Another must-have expansion for fans of Pandemic! It's fun and interesting and offers up fresh, new ways to play. Some things you might be interested to know...
1) Ideally, you should have the base Pandemic game and the first expansion, On the Brink, to play In the Lab for full compatibility. For the cards to match, you should either have the second editions of Pandemic and On the Brink, or have the two compatibility card packs for the first editions of the base game and On the Brink.
2) The lab portion of the game takes a playthrough or two to adjust to, but it's reasonably easy to get the hang of if you're not impatient. :) Essentially, instead of curing diseases with 5 cards of the same color, you have to first discover, sequence and test the cure in the lab, before you can officially cure it (with 3 cards instead of 5). This replaces the previous method of curing, so if you're playing the In the Lab expansion, you CANNOT cure using the old method (and the Field Operative role is not used). I actually really like this because while cubes are more in demand, I worry less about having to discard city cards.
3) I can't yet review on the team games as I've only played this with 3 players so far, but it's pretty neat that there are so many variations.
4) There's even a variation on the game where you can play single player! I've only tried this out a couple of times, but it works similarly to the regular game, only you play with the "assistance" of the CDC. Works with both In the Lab or traditional play.
5) The new boxes/inserts for the latest editions are capable of carrying ALL the components for the base game and the two expansions, with admittedly some lifting to the cover (there are two boards now after all -- the base game board plus the new lab board), but still, it's nice that I can carry it with just one box.
6) Z-man is offering FREE additional scenarios/challenges for Pandemic. This isn't specific to the On the Lab expansion, but I only just learned of it so I'm including it here. There are two so far, "Isolation" and "Government Shutdown," available on Z-man's site. "Isolation" is for 4 players, while "Government Shutdown" is for 2-5 players. IMHO it's cool that they're providing extra value so we can change things up from time to time.
7) Tom Lehmann, the co-creator of On the Brink and In the Lab, seems to frequently check the Pandemic boards on Boardgamegeek. It's great because if you ever have questions about specific rules, for example, he and others on the board will provide clarification (I've had personal experience with this). So with this game, I don't feel like I'm just some anonymous person who bought a game from some faceless corporation, given some instructions and a "good luck with that." Don't get me wrong, the rules are for the most part very clearly laid out, so you're not going to be running there with a bunch of questions. But sometimes when you're just not sure about something, the fact that you can get answers from one of the guys who actually designed the game is awesome.
I did not have any issues with my vials as another reviewer did, so hopefully they've fixed whatever that problem was. I did buy my second edition of Pandemic and On the Brink early, so that I had the problem with the misprinted board (missing the connection path between Sao Paulo and Lagos) and the edge-to-edge printing of the cards (that lets you "see" what cards are coming up), but at this point I believe all the latest editions have fixed those issues, and with In the Lab itself I didn't have any problems.
In Pandemic: In the Lab, the second expansion for Pandemic, you will use a new game board that allows you to move the pawns in a laboratory. The goal of this activity is the same as in the base game – finding cures for diseases but this time in a new way. Behind sealed bio-hazard doors, scientists race against time to sequence diseases, take samples and test cures. Pandemic: In the Lab includes four new roles, new Virulent Strain events and a Worldwide Panic Mutation scenario. Players can compete individually or on rival teams (when playing with four or six players). Can your team work together in the lab to save humanity.
From the Manufacturer
In Pandemic: In the Lab, the second expansion for Pandemic, you will use a new game board that allows you to move the pawns in a laboratory. The goal of this activity is the same as in the base game – finding cures for diseases – but this time in a new way. Behind sealed bio-hazard doors, scientists race against time to sequence diseases, take samples, and test cures. Pandemic: In the Lab includes four new roles, new Virulent Strain events, and a Worldwide Panic Mutation scenario. Players can compete individually or on rival teams (when playing with four or six players). Can your team work together in the lab to save humanity?.