Top critical review
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A glass, er, I mean test tube half empty.
on February 23, 2016
Pandemic constantly tops everyone's lists as the best game ever, and I suppose I can see why. It's a game that comes from Matt Leacock, who churns out some great titles, including a favorite of mine, Forbidden Island. This game has gotten a lot of expansions, and Pandemic: Legacy is currently #1 at BoardGameGeek.com. Surely, when I got my copy, I'll have a blast with it like everyone else, right?
Sadly....no. I am very sorry to say that despite the hype, I only have a so-so opinion of Pandemic. Let me explain why.
This game has a lot of similarities with Forbidden Island. Down to the mechanics are basically the same. However, I felt that Forbidden Island improves on said mechanics, especially when it comes to what I personally believe is severely flawed in Pandemic - the Exchange System. In FI, you can exchange your gear once you meet a teammate. In Pandemic, you can only exchange a City Card with a certain player once the both of you are in said city. This greatly hampers efforts to put, say, 5 cards into a player who may be in a great position to cure the Blue Disease Cubes, because unless the Co-Ordinator is there, you have to wait until his turn to meet you in another city to take your resource. I often ignore this and depend on what I draw, because it's easier.
I can forgive that, however, if beating the game didn't feel like such a disappointing anti-climax. In FI, you are desperately running towards a helicopter, the island crumbling and sinking around you. When you make it, you feel awesome. Like you've accomplished something. When you cure the last disease in Pandemic, it's like "Boop. Well, that's it." Really? I had to play this over and over again just to see if I was missing out anything, because I could not believe the game could have ended that easily, on such a 'Meh' note.
I have played this game with kids and adults from my group. The reactions were mixed. Some liked the game, others felt completely bored out of their minds.
I should point out that I'm an open minded guy, and I can deal with people liking this game for what it is. But if you want my personal opinion, I think Forbidden Island/Desert is a much more worthwhile series to invest in. Now granted, there ARE expansions to Pandemic, and to its credit, is a beautiful game (well, with the exception of the pieces, which oddly has three shades of green.) I honestly don't feel thrilled playing this game. The experience was only a shoulder shrug from my end. If you want to get it, go ahead. But don't use it as a gateway game.