Catch the Fun Virus! Play Pandemic!

Amy Cobos


            Pandemic was a new game, published by Z-Man games, which I learned to play while in HY 300-001 History of Games. It was my favorite game we played during class and had a lot of different elements of gaming combined into one fun experience. Pandemic is a game full of team work and cooperation that is required to save the world from four deadly infectious diseases. You can have numerous epidemics that spread throughout the world from Atlanta to Tokyo and your goal is to save the human population from permanent extermination. Each player can play the role of a scientist, a dispatcher, a medic, a researcher, an epidemiologist and numerous others. Pandemic is a great game unlike many others because it requires full teamwork among players in order to save the world and the human population.



The game Pandemic was supplied by Dr. Peterson as an option for us to play. While the game is meant to be for only four players, we played the five player version. To compensate for this, we added an extra epidemic card into our draw pile. Instead of having four epidemic cards, we now had five. Setting up the scene of destruction was relatively easy and followed these steps:

  1. To set up the game each player must chose a role to portray. I chose to play the role of the Dispatcher, which is the pink token.
  2. All players begin in the city of Atlanta because this is the location of the CDC or Center for Disease Control. Here is where the spreading of diseases begins.
  3. To continue to set up the game, a player must draw three cards from the infection card deck. The three cities that are drawn will each receive three cubes of their respective color: black, red, blue and yellow. The player will then draw three new infection cards and place only two cubes of their respective color of that city. Finally, the player will then draw three more infection cards and place one cube on the city with its respective color. These six cards will now be placed in the discard pile. These are the cities that are automatically starting with an infectious disease.
  4. After this is complete, the player cards pile will be divided into five stacks and one epidemic card will be placed at random in each stack. A player will then pass out two cards to each player. These are the cities that each player holds and will be able to trade with during a later part of the game.
  5. Players are now ready to embark on their cooperative adventure to save the human race!



  1. Players will base who goes first by determining which of the players was last sick. Whoever was last sick or is currently sick will go first and begin the game.
  2. For a turn, each player is allowed to make four actions, then draw two player cards. They then must draw two infection cards and infect those cities with one cube.
  3. As the Dispatch, my special job was I could move and act as any player on the board. So when it came to my turn, we collectively decided as a team that I would not move my own piece but would play as someone else’s.
  4. Each player had the opportunity to remove cubes from infected cities. Each player was allowed to remove a cube as one of their actions. This was important because if an infected city with three cubes was struck again by adding a fourth cube, then you would have what was called an epidemic. If this happens, then you must add a cube to all cities that are connected to the city that suffered the epidemic. If your team suffers 8 epidemics in a game, then the whole team automatically loses.
  5. There is a possibility to draw an Epidemic Card from the player card pile. If this occurs, then players must stop what they are doing and follow the directions on the card. This includes infecting one city that is drawn from the bottom of the infection card deck with three cubes. This can cause more epidemics as well and you must also add the extra cubes to the connecting cities. Then, the player must take all of the cards in the infection card discard pile, shuffle them, and place them back on top of the infection card deck. This can cause huge problems because players already know they will have to infect cities that are currently already infected.
  6. Each player continues to take their turns until they are able to cure a disease. To cure a disease, a player must have five of the same color cities. That could be five red, five black, five yellow or five blue. The exception to this rule is the player who portrays the role of the scientist only needs to collect four cards of the same color. They can get all five colors, or four, by drawing from the player cards on each turn or by trading with other players. Although, a player is only able to trade with another player if they are in the same city as the card being traded and this counts as one of the players actions. In order to cure the disease, the player must return back to the research station in Atlanta or to a research station that was set up and created by a different player by discarding the city they would like the research station in to the player card discard pile. Once this happens, the disease is considered cured. A disease is only considered eradicated if all of the corresponding color cubes are removed from the board.


Pandemic was a fun game because it was different from typical games. Instead of being competitive, it was cooperative and required teamwork among all players. In order for Pandemic to be played to the fullest, each player must be a willing participant and be willing to get really into the game. Pandemic is also a great party game that would be fun to play with a group of friends. So what are you waiting for? Grab your friends and gather round! It’s time to save the world!