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on October 27, 2016
My wife and I have gradually gotten more into board games, because we're old and lame and that's ok. She's a bit ... competitive, however, so even playing a game like Settlers can put me on the edge of the seat a little bit if I'm winning. Some of you know what I'm talking about. Board games kept popping up in my Amazon recommendations, and I kept seeing this one (nice work, Amazon ad algorythms). Cooperative? Sounds good!

There went that Sunday. I even stopped watching football, BECAUSE CHILDREN ARE DYING IN ISTANBUL OR CONSTANTINOPLE. We played several games. We lost our first few, then kept winning. Our kids were annoying us with petty stuff like, "Daddy, I'm hungry" and "Mommy, my toe fell off" but sometimes you just have to tell your kids that now isn't a good time, because Daddy is building a research center and then has to fly to meet Mommy in Milan, and there is leftover ham in the refrigerator.

I do question whether the game will keep its challenge. We've won our only two games on the hardest difficulty, but it felt suspenseful and like we could have lost, so I think it'll still be fun to play. Regardless, we've already gotten our money's worth out of this game. I think my daughter (six) will be able to learn it now or shortly as well, which will be cool and we can monitor her toe situation better.
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on July 1, 2016
I was originally introduced to this game by a student of mine, who had been working with me on disease modeling. After reading some of the great reviews of the game, my wife and I decided to purchase it last year. We can't say enough how much we enjoy playing this game; it makes you think, and, more importantly, you have to work together!

My wife and I love playing board games, but some of our board games can get fairly competitive and, in some cases, can leave bad feelings afterward (we don't play trivia games anymore because of this!). If you've had these feelings, then Pandemic is the game for you: You don't compete against each other, but against the game board. This means, you can talk, you can share information, and you can strategize together openly. And, if you win, it's a strong sense of accomplishment; if you lose, you can always try again!

To the game itself: We love the quality of the pieces (sturdy plastic for the disease cubes and game pawns, well-made cards that have withstood numerous plays and shuffles, and a very sleek game board and box!), but we especially love that it's a different game every time. Each of you randomly selects your role, giving each of you a special ability that can help your team. You then randomly place disease cubes on the board, and then start trying to find cures. Sometimes, you get lucky, and you can discover cures quickly, but, other times, epidemic cards come up so quickly that you don't know what hit your team! Admittedly, the first few plays are slow, because there are a lot of rules to keep track of. But, after a few plays, you really get the hang of it, and, since you are working together, you can help each other learn the game. We've found that a typical game takes around 30-45 minutes, which is a good length of time.

Finally, I'll say that one other thing we really like about this game is you can adjust the difficulty: make it easier by putting in less epidemic cards or laying your hands on the table so everyone can see, or make it harder by adding in more epidemic cards and/or playing with expansion packs. Some other rule changes to make the game more challenging are included in the main rules.

The few complaints we have had about the game are that the game is only for 2-4 players (more requires an expansion pack), so, if your family or board game group is large, keep this in mind. Also, although the game is cooperative, it is hard! We're currently on a streak where we haven't won a game in weeks, but I'm hoping we'll save humanity soon enough!

Anyway, if you've been growing sick (he he he) of the "standard" board games, give this one a try. It was our first venture outside of "standard" board games, and Pandemic is why we now own Ticket to Ride and Forbidden Island, and are looking at Settlers of Catan. This coming from people who started out with Monopoly, Clue, and Life!
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Enthusiast: Board Gameson February 10, 2017
I love Pandemic. I originally picked it up because I got Pandemic Legacy for a very, very good price, and in the directions they tell you to play a few games of the original first to get your feet wet, so I bought it. This is probably one of my favorite games. I play anywhere from 1 to 4 players, while playing alone I'll play 2 rolls.

Be warned, you won't win. Out of 17 games, I have a 29% win ratio on it. The game normally wins, but that is part of the fun of the game, when you win as a team it feels more of a victory.

This is a co-op game, all players are on the same team and work together, and because of that, you can get the Alpha-Gamer in the group that tells you how things should be done, so just be aware of that. I've never had that occur, we all gives our onions and if needed vote.

