In the Lab does not require On the Brink for the main component of the expansion, which is the lab board. ITL expands on some elements of OTB, but do not let that dissuade you from picking it up first.
What you can use with the base Pandemic game:
- 5 new roles (1 is an updated OTB role so you don't get a colored pawn for this but it's close to the liaison color)
- 3 new events
- the lab board and sequence cards
- 4 new shiny cure vials (the fifth is purple)
- the solo CDC role
- team gameplay including new research stations, goals, awards, etc.
What you cannot use:
- 2 new virulent strain cards
- 12 additional purple cubes
- 2 mutation cards
- the game box tray is designed to hold the petri dishes from OTB
As you can see the bulk of the expansion is fully compatible. Fully. I own the base Pandemic and ITL. I'm waiting for the October reprint of OTB and you can bet I'll have a copy ordered because it has great content as well. You do however, need the 2nd edition of Pandemic, or have purchased the compatibility pack from Z-man games if you have the first printing of the game.
ITL is a solid expansion and really adds depth and complexity to the game. Worth the purchase before, after, or without OTB...
Yes, it is compatibility, but not exactly. Only the backing of 6 optional cards will look different from the original game. You can buy card sleeves for your cards that costs like $1 or $2 and that would solve the problem. But if you don't care about the back of the cards, then it won't matter at all.
You can place everything from all of the previous expansion and core game. The only things that don't fit are the cure vials because the "In The Lab" has larger plastic vials that replace the small wooden tokens. I took photos and posted them so you should be able to see how I organized it all in one box. Go to the product page scroll down to view customer images.
It can, but the added friends is only capable by playing as teams. Since this kinda defeats the purpose of a cooperative board game, when we play with more people, We simply play with all the epidemic cards. This will make it very challenging, but also very fun. The problem with more players comes from the deck size. Too many people and suddenly the deck is gone, because of the number of cards drawn per round.