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4.8 out of 5 stars301
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 May 2013
Pandemic is a co-operative strategy game in which the players - taking the roles of specialists - must fight to control four diseases spreading across the planet. Each turn a player may move their pawn, swap cards with other players or cure diseases. At the end of each turn the players flip over epidemic cards which dictate how the diseases spread and where. As these cards are random, you never quite know where the diseases are going to be and you should always make sure you have a strategy on hand just in case things start to go pear shaped.

The rules and play have been covered extensively by other reviewers, so I won't go too indepth. The game lasts for roughly an hour. Gameplay can often feel tense - more often than not you feel as if the game is one step ahead of you, and as the diseases begin to grow and spiral out of control you can feel feel the heat. If you don't manage to get it under control before there are so many outbreaks, you will lose the game.

I've played this game with different groups, and despite it's popularity it's been pretty hit and miss with some folk. Some people can't get over the presentation or theme. There's a bigger reason why those people didn't enjoy it, and why I hated my first game:

Co-operative games like these can sometimes suffer from someone taking the lead. If there's one player who has played the game quite extensively, it can suffer from that person telling inexperienced players what they should do. Having someone else telling you how to take your turn is dull and ruined my first set of games, but luckily there's a rule within the game that states that players should not reveal the contents of their hands to one another. This keeps things fairly social and forces players to talk to one another whilst playing.

The only other whinge I have is that sometimes the game seems to be a cakewalk. This comes down to luck of the draw and what characters you get at the start of the game. Sometimes you know if you're going to have an easy time depending on the characters you're dealt.

If you're already this far into the reviews, then you must think that you might enjoy the game in some form. As long as you like strategic games, you can't go wrong and you should definitely give it a whirl. I've yet to get my missus to enjoy it though, so we quite often just play Lord of the Rings instead!
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on 12 April 2014
This game is great and really great fun and easy to get everyone into the theme of 'saving the world'. With this version though the board is thin and of very poor quality and some of the plastic counters are poorly cut with chips on the corners. Get this game and if you like it I'd suggest replacing some of the components.
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VINE VOICEon 23 December 2013
Bought this game after watching it played on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop and have been very pleased to add this to my stack, prior to this game I had not owned a truly co-operative game and to be honest I am not sure I will find another to beat it.

First off the quality of the board and pieces is top notch, the look and feel is lovely and having played it a fair few times now no sign of wear and tear has appeared on any of the pieces or cards.

The game mechanics are simple to understand and each player has access to a card that gives a quick run down of the basic turns rules/actions on a general level as well as any character specific rules on their cards. This neatly means once you've played it a couple of times you don't need to refer back to the manual. Which is nice.

The game has one way to win, which is curing every disease, but many ways to lose which means even when you're a seasoned player and think you've worked out a solid strategy how to win you can be blindsided and lose. The difficulty level of the game can be altered as well using the number of Epidemic cards which is a nice touch so that you can gradually increase the challenge. Also the different player roles make each game different as skills you may have relied on previous games are now unavailable - the random selection process ensures people are forced out of their comfort zone which adds to the variety of the games.

All in all this is a brilliant game to bring people together, especially in a regular group of gamers who spend their time working out ways to screw each other in a desperate attempt to win, you won't be disappointed to spend an hour playing this.
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on 20 November 2014
This is soooo much fun.I have only played this game twice but it was so much fun. I lost twice and i still have tons of fun playing it. chasing around the world trying to stop the diseases from breaking out. Just when you think you have everything under control the epidemic card comes up and everything goes from bad to worse to flipping bloody hell everyone is dying RUN RUN RUN!!!
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on 19 January 2015
A great game. More adult than Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, but similar concept. Very tense as the different outbreaks of disease threaten to overwhelm the team, and as time runs out on trying to find the 4 cures. The ability to adopt different roles with different special abilities adds variety to avoid games becoming too similar. My 8 and 10 year olds love it. I like the ability to increase the challenge by adding in more epidemic cards, but it is quite tough even at the 'easy' setting. As others will have said, it works great as a game (and as an introduction to the benefits and challenges in teamwork) so long as you don't have an alpha male dominating decision making and 'ordering' other (perhaps younger) players around.
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on 28 March 2016
This co-operative strategy game stands out as a family favourite in my house.

Although directed at 10 years plus, my nine year old loves playing this with us and I'd dare to say the whole family have improved their geography skills with this map-based game. There were definitely some shameful moments when I had to pick up the blocks slowly to give me enough time to scan the board to find one of the cities. The stand-out feature of this game is that it is a collaborative game, meaning all players work on the same team to "beat the board". This means that even when the more competitive members of my family enter "beast mode", their competitiveness is directed at the evil diseases sweeping across the globe, rather than at each other!

