I use games as an excuse to socialize with people. It doesn’t matter all that much to me what game we play, I just want to be able to spend time with like-minded individuals and enjoy ourselves. So, while the blog is primarily 40k focused, that does mean that I play a variety of card and board games. So, when Brandon offered to bring over a new one called “Pandemic” that I’d heard of, I figured I’d give it a shot.
The game itself is a cooperative exercise wherein a team of researchers are running around the world in an attempt to contain and eradicate various diseases. In essence, it’s kind of like Outbreak! the board game.
The game is won when cures are found for each of the four diseases, but it can be lost in multiple ways:
- Running out of city cards (ie. running out of time)
- Having an excessive number of outbreaks
- Letting any one disease expand enough to outgrow the available components
It has some really basic rules with really intuitive mechanics. It’s enjoyable to play, and even at the most basic difficulty level provides a challenge to everyone.
The thing is, the game is impossible to win.
Ok, so that’s a bit of an overstatement. Brandon had brought it over a few times, and in each time we played it, we got really close to winning, but ultimately lost in every game we tried. He said that was pretty much par for the course, but that he had beaten it before, so it had to be possible. Likewise, lots of people online seem to think it’s quite easy to win.
Well, when I threw my back out last time, I wound up buying the game on IOS to see if there was something fundamental mistake we were making in the way we played the game. Maybe we had misinterpreted a rule? Well, after the first thirty games played–and lost–on the easiest of settings, it seemed pretty clear to me that my original assessment of the game being impossible was pretty accurate.
In one particular game (on the easy setting, mind you), I managed to be completely defeated before each of my four characters had a turn. Sure, it was an unfortunate set of random events, but that shouldn’t be possible for a game on EZ mode.
Anywho, after perseverance, I did manage to finally beat the game. In fact, I found a particular set of characters (Scientist, Dispatcher, Constrution Worker, & Medic) and a strategy that seemed to work for me. And now, I’d say I win a little over half of my games–though I haven’t manage to win it on any other difficulty setting yet (nor do I particularly care to try).
I do wind up playing it from time to time still, and it really isn’t a bad waste of time, but I don’t think it’s a great game. I also went out and bought Pandemic: Contagion (a game where it’s not cooperative and you play as the viruses, so it isn’t anywhere near impossible to win).
So, this post isn’t so much a review, per se, but a rambling warning for those of you who are thinking about buying the game, and a virtual support group for those who think the game is impossible. My advice though, would be to stay away.