It used to be, when people came to my house, there was a constant argument over what game we would play to accommodate all of us. With the demise of couch co-op gaming, our choices were becoming increasingly limited. We have played Diablo III and Borderlands so much that we could probably make it to the end boss blindfolded. Recently, we have not had the problem. Recently, all we want to play is Z-Man Games’s Pandemic Legacy.
Now, I’m no expert on table-top gaming. My experience is limited to the odd game of Monopoly and Connect 4, but Pandemic Legacy has to be one of the most unique board games I have ever played. The idea is simple enough, you and up to three friends work together to stop the spread of deadly viruses all over the world. It kind of reminds me of Risk, but way more terrifying. Virus outbreaks start out small but can turn into a huge problem very quickly, every move and every choice needs to be made carefully. We spent 20 minutes discussing what to do before anyone took a single turn. Why spend so much time planning a move? Well, for starters there are two or three win conditions per game and a dozen or so ways you can loose. It makes for an insanely tense experience every action and every card you draw could spell relief or disaster.
What makes the game really unique (at least in comparisons to the board games I have played) is that changes, good or bad, are permanent. And I don’t mean end of the game permanent, I mean writing on the board, putting on stickers, evening tearing up cards permanent. Without giving too much away, the game is really only meant to be played 12-24 times. Your characters can die and you can’t use them in future games, cities can be destroyed and when you start a new game they are still destroyed. In addition, there are sealed boxes that can only be opened when specific events happen in the game and the rulebook is filled with empty spaces with “insert rule b sticker here”.
We have only played a few games so far and, as I write this, the only thing I can think about is getting everyone together to playing again. As my consoles gather dust under my TV, we sit huddled around my kitchen table staring at the remains of a disease rampant world. We are all excited and a bit nervous to see how messed up everything gets after a few more games. It’s fun, terrifying, and completely killing my video game time.
If you and your friends are looking for a new kind of challenge, you can check the game out here.