The very nature of collaborative games has its own challenges, as dominant players can end up dictating what everyone else does. Particularly when teaching new people how to play, I've found myself telling them what the smart move is and then realising I need to "pipe down" and let them learn! However, on its better days, players learn to listen to each other and use their own skills. This is the kind of game that brings the best out of my family and when we win, the cheesy high-fives and cheering makes it worthwhile.

My personal preference is to play this with three or four players, as with two players, it feels a little less balanced. However, that's just a personal preference and it's perfectly playable with two people. It does take anything between 40 minutes to an hour for an average game, and almost always ends as a close game. Either a narrow win or a frustrating end where we have the obligatory "if only we had one more round" discussion.

My best compliment to this game is that we have a huge toy chest filled with board games and this sits right near the top. Just under Settlers of Catan!
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on 11 January 2015
My brother received this game as a present for Christmas and I did not buy it but as we both love board games, I am leaving a review. We play all sorts of games e.g. Carcassonne, Sequence, Ticket to Ride Europe, Navegador, Dixit, your simple card games and more!

This is probably the first co-operative board game I have played and I usually like competitive games but this is by far my favourite game! The aim of this co-operative strategy game is to save the world from pandemics! You can set the difficulty of the game by choosing how many pandemics there will be. I find this makes it quite addictive as you can lose yet be so close to winning – so then you want to try again and win! We often play with 4/5 pandemic cards, which can be challenging but so much fun (especially when you beat it!) and I don’t think we have ever won with the full 6 pandemic cards in play! Not yet anyway…
This game is for 2-4 players and I know there aren’t many good 2 player games out there but Pandemic is fantastic regardless of how many players. In one respect, it does get easier the more players due to each player having special abilities. Certain abilities are better than others!

I haven’t played with any of the expansions but I would like to try them in the future! The game does not need the expansion.
During play of the game, players take turns to make moves which include curing one cube of disease, moving to a nearby connected country or swap cards. The Country cards are turned over and those countries are given a disease cube. The country cards that have come up are shuffled and placed back on top of the country cards after a Pandemic so that they are likely to come up again and cause a country with 3 disease cubes to outbreak and infect all the connected countries too! This is what often makes us lose the game but knowing this, it allows you to think ahead and have a strategy. Your strategy might have to change as every game is different (different special characters, different infected countries, etc.)

Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this game!
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on 17 October 2014
Pandemic is the best board game I've played for years. To quote Wil Wheaton, "I've had more fun losing this game than winning a lot of others." It is meant for 2-4 players and is played co-op, but the nature of the 'players v game' design, means you can play it single player and you have to make all the key decisions. It's not as much fun on your own but it means you can play a game without having to guarantee the attendance of family and friends.

The pieces are well made and the 2013 edition looks cleaner and slicker than the original version. Delivery was slow because i went for the cheapest delivery option, but it was worth the wait.
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on 19 March 2013
This is the re-printed, restyled and updated version of Pandemic - a game where everyone has to cooperate to win (or lose) together

From the 2008 Edition (and near identical 2012 reprint) there a few changes to components and artwork, plus 2 new player characters, but other than that game play is pretty much the same as before. The 2008 Edition has a more old fashioned feel (that some people like) but this is bit more modern and a little bit more interesting visually (imo). Owners of the original don't have much reason to update (in my view)

Basically you have to work together to save the world. Every game plays differently and every game is challenging, you wont beat it first time. Play is fairly low on luck so you have to be thinking and planning from the start. I really don't know what else to say, it is about THE best co-op game out there.

Component quality is reasonable but not outstanding. A lot of plastic components (all 96 disease markers, look funky though) but decent quality board and cards - pretty much what to expect from a modern Z-Man made game. I don't like the colouring of the player markers (there are 3 that are a different shade of "greenish" and the orange Medic card has a red player marker) and the unpainted Research Stations (why aren't they painted I wonder?). The Blue colour infection cards are more like purple too, which is slightly annoying if you are sensitive to such things. For those concerned about rumours of faulty boards (the first print run had missing link between Sao Paulo & Lagos) we got our copy from Amazon in early March 2013 and had no issues. If you do have a faulty board email Z-Man and they should send out a new one

If you have only ever played "traditional" board games like Cluedo you really should try Pandemic, though if you are just starting out in the modern co-op genre then Forbidden Island is a little less challenging (and more family friendly, F.I. plays well with younger players from 6 or 7)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 January 2016
This is an excellent co-op strategy tabletop game, where you fight to control diseases that are spreading across the planet - the pandemic. Epidemic cards control where the diseases spread, and there is a lot of random variety here that can really change the outcome of a game quite suddenly. I wanted a game that I could play just hubbie and I over Christmas that wouldn't be massively impaired by having only two players. A lot of tabletop games really lack depth with just two. I think that this game has enough complexity that it does work well with two players, although if a third or fourth were available, it'd add a bit more depth. Like most games, I think the first few were a bit of a struggle but once you've all figured out the rules it really becomes quite challenging - but never drags on too long either, an hour to 90 minutes tops. Highly recommend it.
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