Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Board Game: Pandemic

The game that should scare the bejeesus out of you, especially if you know any anti-vaxx idiots.

The Game: Pandemic
The Publisher: Z-Man Games
Time: 20-30 minutes
Players: Me, +Cheyenne Rae Grimes+John Mathys+Michelle Lyons-McFarland

Gameplay: You're all CDC workers! Four diseases (blue, yellow, black, red) have broken out across the world (North America/Europe, South America/Africa, Middle East, Asia). Every turn, you infect a few cities, but if a city has too many disease cubes, it outbreaks, spreading all adjacent cities (which can outbreak in response). Characters can move around the world, charter flights to cities (if they have the proper card), build research stations, treat diseases, and research cures. But it's a race against the clock.

If you run out of any kind of disease, if you run out of cards, if you have too many outbreaks, YOU LOSE. The disease spreads and kills millions. It is really easy to lose this game.

Winning requires curing all four diseases. Curing a disease requires getting five cards matching the disease's color and then getting to a research station. After that, if you remove all the cubes of that disease from the board, you eradicate it entirely, which is nice, but eradication usually wastes more time than it's worth.

Each character has a special ability, by the way. The Medic (nickname: Jesus) can cure a whole city for one action, rather than burning an action on each cube.

Opinions: I really enjoy this game. Like most co-op board games, there's a chance that one player who thinks he knows it all will try and run the table (which is why Cheyenne wasn't keen on it before), but with a group that recognizes what "cooperative" means, it works just fine. And it's hard. It's not like Forbidden Island where there are definite strategies that can work, a bad run of cards can just screw you. That said, it's a challenge I enjoy, the artwork is beautiful, and the little disease cubes are fun to play with.

We cured three diseases, and then lost to outbreaks. TWICE.

Keep? Yes.