Pandemic Board Game by Z-Man Games

Pandemic Board Game by Z-Man Games

Save the world in Pandemic, the cooperative strategy game about being daring scientists and first responders during a global crisis. Travel from continent to continent, set up research stations, and cure diseases until the world is safe.
Base Game

Setup Time
15 Mins
Play Time
45-60 Mins
2 to 4
Age Level
8 and Up
Our Reviews
$37.00 USD
$37.00 USD
Our Reviews Details What's in the Box? How To Play Rule Book Reviews and Questions

Pandemic - A Family Review

Save the world with your family, but not as super humans—as everyday scientists! This globe-spanning game was a blast to play with our older kids.

Although Pandemic is based on curing four worldwide diseases, our kids loved changing the diseases to other dangers. Why combat a microbe when you can pretend there are zombies and robots you need to eradicate?

Pandemic is a rules-heavy game, so be prepared to read the manual before explaining and to answer many questions during gameplay. We found the kids needed a lot of direction their first few turns, but they got the hang of the game quicker than we expected.

One special note—be thoughtful about “quarterbacking” while playing, by which we mean directing all the strategy. Because the game is cooperative and everyone can see all the cards, it becomes very easy for one person (let’s be honest, usually a parent) to direct everyone on how to play their turns. Although this may lead to the most efficient game, it’s less fun for everyone else! We found the most enjoyment when we discussed our game strategy as a team but let the kids direct their turns.

9yo: “I enjoyed having to work out the plan with my family and hoping I got the cards I wanted.”

A big plus about the game being world-spanning? Our kids got to see and read many global city names they weren’t familiar with! The game also has a great look (very early 00’s action/drama aesthetic, think Kiefer Sutherland), lots of tactile cubes, and little scientist pawns.

11yo: “It was pretty cool it had real-world places.”

Pandemic is one of the hardest cooperative games to win, but you can modify the difficulty level to your taste super easily. Our first session took just over 45 minutes on the easiest difficulty… and we won!

Gameplay can take a lot longer depending on the difficulty you set and the amount of player focus. We found that (with adult help) 9+ seemed pretty suitable. And if you’re dealing with teens, they’ll easily be able to play it independently. After the game? Our kids were wishing there was a Pandemic Junior version just for them.

Want a cooperative game that takes teamwork, luck, and strategy to win even half the time? Definitely pick up Pandemic.

Helpful Hints

  • Pre-read the game rules and plan out how to most clearly explain them to kid players.
  • The epidemic interaction with the infection deck is one of the coolest, smartest game mechanics around.
  • Want a different aesthetic? Try two other games built on the Pandemic System: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King or Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.


Find the Cure

Find the Cure

From designer Matt Leacock, Pandemic is a cooperative game of teamwork for two to four players. As members of an elite disease control team, you must keep four deadly diseases at bay. Work together as you travel the globe to treat infections while collecting the cards you need to discover a cure for each disease. But the clock is ticking as outbreaks and epidemics fuel the spreading plagues. As a cooperative game, players win or lose together. Only by working together can you keep the outbreaks in check and find the cures in time!

Avert Global Disaster

Avert Global Disaster

With diseases cropping up all over the planet, Pandemic takes place on a global scale. Over the course of the game, players use actions to move between hotspots while treating diseases and setting up a network of research stations that help them cure diseases and make movement more efficient. Each player manages a hand of cards matching the colors of the four diseases. These cards allow them to travel more quickly between cities or—if a single player can collect five cards of the same color—discover a cure for a disease. But plenty of challenges stand in their way. Outbreaks can spread diseases across the board and random epidemics can intensify a disease in a moment’s notice. It’ll take everything you’ve got to keep things under control.

A Unique Set of Skills

A Unique Set of Skills

Whether there are two players or four, everyone must work together applying their various skills to benefit the team—and the world. To that end, at the start of the game, each player takes one of seven role cards that grants a special ability. The Scientist, for example, only needs four cards of the same color to cure a disease, and the Dispatcher can move other players’ pawns as their own. Each role opens new possibilities and syncs with the other roles, so players can devise new strategies to help the team most effectively.

Save the World

Save the World

In addition to the roles, there are other ways to add variety to every game of Pandemic. Different cities are infected at the beginning of each game, presenting a new challenge every time. Plus, expert players can make the game more challenging by increasing the chances of deadly epidemics. It will take clear communication and precise planning to deal with these dangerous diseases. Only the most experienced teams can overcome this threat and save humanity!

What's in the Box

  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Game Board
  • 7 Role Cards
  • 7 Pawns
  • 59 Player Cards (48 City Cards, 6 Epidemic Cards, 5 Event Cards)
  • 4 Reference Cards
  • 48 Infection Cards
  • 96 Disease Cubes (24 in 4 colors)
  • 4 Cure Markers
  • 1 Infection Rate Token
  • 1 Outbreaks Token
  • 6 Research Stations

How to Play


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