Pandemic Board Game Review

The Board Game Box

8/10 by The Board Game Box

Buy Now from 365games.co.uk.

Overview

There are those that believe Marijuana is a 'gateway' drug; one that enables the user an accessible route into harder, more dangerous drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth. The ease with which one can pick up weed and smoke it without needing any complicated paraphernalia makes it the one thing that almost all have at some time tried and some of those have liked. Now, far be it from me to compare board games to drugs but in this case, the comparison seems apt as Pandemic is for many a gateway into the world of board games that exist outside of the realm of those dull and boring gaming experiences that include Monopoly, Scrabble, Game Of Life and so on.

Pandemic was the first proper tabletop game that we bought and played. It was a Saturday evening and the experience lasted well past midnight over at least 5 plays of the game, as we tried desperately to grapple with the rules, the pieces, the cards, the diseases and everything else that Matt Leacock had mind-melded into his awesome gateway drug.

It was a lot of fun. Seriously. Fun as the act of playing and losing only stiffened our resolve and determination to play it again and beat the damn thing. As far as I can remember that first evening I don't think we won any of those five games; not least because it's really difficult but also because it is very hard trying to digest the rule book and play the game in one sitting.

Rules Understandability

Panedmic's rules are complicated in much the same way that candy floss is sticky and fun fairs are a rip-off. Most of the time when you come to sit down and play a board game most will already know the rules. You might have learnt to play Monopoly when really young round your grandma's house so by the time you are pulling out the battered box on boxing day, there's no problem with anyone not knowing what the hell is going on.

These new tabletop games have rules that are more extensive, more involved and more challenging to keep a hold of in your mind. You must juggle the plates of actually being involved playing the game, working out what is going on, how best to win whilst also trying to make sure that you don't break any rules at any point, jump from one city to another without the right city card in your hand. If we did win a game on that first outing it would have been because we flouted one of the many rules or simply missed something that would have otherwise stopped our relentless (cheating) progress to victory.

Gameplay

Having said all that, it is clear that the mark of a quality game is one where, once your brain has progressed all facets and paths the rules can take, the gameplay is actually completely obvious (more or less) and it becomes clear how and why one rule flows into another. No different I suppose to learning chess: you have a limited number of pieces but a seemingly unlimited number of ways to play them but that doesn't prevent you from actually moving your pawn to queen's 4.

There are a few pages of rules which are laid out in a somewhat disjointed manner but are clear for the most part and once you've played a couple of times it becomes easier to see where you might be going wrong.

The basic premise of the game is to eradicate 4 diseases which are slowly infecting and spreading through the major capitals and ultimately save the World. As players you take on the role of a particular member of the support team, like the EDC, to combat and cure the infections using your own character's skill.

Pandemic is a cooperative game and builds, quite slowly as the infection spread is fairly manageable. You travel about the board curing here curing there, building a research station or two. At some point during the first quarter of the play, there will be a major infection outbreak as an epidemic card is pulled from the deck. This triggers an epidemic in a city which can then start a chain reaction into neighbouring cities and all of a sudden what was once a fairly clean and healthy world is now awash with colourful disease cubes of virulent pestilence; spreading from place to place like an awful apocalyptic plague.

Summary

The Pandemic board game is great, no question. The board and playing pieces are nice to look at and feel good to the touch and the once you manage to beat the system and clear the world of these four terrible diseases you get a great sense of satisfaction, but remember to savour that moment because it probably won't happen very often.

And if you enjoy this original Pandemic board game why not try out the many other versions and board game expansions available like Pandemic Iberia, Pandemic Contagion, Pandemic Fall of Rome, Pandemic Legacy Season 1, Pandemic Legacy Season 2.

Pandemic cards

Pandemic board and pieces

More top board game review articles

Root board game UK reviews

Root Board Game UK Review

Root is a board game of adventure and war in which 2 to 4 (1 to 6 with the Riverfolk expansion) players battle for control of a vast wilderness. A fantastic Kickstarted board game which is liked almost universally.

Biblios board game review by The Board Game Box

Biblios Board Game Review

You are an abbot of a medieval monastery competing with other abbots to amass the greatest library of sacred books. Use dice and cards to build your library and become the best book person in the game.

The Castles of Burgundy board game review by The Board Game Box

Castles of Burgundy Board Game Review

The Castles of Burgundy is a board game for two to four players, set in Medieval Burgundy. It was designed by Stefan Feld and illustrated by Julien Delval and Harald Lieske, and was published in 2011 by Ravensburger.

The Catan board game review by The Board Game Box

Catan Board Game Review

Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be CATAN! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of CATAN: the race to settle the island has begun!

The Santorini board game review by The Board Game Box

Santorini Board Game Review

Santorini the board game is a highly thematic pure strategy experience featuring beautiful miniatures, game-altering player powers and 3D board. We have played it and we have reviewed it.

Our list of some of the best board games to give as gifts

Best Board Games To Give As Gifts

We thought we'd compile a quick list of the best board games to give as gifts either to a loved one, someone you hate or maybe just someone you met once whilst waiting for the last bus to Acton.

Our list of some of the best board games for 2 players

Best Board Games for 2 Players

We thought we'd compile a quick list of board games for 2 players so that you can have an insight into what you board games you might want to play with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or just the person sat opposite you in the coffee shop.

Top 10 Board Games For Families

Top 10 Board Games For Families

We take a look at some of the best board games that you can play as a family, whether it be during Thanksgiving or Christmas there's nothing better than playing a game as a family

Best board games for Halloween

What's the Best Halloween Board Game?

At the end of October, it is Halloween and we thought we'd take a look at some board games to play on your Halloween night to inspire horror and hauntings.

Read our Zombies!!! the board game review

Zombies!!! the Game Review

Pit your wits against the zombies hordes as you race through the derelict and broken city armed only with a shotgun and your wits to be the first player to get to that escape helicopter! Zombies!!! Zombies everywhere.

Read our Cards Against Humanity online board game review

Cards Against Humanity Online Review

Cards Against Humanity is an extremely difficult experience if you are playing with friends or family but aren't entirely comfortable expressing your inner most thoughts. Whilst most of the cards seem harmless and innocent, when they are placed together with other cards a whole host of vulgar, verbal word play happens.

Read our Pandemic board game review

Pandemic Board Game Review

A fantastic co-operative game for two to four players. As members of a disease control unit, you must keep four deadly diseases from spreading across the globe and ravaging the world. Find out more about this ultimate gateway drug into the ever expanding tabletop universe, jump down the rabbit hole.