Zombie outbreaks have been a big craze lately with a lot of popular television shows and books jumping on the bandwagon. However the theme of a deadly virus taking over and a group of survivors trying to live isn’t just a new topic. Games have been using this idea for a long time, and a perfect example is the game called Pandemic.
In Pandemic you and a group of friends play as a team of medics trying to stop the spread of four different viruses from breaking out across the world. You and your group must travel across the world trying to find more information about the disease so you can make a cure and stop the outbreak. Each turn however, the four diseases have a chance to spread and pop up in different parts of the world, this in turn causes the players to balance between trying to find more information, trading information with other players, and traveling around the world to stop the outbreak from causing massive casualties.
The gameplay itself is a little confusing on the start up, however it really starts to pick up once everyone knows the rules. To start off players begin by revealing three cards from the top of a deck called the infection deck. This deck contains the names of random cities so the starting location of the four different viruses are always different. Then each player starts at the research lab located in Atlanta. During each turn, the player whose turn it is must carry out four actions; this can be to move four times, but other possibilities are to cure a virus, trade information, build an additional research lab, or find a cure for a virus. So you could move two times, cure a virus, and trade information or you could just move four times. This variance in moves allows for a wide combination of actions and keeps the game interesting. After they are done with their actions, they draw two cards from the top of the player deck and a number of cards from the infection deck. The player deck contains information for finding cures to the viruses, special actions to help the players, and finally the epidemic card which causes the viruses to spread at a faster rate.
There are smaller complications and rules to the game, but these are the basics. This constant spread of the viruses makes for an intense game of catch up, with players trying to balance their options between curing the viruses or trying to gather more information and find cures. This balance of options is what makes the game thrilling and strategic, and not boring and effortless. It will cause you and your friends to constantly be discussing the best course of action and how to deal with random factors that might pop up.
Pandemic is fun, exciting, and unique with each game played. It’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.