In many ways my year of “rediscovered” board gaming with the family has been a trip into the past. For Family Game Night, we have played new games like Scythe or The Expanse Boardgame as well as older games like Nexus Ops. With the many holiday sales in the States, I used a discount offer at Barnes & Noble to score a copy of Pandemic (Z-Man Games, 2013 English Edition). Pandemic was originally published in 2008 and in the past near-decade we somehow missed it. That error has now been corrected!
Since the RockyMountainNavy Family Game Night usually has myself and two of the RMN Boys, finding a 3-player family game is a bit challenging. The RMN Boys were a bit doubtful when I brought out Pandemic; the last “throwback game” we played, Nexus Ops, was enjoyable if a bit pedestrian. I think the Boys expected Pandemic to be the same.
It was snowy day so we actually pulled Pandemic out the first time in the afternoon. We lost our first game, set at Introductory difficulty, as we had only three cures when the Player Card deck ran out. The Boys and myself struggled to understand the different Roles. In our first game, we had a Medic, Dispatcher, and Quarantine Specialist. But the game was still very enjoyable, and Youngest RMN Boy suggested a replay after dinner for our usual Game Night.
In the evening game we played in a highly cooperative manner. Our Roles were the Medic, Quarantine Specialist, and Operations Specialist. As we started understanding the rules better we also started using a bit more strategy. The game ended on the last possible turn (the Player Deck was empty) as Youngest RMN raced to a Research Station with our last cure and gave us the win. We jumped and cheered and gave each other high-fives.
It was at this point I realized that all three of us were standing for the last turn. Pandemic had delivered a very intense game experience. If I had really paid attention to the reviews and rankings this should not surprise me, but all of us (even RMN Mom listening from the other room) were positively overjoyed with the game experience. Pandemic gave us an intense game the demanded we pay attention to our unique abilities and employ strategic thinking in a time-pressure environment. So intense was the game I forgot to take the usual gaming action photo! Winning the game is very satisfying; there is a real feeling that we “saved humanity.”
I am glad we added Pandemic to our game collection. Youngest RMN has pulled the box out several times in the day since the game and is studying it deeply. This game will definitely land on the RMN gaming table again. Youngest RMN has even asked if they can take it to Korea to introduce the cousins to next trip.