Game Review – Pandemic Contagion & Pandemic The Cure
Pandemic has always been one of my favourite board games, as it’s the perfect combination of cooperative game play and strategic thinking, so when I was given the opportunity to try out some of Pandemic’s spin off games, I was quite excited.
Pandemic Contagion, and Pandemic The Cure are both stand alone games born of the original Pandemic philosophy. One is very similar to the original, and one if very different.
Pandemic Contagion is almost the polar opposite of the original Pandemic game. Instead of being cooperative, you play against each other, and instead of working together to save humanity, you work alone to destroy it!
Each player chooses a disease to infect the world, and with no cures to be found, it’s the first person to wipe out civilisation who wins. Pandemic Contagion seems reminiscent to me of the mobile game Plague, in the sense that you spend your actions mutating your disease to increase Incubation, Transmission or Resistance, and each mutation affords you certain rewards in other aspects of the game.
Game play is reminiscent of the original Pandemic, with event cards and WHO cards determining how the game advances, however scoring is quite different, as is the game board. Scoring is conducted intermittently, and in two different ways, meaning players have to be strategic to ensure they score highly in all instances to win, and instead of placing disease cubes across a world map, instead your disease cubes are simply placed on city cards, vastly reducing the area of play, and allowing the game to feel more portable and less daunting.
The event and WHO cards add interesting aspects to the game play, with event cards adding a random additional impact to that round, and WHO cards do not appear randomly, so their negative effects can be dealt with easily if you plan for them in advance.
We played the game with the maximum five players, and it was very enjoyable. Most of us picked it up quite quickly, including those who had not played Pandemic previously. It was quite interesting to watch the leaderboard change between scorings, just because you start out on top, doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there!
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