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Showing 1-10 of 1,669 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,933 reviews
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 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.
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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 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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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 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 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 March 15, 2017
This is a great cooperative board game to play with your friends or gaming group.

I've played this with many different groups of people now and every experience was positive and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves very much while playing. Having a great cooperative game in your rotation is a good way to get people who don't like the competition aspect of games to be able to enjoy themselves too.

The game itself is fairly easy to get the hang of after a few turns and allows for great strategy sessions where you work together to eradicate the various diseases on the board to trigger the win condition. Playing at maximum difficulty will generally be pretty challenging and will require good planning and communication with the other players in order to succeed.

This is one of those games that is tough to win, but tends to make people want to play "just one more time, I know we'll get it this time". It's that enjoyable. This one tends to be a favorite in our board gaming group, and we keep bringing it out time and again.

The only issue that I have with the game set is that the instructions aren't the easiest to read if you want a quick summary of win conditions and such. I had to read them a couple times to figure out some of the more nuanced game rules and situations that tended to come up quite a bit more than expected.

No other issues to this really fun game.

Highest Recommendation.
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on January 2, 2017
 Pandemic Board Game

Overview
Pandemic is a cooperative game where you’re working together to cure diseases and prevent a worldwide pandemic. If disease spreads too far, you lose. If you find cures for all of the diseases and eradicate them you win. There are multiple roles you and your team mates can play, each with unique powers that allow you to work around the rules in a specific way.

Pros:
There is a high sense of urgency and tension in the game. Working against the game to win in time really draws you into the theme.

The cooperative aspect of this game is great if you're not in the mood to play against your friends and family. Playing as a team can create a great bond with the other players, especially when you get down to that last nail-biting turn.

High level of difficulty and replay-ability, with rules to make the game harder once you've mastered the basic game.

This game really makes you work together to win. If everyone just does their own thing, you will lose for sure. The rules even encourage discussion before making any actions.

It really does an excellent job of making the game a challenging opponent. The game's "AI", that is, the way you draw cards and spread the diseases through "outbreaks" means that the game is very difficult without requiring a player to make decisions.

Cons:
The game can be very hard, even on the easiest setting. I have yet to actually win the game, even with six plays under my belt.

Be prepared to lose the first few plays.

Mood: Thinky, Cooperative, Strategic
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on October 28, 2016
Best choice ever. I was reluctant to get a game that's not fantasy, but this was by far the best game I could have got this year to play with my husband. Apart from being co-op and you have to defeat the game, it's challenging and losing doesn't make us feel bad.

Quick to learn, and set up. The box is the right size, easy to transport and we'll definitely carry it with us on our trips.

We must find the cure for several diseases as they spread quickly, there are several ways to lose the game and a few to win. We can discuss plans and strategies before acting. It's a very well balanced and creative game. even the element of luck works perfectly. And we still have fun when we are completely destroyed by the diseases.
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