There is no good kind of pandemic. At least there isn’t if you’re referring to disease. If you’re referring ti fun, then there are a couple of very good kinds of Pandemic; the first being the video game developer named Pandemic Studios, the second being the board game Pandemic. While I love the work of the former, I write today to sing the praises of the latter.
The premise of the game is that viruses have broken out all over the world and the players of the game must cure them. Play takes place on a game board which represents a map of the globe, certain cities being highlighted as locations where players can visit and viruses can infect. The severity of this infection is represented by colored cubes which players must work to remove from the board. All the while their collectively working to find cures for the viruses by collecting colored cards with the names of cities on them. Once all of the viruses are cured, the players win.
There’s a lot going on at once in a game of Pandemic, and at times it can be positively overwhelming. This level of engagement is far more exciting than simply going around in circles on a pre-described path. And the biggest, most important part of the gameplay is the team aspect. Unlike some of the most popular board games, this game requires extensive team work and problem solving. Players must work together in order to win. While many games are based on secrecy and are extremely competitive, Pandemic is almost entirely conversational and cooperative.
Almost everyone has played the game Monopoly. It’s the first exposure many people get to a first-hand knowledge of antitrust law, and the last time they trust a sibling (usually the banker) with their money. But the competitive elements of the game generally result in a three-hour session ending in “I quit!” It doesn’t feel very productive and almost never has an actual ending. Pandemic, on the other hand, is an extremely conclusive game. There’s more ways to lose than there are to win, and everyone gets the feeling of having accomplished the impossible when they do.
There’s no doubt Monopoly is a classic game. It will always have its place in the closets of game players all over the world. But in light of the state of the economy today, perhaps we should do something a bit cliche and focus on team work a little bit more in our day-to-day lives. Sure, Monopoly has a very simple premise, easy-to-follow game play, and plenty of chance to keep it interesting, but Pandemic has all of these things in far greater quantities despite not having dice to roll. And on top of all of that, there’s no reason for anyone to cheat! Goodbye pointless discussions and games that never end unless someone gives up! Hello Pandemic! The good kind of Pandemic I mean.