Board Game published by
Z Man Games
No. of Players 1 - 4
Session Time 30 - 90 mins
First Publication 2008
Essential Books Rule Book
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Pandemic is a board game wherein the players must work together to defeat Papa Nurgle by discovering cures for four diseases that are spread around the globe, all the while making sure that these diseases don't grow out of control and create pandemics. Each player is randomly assigned a role at the start of the game with a special ability and they must work as a team to beat the game. Super competitive players will NOT like this game as you win or lose as a group.



The six roles included in the base game are as follows:

  • Dispatcher. Can move other people’s shit around. Good for those that are bossy as fuck and inevitably end up taking control of the game.
  • Medic. Removes all disease cubes in a city in a single action instead of one at a time like other skub players. ALSO automatically removes cubes on any cured disease when entering a new city. Pretty fuckin’ OP role.
  • Scientist. Makes it easier to find cures for diseases, which at the end of the day is the aim of the game!
  • Researcher. Trade cards with another player, but only if you’re in the same city.
  • Operations Expert. Build research stations, so you don’t need to keep going back to the starting city to cure diseases.
  • Quarantine Specialist. Prevents disease cubes from being placed in the city you’re in, and any cities connected to it. Hawt dang.

Game playEdit

The game board depicts several major population centers on Earth. On each turn, a player can use up to four actions to travel between cities, treat infected populaces, discover a cure, or build a research station. At the end of each players turn they must draw a number of cards from the player deck which can provide useful abilities and the means to cure the diseases but sprinkled throughout this deck are the Epidemic! cards that accelerate and intensify the diseases' activity. A second, separate deck of cards controls the "normal" spread of the infections, which can cause Outbreaks in cities that are sufficiently infected.

The aim of the game is to cure all four diseases, you do not need to eradicate them (i.e. remove all of that diseases’ cubes from the board). If there are more than seven Outbreaks, the players lose. If you run out of cubes when spreading diseases, the players lose. If there are no more player cards to draw, the players lose.

Known for its difficulty and decent mechanics as well as generating a tense, exciting experience, Pandemic is a game where the losses are cool stories and the victories are talked up for years.


  • On the Brink. Adds eight new roles. The most interesting being the Bio-Terrorist, who works against the other players. Also includes a fifth disease that must be cured or eradicated before the players can win.
  • In the Lab. Adds a research mechanic and solo-play. Requires On the Brink to play.
  • State of Emergency. Adds new roles and three new challenges. Said challenges are: the Hinterlands, where animals spread diseases to humans. For all the furries in the group. Emergency Events, in case you thought Outbreaks and Epidemic cards where bad enough. And Superbug, a disease that cannot be cured. How fun.

Z-man Games has also released a number of free scenarios, which are available from the Pandemic product page. So far they have released Isolation and Government Shutdown.

Spin-off GamesEdit

  • Pandemic: The Cure. Dice based version of the game. So now when you lose you can blame it on luck. Rather than fucking Brenda that cannot fucking listen to simple fucking instructions causing fucking London to Outbreak and lose you the game.
  • Pandemic: Contagion. Card based version of the game. But you play as the disease! Live that Plaguebearer dream.
  • Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. One of them new fangled Legacy games. Adds an ongoing story that can cause the game rules and even the game board itself to change permanently. Each game played represents a month in the campaign, and the campaign takes place over a year. So you will need to play a minimum of twelve games to complete the campaign. Minimum? Yes, minimum. If you lose a game, you play it again. So if your group is shit at Pandemic you could end up playing twenty-four games of it. Either way, if you really really "really" love Pandemic and want to play lots and lots of it, and maybe want to hate Pandemic afterwards, then Legacy might be for you.
  • Pandemic Legacy: Season 2. Takes place 71 years after Season 1, which is coincidentally the same amount of time it would take for you to recover from playing Season 1 enough that you can look at the Pandemic box without getting irrationally angry. Fucking Brenda.
  • Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. This time the diseases are cultists, and they want to summon Cthulhu.
  • Pandemic: Survival Series. Set in historical times and covering a more local area. There are three games in the series so far, as detailed below. Each game is standalone, so you don’t need to get all of them. But you can. If you want.
  • Pandemic: Iberia. Set in 19th century Iberia (Spain/Portugal basically), the players work to build railroads and purify water in order to cure diseases.
  • Pandemic: Rising Tide. Set in the Netherlands, players work to cure the area of being flooded. Talking in a dutch accent isn’t mandatory but is encouraged.
  • Pandemic: Fall of Rome. This time the disease is unwashed barbarians try to get their grubby hands on Rome! Time to “cure” them for the glory of Rome!
  • Pandemic: Rapid Response. Waiting for turns too fucking slow for you? Well we’ve got you covered, Rapid Response is a real-time game will probably play like some form of shouty organised chaos. Best leave Brenda out of this.
Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Snakes and Ladders - Risk - Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium