Review: Pandemic: The Board Game (Steam)

As skilled members of a disease-fighting team, you must keep four deadly diseases at bay while discovering their cures. Travel the world, treat infections, and find cures. You must work as a team to succeed. The clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues.

Pros:

  • Nice artwork.
  • Rulebook- Exact one that comes in the physical version.
  • Optional tutorial.
  • 720MB Download size.
  • Steam achievements.
  • Three difficulties- Introductory, Standard and Heroic.
  • Seven characters (roles) Dispatcher, Operations, Scientists, Quarantine, medic, researcher and contigency planner.
  • Can rename your character.
  • All played using just the mouse.
  • 1-4 local MP.
  • Undo move button.
  • Animations on/off.
  • Fast loading times.
  • Can freely move the map and zoom in and out.
  • Goal- Cure all 4 diseases before you have too many breakouts.
  • Epidemic card- Once drawn it increases the threat level and infects more cities and reshuffles the discarded cards meaning the chance of another outbreak is high.
  • Event cards- Give random abilities or powers like fast travel, build a research center anywhere for free etc.
  • To cure a disease you need 5 of the same color cards and then cash them in at a research center.
  • If a city has 3 disease cubes on a location then that location comes up again, It causes an outbreak that spreads even more disease.
  • Seven card hand limit.
  • Draw two cards every round.
  • Clear on-screen markers for disease rate level.
  • Infinite replayability.
  • Excellent way to learn the game.
  • Hot seat multiplayer.
  • The game is a co-op game.

Cons:

  • No graphics options.
  • Player names have randomly changed even my own character.
  • Achievements seem buggy and don’t unlock properly.
  • The flat atmosphere, Little music to set the tone.
  • Doesn’t include any expansions.
  • The rulebook is just a flat out scan of the physical book on a webpage.
  • Have to move around the board one by one.
  • RNG determines so much.
  • Picking your own role feels like cheating.
  • No online play.

The Numbers:
  • 7/10
    Graphics - 7/10
  • 6/10
    Sound - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Accessability - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Length - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Fun Factor - 9/10
7.6/10

Summary

Jumping from a physical board game to a digital one is no easy feat, Pandemic being one of the most popular board games of all time only elevates the task at hand and for a large chunk of it, Asmodee does a really good job of transitioning the gameplay. Sure it is easy to pick up and play, Doesn’t take ages to set up or put away afterward but does it still have the same excitement and atmosphere as the physical version? Well, it does in certain cases, It does allow new players to jump in and learn the rules quickly, It does have big bright icons and cards so you know what’s what and it does maintain the “feel”. What it does lack in however is atmosphere, There is next to no music to complement the current stages of the game, Epidemic cards which cause destruction to anyone’s gameplay passes without a whimper, The lack of physical cards in front of you means the game really needs to work harder to make you care, To engross you in the survival of it all and it just doesn’t. I would say this is a game that you can happily play and spend many many hours playing it but all you are really doing is paying to not set up and put away the physical version. The digital version could have done with more digital interactions.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

You may also like...