It is highly recommended that you also pick up the Pandemic on The Brink Expansion Board Game (2nd Edition) with this copy. It adds nice storage, better rolls, smaller tokens, along with more ways to play. Even if you don't play the expansion what it does add to the main game is nice.
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on March 17, 2013
Pandemic is a rare board game in that (1) it is cooperative and (2) you can play with as few as two players. The cooperative aspect of the game is a great way to break up the monotony of some of the race to the finish/get the high score aspects of most other board games. Also, if your household is plagued with an overly competitive person who tends to ruin game night, Pandemic is a great game to encourage teamwork rather than an extended effort to beat your opponents into the ground (Risk and Monopoly are the two main culprits, in my mind). All players work together to cure four diseases that are constantly spreading across the globe. The game board is a map of the world, diseases are represented as plastic cubes of different colors, and each player is assigned a character. Each character has special abilities and many of the abilities complement each other. There are several ways to lose the game, but only one way to win. On a given player's turn, the player will move around the map, treat disease in different cities, build research centers (where diseases can be cured), and cure disease. The game, especially on higher difficulties, places players on the defensive rather than offensive. By that I mean that most of the game is spent containing the spread of the diseases rather than curing the diseases. I personally love the defensive aspect, as the team is always in jeopardy of losing, but some people I have played with felt the game was too much of a chore.

The game shines when you are playing with three or four players, in my opinion. You are never sitting around waiting for your turn, because on every turn the team debates about what the best moves are, what special abilities can be used to achieve the goal efficiently, and what problem areas need to be dealt with. Two players generally works very well, but if one of the players has a much higher skill level, the game turns into a solo affair where the less skilled player just follows instructions from the more skilled player. The game is not terribly complex, though if you are planning on playing with a child, I would say that a 10 year old could pick up on it. A more simplistic game with very similar rules is Forbidden Island, if you are looking for a cooperative board game but think Pandemic might be a tad too advanced.

Other reviews have mentioned the misprint on some of the boards. Mine did come with a misprint and I contacted Z Man Games via email for a replacement. It has been several days and I have not received a response. I will update this review once I follow up on my email. However, I could easily solve the problem by drawing in the missing connection, so even if customer service support turns out to be lacking, it is hardly a deal breaker for me.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to get this game, I find that watching the game in action is a much better way of deciding whether or not you want it than reading reviews. I would suggest checking out the web series Tabletop, which did an entire episode on this game.

UPDATE: Z Man Games sent me a replacement board about three and a half weeks after my initial email. Apparently, they aren't responding to emails, but they are replacing the boards. Just keep this in mind when you read other reviews bashing the customer service. It exists, and the response time is decent, though not great.
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on December 26, 2013
I purchased this as a Christmas gift for my fiancée's family, who enjoy playing board games together. So we played for the first time yesterday.

If you firmly believe that every game should have defined winners and losers, and if you're driven in your board game playing to be "better" than the other players, this game is not for you. Once you get past this concept of winners and losers, you have a game where everyone works together, there are no secrets between players or cards you have to keep hidden from everyone else; you save the world together, or die trying.

Pandemic's instructions are excellent. They provide clear step-by-step instructions for setup. When the game starts, Z-Man even includes four identical cards, simply as a reference, listing the various actions a person can take on his/her turn. Those cards were a godsend, and tells me that Z-Man "gets it" when it comes to board games. The fact that those questions of the first round or two of "What can I do?" could simply be answered by saying "Look at your card" surely saved a fair amount of explanation time.

At first glance the game looks complicated. And the game does go slow at first, as the game mechanics take a couple turns to grasp.

A couple turns later you begin to feel out how each individual person can help the players win, using the advantages of each person's player card (e.g.: Medics are better at treating cities, Scientists can find cures quicker, etc.). Everyone works together, makes decisions together, learns from their mistakes as they go.

For a family it's a great bonding game, and for anyone else it's an excellent team-building game.

We lost that first game, unfortunately. And naturally, since everyone lost, everyone was able to think about what could have been done differently. In fact I was elated to hear that my fiancée's father and brother woke up bright and early this morning, determined to have their revenge on the game. They successfully beat the "easy" version.

For a family that has never played a cooperative game before, where "everyone wins or everyone loses", it was clearly enjoyed by everyone.

