Critical Play: Pandemic

I played Pandemic with a group of 4 and I overall had a great time. I had a great time since most of the board games I’ve played are competitive, so this collaborative format was refreshing to see.

Formal Elements


Pandemic can be played with 2-4 players, but the game distinguishes players with the use of role cards. Role cards give users special abilities that help them play a specific role for the team.



Players are trying to find cures to diseases before the outbreaks spread too fast. This is done by traveling around the world to develop research centers, gather resources, and research for cures.



The initial state of the game is randomized through 9 cards that show the initially infected cities. Then players take turns taking 4 actions which include things like moving to a new city, giving city cards to other players if possible, or building research facilities. After players have completed their actions, they will draw additional cities cards which they can use to find a cure or to travel directly to that city. They will also draw additional cards to indicate where the next infections are. This creates tension as they are constantly new places that need to be cured.



The main resources are cities cards which help players develop cures if they have 5 of the same color. Another option is to use these cards to travel directly to them on the map which would be helpful if the city is currently heavily infected. Other resources may include action cards that give players more options during their action phase.



The main conflict is the pandemic itself where if players allow too many outbreaks to happen then they lose the game. This forces players to work together and have to make tough decisions of what needs to be accomplished first and what needs to be sacrificed.



The legacy edition provides more of an experience spin to the pandemic game. This is shown through a narrative use of the rules cards as new rules introduced with the use of more cards instead of a game rulebook. This mimics how it may take place in real life such as COIVD 19 since we are also taking one step at a time in terms of figuring out how to beat the pandemic. This keeps players on their toes in terms of what can happen next. The overall procedure is also different from the original game since in the Legacy version more information is revealed as the game progresses in secret boxes and doors. Compared to the original, this keeps the game refreshing as their a novelty to always see something new throughout the game instead of having all the mechanics laid out from the beginning. This is further strengthened by the fact that users have to rip cards and place stickers instead of simplifying drawing cards. Overall I thought legacy included a lot of cool features that did a great job of enhancing the overall game experience.

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.