Sunday, February 19, 2012


Last night, we took a break from the Red Tide Labyrinth Lord campaign to play the cooperative boardgame Pandemic. This was one of my Christmas gifts from my lovely wife, but we'd not had a chance to play it yet. The premise of the game is that the players are all members of the CDC working to control the outbreak of multiple diseases across the globe before they become so virulent that nothing can be done to contain them.

Since we'd already played Forbidden Island, a cooperative game by the same designer, we were fairly familiar with the basic rules and approach of Pandemic. There are some differences, of course, chief among them being that Pandemic is a more difficult game to beat, since it's designed for older players. Likewise, when we played our first game, I misread the setup instructions and wound up using the "heroic" (i.e., hardest) rules rather than the introductory ones. Needless to say, we lost.

But it was a fun game nonetheless. Like Forbidden Island, it's not a game where you can afford to be lax. Players must quickly adopt an aggressive and proactive play style or else the multiple plagues will overwhelm you. That's a lesson we didn't apply, so, even if I hadn't flubbed the setup as I did, I doubt we'd have won the game, though it might have taken longer for us to lose than it did. I hope to play it again in the future, since it looks like it'll be quite a challenge.


  1. Sounds cool! Kudos to you that you can get your gaming group to switch off to board games. I think we're going to play Outdoor Survival soon. Looking forward to that.

  2. Love this game. The On the Brink expansion adds all kinds of goodies to the base game, Virulent Strain and the Mutation being my favorites. Definitely increases the toughness level. It also comes with nice little petri dishes to store the cubes!

  3. It's a very enjoyable game indeed, and it can be beaten easily enough with the basic rules, if everyone puts in the effort. We have played this game, with the expansion rules, quite a lot, and it's always a nice game, with the added bonus of being a coop game, a nice change from the usual feel.

  4. I had the opposite discovery experience, having played Pandemic first & then Forbidden Island. Both are great (and related) games though since Pandemic is definitely harder Forbidden Island was quite refreshing. We've never beat Pandemic yet in about 6 tries but you know it's a great game when each time you lose it just makes you want to play it more.

  5. I love this game and it is beatable with strategy. One group I boardgame with have about a 50% success ratio, but with another we MIGHT be at 33%. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Pandemic is a family favorite at the Desert Rat household, partly because of the cooperative nature, but mostly because we can squeeze in two or three games in an evening.

    It's quite beatable with a group of players who know what they're doing with the basic rules. The more expert rules make it tougher, and some of the On The Brink options make it well nigh unbeatable.

    Great game, easily one of my three or four favorites as a board game.

    I'll have to check out Forbidden Island, which I've not ever seen.

  7. I'm a big fan of Pandemic as well. I really enjoy cooperative games, and like the different abilities each player has, and the interplay between them.

  8. That board looks a lot like Risk. I'm sure that's not a coincidence.

    1. Only to the extent that it's an abstract representation of the Earth. Believe me, it plays nothing like it.

  9. There's a flash based game online called Pandemic. The sequel is notorious for being difficult to beat because Madagascar is so hard clean up the virus. It has inspired an internet meme.