Pandemic Review

By Brian / June 19, 2017

Pandemic infects us with an always mutating game experience.  Is the app too difficult or can your team easily cure the disease?

More...

Platforms

Android & iOS

Game Length

 10 - 20 Minutes

# of Players

1 - 4

Game Publisher

Z-Man Games

App Developer

@AsmodeeDigital

Our Rating

Multiplayer Options
  • Local Pass and Play

Overview

Pandemic is a cooperative strategy game set in an Earth being destroyed by four different Diseases. Your mission as a Disease Control Team is to  discover the cures and thus, save the entire world.  Should you run out of cards to draw, the Outbreaks fill up, or the disease cubes are depleted, you will have failed humanity and the world/game as we know it is over.   I hope you're happy - you just killed everyone on Earth. 

A turn in Pandemic consists of completing four actions in any order: Move, Treat, Cure, Build, Share, or Pass.  During a turn you may also play Special Event cards that does not count against your four actions.  Each Action choice is described below.

Move:  Move the team member's Meeple to another city connected by the route line.  Or if at a Research Station, move to another Research Station on the board.  You could choose to take a Direct or Charter flight by sacrificing one of the corresponding City Cards. 

Treat:  Remove an infection cube from the city  you are in.   Each cube removed counts as one action.

Cure: If you have the correct amount of City Cards (typically 5) for a disease, you may Cure the disease. 

Build:  Build a Research Station in your current city, sacrificing that City's card.

Share:  Give or Take a City Card from another player in the same city as you; depending on the Control Team member. 

*These actions can be enhanced by the abilities of individual members of your Disease Control Team.

As the game progresses, so does the Infection rate, which is the number of cities infected at the end of each turn. The game begins with two per turn, and will quickly rise to three then four infections.  The Infection increases each time an Epidemic card is drawn. An Epidemic card also means that one city receives three infection cubes and the discarded infection cards are put back into the top of the deck.  This greatly increase the chances of those particular cities being infected in the near future.  So get your Pandemic team members to the infected cities quickly before an outbreak occurs!

Barrier to Entry

Pandemic includes an interactive tutorial that cures the world and beats the game in about 15 minutes.  I enjoy this tutorial and I've used it twice now.  The app also provides rule books for the base game and both expansion packs; Virulent Strain Challenge & On The Brink.   The barrier into Pandemic is the sheer difficulty of the game, even in standard mode.  Players must fight the spread of disease while collecting & managing city cards.  Victory will only be achived by navigating this intricate web of infection, epidemics, outbreaks and Control Team abilities. 

Title Screen/Menu

Gameplay with Team Member sidebar

Bangkok is being infected!

Look and Feel

Pandemic Looks and Feels like an infection intense, life saving race against time.  And kudos to the developer for making me feel genuinely nervous during the game.  The spinning infection cubes circling cities truly are anxiety triggers.  I found my self biting nails and taping toes while the infections spread at the end of each turn, praying to avoid an epidemic or an outbreak.   

The cool blue of the world map is easy on the eyes, so you can play longer with less eye strain.  It is worth noting that the Disease Control Team members names do not change, but the member avatars do.  Many times you'll be playing with "Judith,"  the Operations Expert who is a middle aged man with a hard hat on.   Or even "Stephen," the Researcher - an attractive young lady.   

Some of the in-game sounds are down right spooky and totally uncalled for whilst playing in the dark. Even the sounds of removing/treating infection cubes is ghostly.  I love to hate when there's an outbreak because it sounds like an explosion, the screen goes haywire, and my heart beats faster.   Pandemic gives us good graphics, sweet animations and appropriate sounds during the game.  I really enjoy playing even though my win loss record is atrocious. 

Multiplayer

There are no Multiplayer options built into the Pandemic app.  You could however, Pass and Play with your friends by simply handing over the device after each Control Team member's turn.  Should the developers choose to include this in a future update, I feel it would go over very well. The multiplayer experience would be a cooperative effort to cure the diseases and save the world.  Sounds like fun!

Single Player

Pandemic is strictly single player aside from the unintended local pass and play option.  You control two, three or four Disease Control Team members that you may select yourself or have randomly selected for you.  I highly recommend the Operations Expert, Medic, Scientist and the Quarantine Specialist.   

Epidemic card is drawn - Uh oh!

Curing all Diseases & Winning the Game

Killing Everybody - Losing the Game

What Else?

About a month ago we added the Pandemic: Legacy series to our 5 Games we want to see Ported feature.  So let's hope this one get's digitized real soon!  Available for purchase within the Pandemic app are two expansion sets - The "Virulent Strain Challenge" game mode & the "On the Brink" roles and events expansion. WHOA! Grab your face mask and get ready for 8 more epidemic cards added to the deck with unique effects while playing the Virulent Strain Challenge.   Each Epidemic card has a very specific and harsh consequence. It's pure madness in such a good way.   When a Virulent Strain is drawn and lands in a city, the infection cubes take on a very cool, radioactive like design; this is very intimidating. 

‚ÄčThe "On the Brink" expansion adds 6 new Disease Control Team Members to choose from and 8 special event cards to the deck.  I really enjoy the new roles in this expansion, and the event cards certainly add more depth to the heart pounding, time sensitive nature of the game.  My favorite new team member is the Containment Specialist who removes infection cubes as he moves; without using one of his 4 actions during the turn. 

The Wrap Up

Pandemic is a well designed, stylish adaptation of the board game.  We recently added it to our Top 10 Android Board Game Apps feature. Pandemic landed at #4!  We here at Pixelated Cardboard find ourselves infecting the world quite often, and rarely saving it in Pandemic.  Never the less, we keep trying because the flow of the game is great and compliments the exciting animations and sounds. 

Pandemic is infectious and we recommend being  diagnosed with the disease.  Great  design and adaptation of the board game.  Very difficult and very fun. 

What we like


- Savvy Animations and Cool sounds throughout the App

- The game pulls you into a frantic world ending scenario

What we don't like


- No Online Multiplayer options

- Is it too difficult, or are we just terrible at the game?

Our Rating

Leave a comment: