Pandemic Game!

Name: Pandemic game

Number of players: between 2 and 4

Recommended ages: 10 and over


The Pandemic game, created in 2008, is one of suspense and keeps you on the edge of your seat for at least an hour, as you use teamwork and strategy to save the world from fatal diseases. It has received 16 local and international awards, including Game of the Year in 2008, and consumer reviews give it four and a half out of five stars.

The Story

When playing this game you are not a player but a specialist in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta that witnesses a number of viruses concurrently break out across the globe. You are not playing to win the Pandemic game as an individual; instead, you are on a team with the other “specialists” and your goal is to save the Earth from a massive outbreak of deadly diseases. While searching for a cure for each of the four diseases, you must also treat hot spots to prevent the viruses from spreading.

The Plan

Although the specialists work as a team, each player must still plan their individual strategy, utilizing the strength of their character to prevent the disease from taking over the world. For instance, as an Operations Expert, you have the ability to create research sites so that the Scientist might develop cures for the plagues. A Scientist can cure one specific disease with just four cards, whereas the other specialists need five cards but all the players must work together since time is of the essence. If the disease spreads faster than you can cure it, everyone loses; but if you succeed, than you all win.

The Game

The Pandemic game has many pieces aside from the folding board and eight-page rulebook as it includes:

  • Five Wooden Pawns
  • Six Wooden Research Stations
  • 24 Disease Cubes for each disease color: red, blue, black, and yellow
  • Five Role Cards
  • Six Markers: one for infection rate, one for outbreaks, and four for cures
  • 48 Infection Cards
  • Four Reference Cards
  • 59 Player Cards: five for special events, six for epidemics, and 48 for the city’s

Each piece of the game is vital in determining whether you win or lose. The board displays areas of large populations across the globe and on each turn, a player can create, find, travel, or cure these regions. If they are unlucky, they may even pick a card that causes the epidemic.

How to Play

Players of the Pandemic game must decide which specialist they want to be as they can take on the role of a medic, dispatcher, scientist, operations expert, or researcher.

  • The player cards are distributed as per the rulebook and kept face up during the game
  • The infection cards are also drawn at the start of the game to populate the cities with a disease.
  • During your turn, you have the option of
    • Moving
    • Sharing information with another player in the same city as you
    • Building a research facility
    • Treating a single infectious unit
    • Finding a cure
  • At the end of your turn, you draw two player cards and reveal infection cards.

The game ends if you run out of cubes of a disease color and they are needed; if there are no more player cards; or if the number of outbreaks exceeds seven. In all of these scenarios, the game ends with a loss for the players, as the only way you can all win is if you discover cures for all four of the diseases and save the world.

Final Thoughts

The Pandemic game is exciting and encourages teamwork. This game doesn’t have a stale premise but is predicated upon events that could occur in the world today. With all of the talk in the news today about the bird/pig flu, players are sure to find the subject interesting.

Remember to have fun!

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Return from the Pandemic Game
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