What do you do when the world is falling apart as you speak? What do you do when millions are dying of sickness, and nobody has a cure? What do you do when the very human race is on the brink of extinction??????!!!!!!
You play Pandemic!!
Pandemic is an awesome game (one of my favorites), and is an exciting, fast paced game that requires an intelligent mind, quick thinking, a ton of strategy, and luck. Did I mention luck? In Pandemic, players work with each other against the board, like castle panic. The gameplay is also a bit like castle panic, where you try to defend a certain cause against outside forces that the game creates. There are four difficulties to play on, making the game available for all skill levels. The first one is easy. Easy provides a light challenge that is not particularly hard to succeed in, but still provides great gameplay, and a lot of fun. The second mode is medium. Medium is fairly challenging (despite the name), but not so much that the game becomes annoying or boring. This level is recommended by myself. The third mode is hard. Hard is very hard (hence the name) and is only recommended for talented gamers who can figure out a lot of strategy and fine logical solutions to beat the odds. You will need a pile of luck to come out on top for this one. The final level to play on is extreme. I have never played this mode before, but I have played hard, and if this is any more difficult than that, then it is NOT RECOMMENDED. This mode may become boring or annoying due to massive hardness, and even the most SKILLED players will need all the luck they can get to defeat the sickness. Maybe the more daring could try this mode out. Back to the game though. As you can see, the many modes of difficulty can make this game very flexible, suited for almost any gamer. The gameplay makes this one of my most loved games, too! First, lets explain the game board. The game board is basically the map of the world, with major cities marked with various colors and blue lines connecting some to others. In the bottom left corner there is a meter labelled “outbreaks”. If the meter ever reaches the bottom to where the skull is, you lose. In the bottom center there is a small diagram with different colors. This determines which sicknesses you have cured, which you have not, and which you have eliminated. Next to this is the draw pile and the discard pile of cards. At the top right there is another draw pile and discard pile, but this time for infection cards. Below that is a meter showing the rate at which the sickness spreads. To start the game, each player will randomly pick a role card from the selection. There are five roles, and each one has a different ability, which is stated on the card. The roles are medic, scientist, researcher, etc, whatever has to do with disease and all that. (I find the medic particularly useful). After you have picked the roles, you will start the sickness (awww!!). To start, you will draw cards from the infection card pile. For the first 3 or 4, you must place 3 cubes (these will come with the game) of the same color as the city on that city. For the next 3 or 4, you will place only two cubes. For the final 3 or 4, you will place one cube. These cubes represent the sickness. There are 4 sicknesses. The black, the Yellow, The blue, and the red. Each one is in a different area of the board. If a city EVER reaches four cubes, then you keep 3 cubes on the city, but place a cube on every city around it. This is an outbreak! Move your chip on the outbreak meter one down (remember, too many outbreaks, world goes bye-bye). Not only do these make you lose, they lessen your performance with more cubes on the outer areas. (Note: These can cause chain reactions). There are ways to remove cubes though, which will be covered soon. The second thing that needs to be covered is research centers. You start the game with one, placed right where all players begin the game, in the blue area. Research centers are areas to perform many different actions with better results. You can move to a research station by discarding a card with an action, and you can also cure diseases at centers. They are very useful (there is a role that has the ability to build other research centers too!). Now, this is all fine and dandy, but how do you win? To win Pandemic, you have to cure every color of disease. To cure a disease, you must go to a research center and discard five cards of the same color. That disease will then be cured. (with the exception of the scientist, who only needs 4 cards). Now we move on to the actions, and what you do on your turn. There are many different methods of moving around, that use action points and cards. The first phase of a turn is the action phase, where you do everything. You get four action points to spend. This means, in theory, that you can do 4 things per turn. Moving will cost 1 action point, no matter what you do. The first and easiest method of moving is you can move your pawn along the blue lines from city to city. Each city you pass is one action point. You may also discard a card to move directly to that area for 1 action point. You can discard a card to move to any research center on the board, too! Remember you can move from the left side to the right side going off the board, and vice versa. (there is one role that allows you to use actions to move somebody else’s pawn instead of yours). But with action points you can do much more than move. You can also do the following. If you are at a research center, you may cure a disease for one action. Also, the most important action, you may remove cubes. If you are at a city with cubes on it, you may remove 1 per action point. (the medic however can remove all cubes with one action point). This is useful in keeping the sickness at a minimal spread. Many of the roles can do other things for action points, and there are a few other less important actions that can be made, which are explained on the actions description card that comes with the game. there are many actions to be done, and you only get 4 points. Spend them wisely!!! But after the action phase, your turn is far from over. After actions, you draw two cards from the regular draw pile, and take them into your hand. Then, you draw a number of infection cards (the number listed below the infection draw pile). You must put 1 cube on each city you draw. Now we move on to explain the REGULAR card deck. First and foremost, if a player is EVER unable to draw enough cards for their turn (i.e. the deck runs out), then you immediately lose the game. Harsh right? Also, city cards aren’t the only ones in the deck. There are also helpful special event cards to be drawn. When these are activated, they help you in some way, depending on what the card is. Then, there are the deadly EPIDEMIC CARDS!!!! These fatal cards are how the game bites back, striking when you least expect it! For every epidemic card, you must do the following. You must (this is the worst) take the discard pile, shuffle it, and plop it on top of the infection deck. This results in multiple of the same card, and more outbreaks! The next thing you do is move the rate of infection counter up one on the track. The higher it goes, the more infection cards you draw! The third and final thing you do is take the three bottom cards from the infection deck, and infect each of the cities listed with THREE cubes, and then put the cards back in the deck. These are all of the rules of Pandemic, it is a very exciting game with a lot of depth and content, and much strategy involved. I hope I didn’t bore you do death (this review was particularly long) and I hope I inspired you to play Pandemic! It is a sweet game, definately worth a try! Happy gaming everyone!