The app version of this game is available on iPad as well, for those who'd rather pay $6.99 instead of shelling out 5 times more money for the board game. In fact, the app is excellent and captures the game perfectly, EXCEPT for the experience. The experience of the whole family or group of friends huddled around a gameboard, trying to plan the next series of moves to "cure this disease" or "prevent this outbreak" CANNOT be duplicated.
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on April 25, 2017
I have been playing more and more board games over the last year and Pandemic has been the best addition to my slowly growing collection. Working with my friends and family instead of against them was a great change of pace after years of royal rumble style board gaming. This game is just as fun to play with 2 people as it is with several more and no two games of Pandemic are the same. It is just as easy to lose this game as it is to win and losing only makes me want to play it again. I have begun to purchase the expansion sets and each new update only makes the game more entertaining and fun. That being said, the original game is extremely replayable and worth every penny. For the dedicated tabletop player, or the family looking to play infrequently, this is a must buy game!
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on January 20, 2016
I haven't even played this yet but I don't need to. I know it's going to be a fun game that's why I bought it! What I do want to review is the product itself. I couldn't even believe how high quality this thing is. This is my first non-traditional board game I've bought. The box is super study and the print is like a vinyl decal. Even if you spilled water on it I bet it would just roll right off. It's very ridged too. No bending or anything. The game board looks very nice and detailed and is also very sturdy. I love all of the outlines for where to put all the tokens and cards. Also the board has a little tip for what to do on your turn. It makes it easy to set up and follow along for people who are new to this stuff. The cards are a heavy material also. Seems like they're made from the same vinyl the box is made off. The player pawns, disease cubes, cure bottles, and the treatment centers are all very high quality and even cool to look at. I've never been more impressed with the look, feel, and quality of a board game. I feel like I want it on display! Now I just have to get everyone together and play!
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on June 28, 2016
This is one of the best board games I've ever played that features a team dynamic. Unlike Settlers of Catan, which will ruin any and every relationship you ever had, this co-op will reveal the true colors of anyone daring to pick up a colored pawn. Play this game with a stranger to get to know them. I promise that by the end of the game that you will know whether they will become your beast of a best friend forever or labeled a selfish, uncooperative squat head to be despised forever. Try it on a first date. It will foretell whether or not you and your interest will successfully spawn offspring together.

After opening this box for the first time, my roommates and I spent countless nights trying to save the world. As frustrating as it is to lose to a piece of cardboard, it is equally, if not more, gratifying to conquer your imaginary microscopic adversaries. There are so many occasions where you end the game in despair wishing you had just one more turn. But when you win, you come away feeling like the hero of an apocalyptic movie, saving the world in the very nick of time! Needless to say, we are currently best friends changing the world via healthcare, the arts and non-profits.
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on May 21, 2017
As a newbie on the "modern" board game scene, I'm not 100% sure what type of games I like the best (dice, worker placement, deck building, etc.). After playing Pandemic 4 times, twice with myself playing 2 roles and twice with my wife, I realize that it's a totally safe game for anyone to play... especially if you are new to board games and unsure of what you like. The game length is just right, with 2 of us completing both games in under 45 minutes each. The artwork isn't award winning but it's still very good. The game plays quick and seems perfectly balanced to create just enough tension as outbreaks and epidemics begin happening. The difficulty is also scalable by adding extra epidemic cards to the mix. It goes from easy, medium to hard. The rules are easy to learn and follow. The first game you will have to reference the instruction manual but have it down by the second.

Pandemic is a fun, tense and exciting game that redefines board games. It wasn't at all painful like it was during my childhood "Monopoly/Scrabble/Life/Sorry.

I can't wait to play again!
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on February 13, 2017
This game is fantastic. It's brilliant! It scales very well to the number of players, it's cooperative, which is not that common and it's perfectly balanced with just the right number of disease cubes, event cards and number of cities to pose a challenge no matter how many epidemics are added to the deck. The game stays fresh with numerous levels of difficulty and of course, you can add your own rules to shake things up. The game is also very challenging. There are many ways to lose but only one way to win, but win or lose it is always fun. I'm also quite impressed with the expansion packs. The freshen up the game very well and add cool new pieces, like petri dishes and vials for the cures. There is even a mode (in an expansion) that allows for a bio-terrorist for those that just have to compete. Set up is a bit long, but worth it. There are also lots of little pieces that can be lost, so be careful with them. The game has the side benefit of teaching the players a little bit of geography. I think the game captures the difficulty of trying to cure diseases around the world with about as much accuracy as a game can. Each player assumes different roles with different skill sets to help them, but will it work? Try it and see!
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