Well I think at this point we are all a little too familiar with pandemics but if you ever felt like you and your friends could solve one yourself, this game is for you.  Pandemic is a classic as far as cooperative games go.  I hear amazing things about the pandemic legendary series but I just really wanted a copy of the regular version. As you see in these photos I splurged and got the anniversary edition.  The regular game is about half the price so this was completely unnecessary but I figured this is a staple that will stay in my collection so why not.  The regular version does have a bit of a different look than this but plays the same.

The idea of Pandemic is you are creating a team that will work together to keep 4 deadly diseases under control while you discover the cures.  Everyone will have their own strengths and will work together to win. If 8 outbreaks occur, you run out of disease cubes, or you run out of player cards you will loose the game. If you discover the cure for the 4 diseases you will win the game.

This is a really good example of a cooperative game. You are working together to come up with a strategy to handle these outbreaks but also how you travel the board. Players have to be on the same page to make this work.

This game is for 2 to 4 players but you can easily make it a solo game and takes about 45 minutes to play.


  • 7 Role Cards
  • 7 pawns
  • 59 Player cards
  • 4 reference cards
  • 48 Infection cards
  • 96 Disease cubes
  • 4 cure markers
  • 1 outbreak marker
  • 6 research stations
  • 1 game board


Place the board within reach of everyone on the table.  Separate the disease cubes by colour and place them nearby along with the research stations.  Place one research station in Atlanta.  This is home to the CDC. Research stations are where the diseases will be cured so throughout the game you may want to add more.

Place the outbreaks marker on the 0 space on the outbreak track.  The 4 cure markers will go vial side up on the discovered cure indicators.

Place the infection rate marker on the 2 space of the infection rate track. 

Now set up the inital outbreak. Shuffle the infection deck and flip over the first three cards.  Add 3 matching colour disease cubes on each of these cities.  Flip over 3 more cards.  These cities will get 2 cubes each.  Flip over another three cards, these cities will get one cube each. Now take the 9 cards and place them face up on the discard pile.

Shuffle the Role cards and deal 1 face up in front of each player and place their matching pawn on Atlanta.  For now leave the epidemic cards out of the player deck. The player deck should only be city and event cards at this point.  Deal players cards according to the number of players in the game.

  • 2 players 4 cards
  • 3 players 3 cards
  • 4 players 2 cards

Now you can shuffle in the epidemic cards to the remaining player deck. Divide the deck into piles equal to the number of epidemic cards you will be using. Then shuffle in 1 epidemic card to each pile. Stack the piles to form the deck.

  • 4 epidemic cards for an introductory game
  • 5 epidemic cards for a standard game
  • 6 epidemic cards for a heroic game.

The unused epidemic cards can be placed back in the box.


Before we get into gameplay, let’s go through the different role choices.  Each role has different benefits, the idea is to work together utilizing everyone’s strength. The roles offer a bit of variety since each game can be a different combination of roles. The first couple times you play, you may want to strategically pick the roles until you get comfortable with the game.

Roles include:


The contingency planner may take an event card from the discard pile and add it to his Role card without effecting his hand count as an action.  Only 1 event card can be used like this at one time.  Once he plays the event card remove it from the game.


The dispatcher as an action, can either move any pawn to any city with another pawn or they can move another pawn instead of his own.  You should check with the other players first. When moving the pawn, discard cards for direct flights and charter flights from your hand. If you discard a card for a charter flight it must match the city the pawn is moving from. 


The medic removes all cubes instead of one when they treat the disease. For cured diseases he removes all cubes of that colour automatically when he enters a city without using an action. The automatic removal also works if he is moved by other players. Another benefit is he prevents disease cubes and outbreaks of cured diseases on his current city.


The operations Expert may use an action to build a research city at his current location without using a city card or move from a research station to a city by discarding a city card. The Dispatcher cannot use the Operations Expert’s ability if he moves him.


The Quarantine Specialist will prevent outbreaks and adding disease cube for her current location and all connected cities.  


The researcher can give any of her city card to another player if they are in the same city. The card doesn’t have to match her current location and can happen on either player’s turn.


