicate which cities receive a disease cube. This happens each turn unless of course an epidemic card shows up. In this case all previous infection cards are shuffled and placed back on top of the deck to come around again, one infection card is taken from the bottom of the pile and receives the highest level of disease cubes (3), and the rate of infection is increased which may increase the number of cards taken from the infection pile each turn. If a city requires another disease cube but already has 3 on it an outbreak occurs. Each connected city receives a disease cube and the outbreak meter moves up. Players win by finding all 4 cures for the diseases, but they lose if disease cubes must be placed but are not available, the outbreak meter reaches the end, or the deck of city cards runs out.
Right now you’re thinking, ‘this sounds impossible’. Well a cooperative game wouldn’t be very fun if it was easy. This game definitely keeps you on your toes. It is difficult but not impossible which makes victories all that much more sweet. Given its difficulty to win the game is still very simple to play which is why I constantly recommend it to anyone and everyone. It is a bit of an older game now which means there are a ton of new games I haven’t played as much otherwise it would still be my number one game. That being said it is still in my top ten games of all time. This is one of the best cooperative games out there. Some cooperative games just consist of working towards a shared goal without much other interaction. Pandemic requires full participation and discussion. If players aren’t talking to one another, working as a team, and working cohesively they will lose.
I don’t know what more I can say about this game, it is a must play game. If you never play another game, make sure you have at least played Pandemic.
For the parents:
Drinking or Drugs: You are curing diseases, but the drugs and diseases themselves are not a very visible parts of the game.
Horror/Occult: The only horror is the prospect of losing horribly and having not stopped an apocalyptic plague.