Pandemic On The Brink
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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2009
Pandemic is one of those games that defies logic. First, it's one of the few purely co-operative games out there, with no one even designated as a traitor later on. Second, it actually gets harder the more people you play with, not easier. After several breezy sessions with just my girlfriend and I, we proceeded to get spanked when we tried it four-player. It was a blast to try and beat this game, as it's always a challenge, and winning is usually done by the skin of one's teeth. With the release of the expansion, you have a variety of new smaller scenarios you can add individually, or you can group them together in interesting combos to make the challenge even more difficult. I have still never even tried this game on heroic because it's so difficult, and now there are even harder challenges to face with a disease that acts completely unpredictably, a fourth deadly disease thrown into the mix, and possibly even a bio-terrorist on the loose (which adds a little competitiveness into the game). On top of that, the makers includes some petri dishes for storage containers, which is a wonderful idea for storing containers, and it really makes the game look sharp! Also, even though it was never a huge problem, they included a set of smaller player pieces to allow for boards often crowded with disease. Z-Man games really cares about making quality games with excellently-made components. I highly recommend this to anyone who has the base game, and if you don't have the base game, stop your life right now and order it!
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118 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2008
Pandemic is the sort of rare game that appeals both to geeks and to people who like party games. It's relatively lightweight as boardgames go--each player has four moves, and the rules for them are relatively simple. Yet there is a lot of probabilistic strategizing to be done by the folks of that nature.

The game itself is relatively tough. The diseases -- the board -- wins about half the time in my group, and often in very mean and surprising ways. This makes it all the more fun when we win.
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80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2013
Warning - this On the Brink expansion is not compatible with the updated version of Pandemic - 2nd Edition. They have changed the art on the back of the cards which prevents integration. A new version of On the Brink is to be released to match the new Pandemic. Hold out if you have the Second Edition of Pandemic.
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78 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2008
Fun game with that unique cooperative element. Teen aged girls loved it as did I, the 40 year old dad. It is a tough game to win, but the level of tension created by the game is quite excellent. Of the half dozen or so games we have played, only one ended where we were just so overwhelmed and lost without even feeling like we had a chance to win. All the other games, the whole table felt like we had a shot at winning and things kept flipping momentum. In a nutshell, good fun.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2008
Every few years a game comes up with an original theme and an original mechanism, rather than just rehashing old ideas. Sometimes however the range at which this game plays well is less than the range that it states it can handle. This game does not have that problem.

This game manages to incorporate and original and interesting theme and mechanism, while playing well (if a little differently) with the entire range of number of players (1-5). While the originality gives this game some extra appeal with the more experienced gamer, the co-operative nature of this game makes it more appealing to the casual player too, who might be less interested in the standard, confrontational game, or a parent looking for a game to play with an older child that would hold their interest.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
Pandemic is not an easy game. My wife and I beat it maybe, 50% of the time when it's just the two of us, less when there's more people (and that's when never more than 5 epidemics). On the Brink takes a hard game and then lights it on fire, gives it steroids and grants it evil super powers. Seriously, the extra challenges in On the Brink will blow your mind and make you love the game even more. All the new (and updated) roll cards in this will enhance even vanilla play of the game. This expansion pack is well thought out, well crafted and, as a final bonus, includes petri dishes for storage of game pieces. Seriously, it's classy.

If you liked Pandemic, you'll love On the Brink
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
With those words, we knew we were in for an interesting night. I had done plenty of personal research before taking a bite out of boardgaming. As a confessed die-hard video gamer, and a vicious competitor, board games never did it for me. The heads-up multiplayer cutthroat style always left me a little wanting for something either more fun or at the very least, "less competitive." Pandemic, billed as a fully cooperative game, seemed to fit the bill.

The rules came neatly printed on an 8 page full color pamphlet. Setting up the game required some careful reading, but was relatively painless. With a couple of well shuffled decks, the original "disease cubes" in place, our intrepid two man team set out to save the world.