The Scientist only needs only 4 matching colour City cards to get a disease cure.


Each turn has 3 parts.

  1. Do 4 actions
  2. Draw 2 player cards
  3. Infect cities

City cards are used in actions, event cards can be played at any time.

1, Actions

You have 4 actions per turn. You can do the same action multiple times.  Check your role card to see if it effects actions. Any cards you remove will go to the discard pile.

Actions include:

  • Move to a city connected with a white line from the one you are in.
  • Discard a city card and go to that city.
  • Discard the city card that matches your current location and move to any city.
  • Move from a city with a research station to any other city with a research station.
  • Discard the City card that matches the city you are in to place a research city there.
  • Remove 1 disease cube from the city you are in.  If the disease colour has been cured remove all the cubes of that colour from the city. If all cubes of that colour get removed from the board that disease is eradicated.  Flip the cure marker over.
  • when you and another player are in the same city you can share knowledge by either giving them the city card that you are in or they can give you the city card you are in.  If the player who receives the card has more than 7 cards they either need to discard a card or play an event.
  • Discard 5 city cards of the same color from your hand at a research station to cure the disease of that colour.  Move the disease’s cure marker to its cure indicator.  If the board has no cubes of that colour the disease is eradicated. If those coloured cubes are on the board you still have to treat them to remove them.  You do not have to eradicate a disease to win but if it’s eradicated no new disease cubes can be placed.  A cure can be discovered at any research station.


After completing the four actions, draw 2 cards from the player deck. If there are less than 2 cards left in the deck, you’ve lost the game. If you ever have more than 7 cards in your hand after resolving any epidemic cards, immediately discard cards or play an event card until you are back to seven. If you are in the same city as another player you can take a city card from them of that location.


When an Epidemic card is drawn, do the following:

  • Move the infection rate marker forward 1 space.
  • Draw the bottom card from the Infection Deck.  Add 3 cubes of that colour on the city on the card, unless the disease has already been eradicated.  If the city already has cubes of this colour add enough so it has three and then an outbreak is triggered. If you run out of cubes to place then you’ve lost the game.
  • Reshuffle the cards in the infection discard pile and place that on top of the infection deck.  

Once epidemic cards are resolved remove them from the game. You will not draw a replacement card after getting an Epidemic card. 


An event card is not an action and any player can play during a turn except between drawing and resolving cards.


Check the current infection rate and flip over that many cards from the infection deck.  Infect the city on each card.  To infect a city, place a disease cube with the matching colour on the city unless the disease has been eradicated.  If a city already has 3 cubes of that colour, an outbreak occurs.  Discard the card to the discard pile.


Whenever there is a breakout, move the outbreak marker forward 1 space and add 1 cube of that disease colour to every city the outbreak city is connected to. If any of those cities have 3 cubes already of that colour a chain reaction occurs.  For the chain reaction, move the outbreak marker forward 1 space and then place1 cube on every city it connects to except the city that just had an outbreak. A city may have up to 3 cubes of each colour on it. If the outbreak marker reaches the last space of the outbreak track, you have lost the game.

After the infection stage is done, the turn is over and the next player can go.


There are 3 ways to lose the game.

  1. if the outbreak marker gets to the last spot
  2. if you run out of disease cubes
  3. If you run out of player cards

To win the game you have to cure all 4 diseases.  Diseases only need to be cured, not eradicated so there still could be cubes on the board.

Pandemic can be a tense game. Once those outbreaks hit, things can get pretty out of control. I love that you can pick the intensity of the game and I love the various characters with different traits. It’s great to have that variety. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in the game, you don’t know where the infection is going to hit and what that will do to your plan. You are constantly shifting your focus based on what’s happening on the map. That makes every game exciting. To me, this one doesn’t get old. Pandemic paved the way for a lot of cooperative games and still stands up to the newer games out there. It’s not only a game worth owning but it’s one that I plan to keep for the long haul.

If you like Pandemic try:

Battle of Hogwarts


The Crew

Flashpoint: Fire Rescue


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