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Z-Man Games Pandemic Legacy Board Game, Red
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- 60 minute playing time
- Shape the world, the characters and even the diseases
- Ever-changing elements means that every game will be unique to your group
- An epic twist on the now classic pandemic mechanisms
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From the manufacturer
Designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau
Create your unique Pandemic Legacy experience by
- Making research stations permanent.
- Changing the state of cities.
- Altering the genetic code of the diseases.
- Upgrading your characters
- (Both Red and Blue versions are the same in content).
The world is on the brink of disaster. In Pandemic Legacy, your disease-fighting team must keep four deadly diseases at bay for a whole year. Each month will bring surprises and your actions in each game will have repercussions on the next. Will you let cities fall to the diseases? Will your team be enough to keep the viruses at bay for a whole year? Craft your own unique Pandemic experience with Pandemic Legacy.
- An epic twist on the now classic Pandemic mechanisms.
- Ever-changing elements means that every game will be unique to your group.
- Shape the world, the characters and even the diseases.
What to expect
During the campaign, new rules and components will be introduced. These will sometimes require you to permanently alter the components of the game; this includes writing on cards, ripping up cards and placing permanent stickers on components. Your characters can gain skills or detrimental effects. A character can even be lost entirely, at which point it's no longer available for play.
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This is a very different kind of game. Most board games are insular, meaning that you dust off the game, play it, and then put it back on the shelf. Five months from now it will be the same game. You know it, you like it, you know what to expect from it. Sure, maybe this time you'll have the most perfect set of destination cards for your trains (Ticket To Ride) or there might not be any Villages to give you more actions (Dominion), but it's easy to adapt when the rules of the game are the same every time.
Pandemic Legacy is not that way. Instead, it's more like enjoying a season of a favorite TV show. The campaign operates like a storyline, giving each new "episode" (month) of play a different, more urgent feel. There's definitely a sense of building tension as your past successes (or, in my case, catastrophic failures) start to build up. Permanently altering the game itself (omg I have to actually TEAR THIS!?) means that every game feels high-stakes. During the campaign I was obsessed with the game, ready to proclaim it one of my all-time faves.
However, this enthusiasm comes at a price: once you've played through the campaign, it's done. Sure, you COULD always replay it, but realistically...the magic is kind of gone. You know what's going to happen. You know how certain surprises are going to play out and you can use that knowledge to steer the game unfairly. Am I going to keep this game and tell myself that I'm going to replay it? Absolutely. I also still have all three Mass Effect games still installed on my PC. Any day now, I'm going to set out a block of time and play through them all again. Definitely. Just...maybe not *today*...
I have no qualms about giving the game 5 stars, because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, which is an awesome campaign-driven game. My only word of caution for you is this: if you're looking for a board game to add into your long-term rotation, you're better off looking elsewhere. The replayability is amazing until you finish the campaign, and then it falls off hard. Like that one amazing TV show that you love, it wouldn't be the same to go back and watch it a second time through when you already know who dies, who kisses whom, and who was secretly working for the bad guys the whole time.
Here's hoping that the "Season 1" title quickly gives way to a "Season 2!"
We had never played Pandemic before, so we did a few practice rounds first without the Legacy rules in effect. Feeling pretty comfortable with it, we moved ahead in the campaign. Opening the special boxes and putting stickers on the board feels like Christmas. The first time it told us to destroy a card, we looked at each other wondering who was going to be brave enough to rip it up. The way new cards are entered into play, with rules changing permanently (or at least seemingly permanently) as you go, objectives changing and adding on to one another, makes each game a unique experience with changing strategy. There are funded events, characters added into play, upgrades and scars added to characters, mutations added to the diseases, and at the end of each game, depending on whether you won or lost, your funding either goes up or down, which will make the next game either easier or harder. I don't know how anyone could go back to regular Pandemic after this.
At first I hadn't wanted to buy both Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy, but now I think I understand the need for both. As the game's board changes and is modified, I think we'll need a regular Pandemic board (and the expansions!) for playing afterward. Though maybe we'll need to keep some of the new modifications we learned in Legacy? Only time will tell.
Next week, I'm starting a new Legacy campaign with four players. I'm hoping that is even more exciting (will report back soon), but for now, I'm happy to have found a complex and engaging co-op game for two players.
And for people wondering if you can start over with the Legacy campaign after you finish the 12 months, my feeling is that the answer is no. Even if you don't destroy cards, some of the changes are somewhat permanent, adding new rules at certain stages or placing new stickers over the old ones. Each time there is an outbreak in a city, it gets a sticker permanently leveling it from 1-5 (rioting to destroyed) which changes the play. So even without destroying cards, you're using the stickers. I don't think you could play through it again after you finish as the 12-month campaign, but I figure it IS likely that whatever state the game is in by month 12, you can keep playing that campaign over and over.
Legacy 2- This game is completely different. It recommends you play the "prologue" version several times before starting the first month and I agree, we only played it twice and it was not enough to learn the new basic rules. And, just like season 1, there are new rules being added constantly. So if you aren't comfortable with the base game it's like playing catch up the whole time. There are all new roles, no disease cubes (plague cubes and supply cubes only and supply cubes are *good* to have on the board) infections *remove* supply cubes rather than add disease cubes, and the available actions you can take are different.
Overal we really enjoyed season 2 and am happy with the purchase but I have a few negative critiques-
1- Our long term objectives were unclear, we weren't doing some of the optional objectives and it turns out those would have led us to things we needed later in the game.
2- It often didn't feel like enough time to complete new objectives before we were just given new parts of the game.
3- At one point we didn't have all the cards necessary to complete a mandatory objective so we had to play a game knowing we would lose it.
So we lost more than we won and we still saved the world anyway. And had a good time doing it!
PRO TIP: When you have to scracth off a card, do it over a tissue to easily collect all the silver stuff that comes off the cards.