Like most turn based games, there's a lot of cross-talk and strategy that goes into each move. Once the general concepts were grasped, however, board movement and action selection were very swift. The mechanics of the game do a wonderful job of creating tension. Epidemics -- the critical event that drives the threat and tension of Pandemic -- come at fairly pre-set times. Once an Epidemic hits, all of the disease cards that were played to that point get reshuffled and go back on top of the deck. This immediately creates rising tension, as you know what's going to happen, and do your best, as a team, to stop it.

Even with only two players, not enough can be said about the cooperative element. Every character can, in some way, feel essential to the core game and makes each player feel special -- that they have a direct ability to contribute. While my friend was handling strategy and deployment, I was hustling around the world curing cities to stop future outbreaks. You're always keeping one step ahead of the next outbreak -- when a disease hits critical mass in a city and then spreads the infection to surrounding cities.

After an hour (given that the first fifteen minutes were spent making sure we knew what was going on, the target time for experienced gamers is dead on) we had everything under control. We had eradicated both the 'blue' and 'yellow' strains, and noticed immediately the in-game reward -- once you eradicate a disease, no new cubes of that type may be played, which limits the threat you face, and those cards remain in the deck. It gives you a little breathing room. That left us with the Black and Red strains, and we had found the cure for the black strain.

Then, we reshuffled the player deck, but didn't redistribute the Epidemic cards in the correct order. Drawing two epidemics back to back, all of India immediately succumbed to the strain, and collapsed under a pile of black cubes. Despite having lost out first attempt, probably to a rules bit that we couldn't find -- no where did we see how to 'reshuffle' the player deck -- the game was remarkably fun and engaging.

It is easy to learn, there are no heavy nuances to master, but little intracies that will make you more successful as you go on. Please review the rules carefully, to avoid common pitfalls, and know that you may not win, but you will have a pretty great time. If I were to give one piece of advice:

* Remember to populate the board fully with disease counters,
* That you only draw AFTER your turn, and
* Remember to always take an Infection Phase

Well worth the purchase.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
Pandemic is fantastic family fun!
It's a cooperative board game that has everyone trying to beat the game - you either all win or all lose. With only 1 way to win and multiple ways to lose - it sure keep you on your toes.

And as you can see from our video review - our 6 yr old can understand and play right along with the rest of the family.

But be careful, because it's addicting too. When you lose, you'll just want to start all over again. And when you win, you'll want to increase the difficulty level and try again. Of course, we have yet to win on the highest difficulty level.

Pandemic immediately earned a spot as one of our top 10 family games.

You can also read more about our impressions on our family game review site TheBoardGameFamily.
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83 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2010
I purchased this game based on the excellent reviews it has garnered on amazon, and was unfortunately somewhat let down. Don't get me wrong, it's somewhat fun to play, and very unique in that everyone is working together on the same team, but once you realize that its more of a puzzle than a game, everything feels extremely limiting. What I mean by this is that you have to take into account that when you've set up the game, depending on how the deck is shuffled, you may or may not be able to finish ("win") the game, even if you make all the right moves. Let me rephrase this:

****** like Solitaire, skill alone is not enough win this game, the deck HAS to be shuffled such that the game is finishable, and you'll have no way of knowing this til the game is over ******

I found this aspect of Pandemic to be extremely frustrating, and any game affcionado would probably do well to take this into account when considering a purchase. That being said, it is still a fun concept, and with a little tweaking of the rules, could probably be made to be a lot of fun to play. As for me, I put my copy of this on ebay and haven't looked back.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2010
The origonal game had kind of lost the challenge, it was easy to beat and even with max epidemics we were trouncing it a good 80% of the time.

The expansion gives you new tools, and challenges, the virulent strain, along with the ability to have random effects on the epidemics changes the game considerable. Mutations and Bio Terrorist also add fun twists.

If you've already "solved" the origonal game buy the expansion and see if you can keep up with the new challenges.
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