Pandemic: The Cure
Pandemic: The Cure is the dice implementation of the popular co-operative game called Pandemic (what a surprise). In this game two to five players are all working together to find a cure to four diseases spreading all over the world.
During setup every player selects a role card and gets the dice associated with this role. In the middle of the table the Treatment center is placed. This is used for tracking the infection and outbreak rate. The region tiles are placed around the Treatment Centre. To the side there will be a CDC tile and an event deck with the top three event cards revealed and ready for use. The game starts with 12 diseases already spread around the world.
Each turn consists of four phases: roll player dice and do actions, give samples, try to find a cure and finally infect regions.
During the roll player dice and actions phase you can keep on rerolling your dice until it shows a biohazard which locks the die or you use the die for its action. Each biohazard result immediately progresses the infection which might result in an epidemic. After using some dice for its action you may still reroll the other ones. The most common actions found on the dice are flying, sailing, treating diseases and collecting a sample but some roles have special actions. Flying gives you the ability to travel to any region. Sailing on the other hand only lets you travel to a neighboring region. When you are treating a disease you can place one die from the current region in the treatment center or put one die from the treatment center back in the bag. Collecting a sample gives you the ability to take a die from the treatment center and lock it with your sample die. This sample can now be used to find a cure. Some of the special actions are treating multiple times with one die, using a helicopter, moving three dice from the treatment center back into the bag…
When you are together with another player you can give samples to that player during the second phase. In the third phase you can try to find a cure. This is done by rolling all the dice from one color you’ve got samples off. If you end up with 13 or more on the roll you have found a cure and all dice of that color in the treatment center are returned to the bag. Once you have a cure for a certain color you can treat all dice in one region or the treatment center with only one treating diseases action.
The fourth phase is the infect regions phase. In this phase you will be taking dice from the bag equal to the infection rate and roll them. The number you roll corresponds to the region it infects but if you are lucky and roll a cross it goes on the CDC tile. If there are ever more than three dice of the same color on a region an outbreak occurs. The excess of three dice is moved to the next region in clockwise order which might cause another outbreak. When an epidemic occurs you immediately do an extra infection adding all the dice in the treatment center to the normal infection dice rate. The dice which are on the CDC tile can be used to activate the event cards which are really helpful.
The players win the game when they have found all four cures. They lose when the infection rate reaches the end, too many outbreaks have occurred or the dice bag is empty and you need to draw additional dice.
I will not compare this game with the normal Pandemic (unless you guys want me to) but I will say this. In my opinion although both games obviously have the same theme and the same goal you need to achieve, the gameplay feels different enough to own both games.
Now let’s get to what I think of the game. I really like this game. The press your luck is really fun. You usually want some particular actions to do on your turn and you can keep rerolling for them but the prospect of rolling those biohazard makes you think about it. Will I do the less useful and safer action or am I taking a chance and reroll for the action I really want hoping not to roll a biohazard. The combination of rolling the dice and performing the actions in any order you want is also very important and easily overlooked. Since it’s a dice rolling game you might get unlucky by rolling lots of biohazards but this rarely occurs. The roles and their abilities feel really different and it’s fun to try and complete the game with different combinations of these roles. Some are off course a bit more desirable than others which is only normal if you have really different abilities on the card. The most useful character in my opinion is the Researcher. She can give samples to any player at any time. The most powerful combo in my opinion is the Dispatcher with the Containment Specialist. The Dispatcher can move any other player in its region to any other region. The Containment Specialist removes a die of every color where there are 2 or more dice present of. The difficulty is spot on. You’ve got three difficulties to choose from and the standard mode already gives a good challenge. I suggest to skip the Intro mode if you are familiar with co-op games Sometimes you might have the idea that you’ve got everything under control but then suddenly it spirals out of control and you’ll need your wits to get the situation back under control. This provides a lot of tense moments in the game. Till this day we only won a few times and lost a lot of times and always the same way, too many outbreaks grrr…. All the above combined makes for a fun, tense, dice rolling co-op game. Now let’s play as a member of the CDC and cure some diseases to save the world.
Play with Honor