Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Manufacturer: Z-Man Games
Designer: Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau
Pandemic Legacy is probably the most talked about game of 2015. It is now the number one board game ever, according to BoardGameGeek. It is in the revolutionary ‘legacy’ genre. And we’ll probably only ever play it once. We’ve finished the game now, the world is safe from global pandemic and is quickly getting back on its feet, but do we agree with all the hype? Here is the Yellow Meeple’s SPOILER FREE review.
Pandemic Legacy is played over the course of 12 months. The game begins with rules absolutely identical to the original Pandemic; however the rule book has lots of empty spaces which hint that perhaps the rules may change as you play. The rules will change – they will change MASSIVELY, however it is very gradual with rules being added slowly so by the end the game is many times more complex, but you don’t feel like it is. Some rules, although they still exist, fade into the background and become less important as the game progresses so the rules and choices on your turn are never overwhelming.
The way the game plays out is controlled by the legacy deck – a stack of cards which you only turn over based upon the instructions on the back – these cards may simply be flavour text or they may change the game forever, instruction you to open different doors in the dossier, to add stickers all over card and the board or to open one of the 8 boxes within the main game box. You get two chances to play each month and if you lose a game you receive additional funding which gives you the event cards, familiar from the original game, however if you win you lose some funding so the game tries in some way to moderate its difficulty to suit your ability. When you finish a game you can also upgrade different elements of the game in ways that you think will make the next game easier, although of course the rules may entirely change for the next game you play so those upgrades you thought were useful might become useless or even a hindrance.
We played this game with just the two of us. We decided this was the best option to give us lots of flexibility about when we wanted to play and because I didn’t think I could wait from week to week to play with friends given I was so excited for this game! I have no regrets in doing so as we definitely make a great team in co-operative games, however I would say that I think the game was easier because we only played with two. The simple reason is that less bad stuff happens between each of your turns and therefore it is worth planning ahead a turn or two. Also, the city cards are less distributed giving one player more of a chance to collect the cards needed to discover a cure to a disease. Honestly though, I don’t care – Pandemic Legacy is a great couple’s experience and with each game probably lasting only 45 minutes on average we were still able to fit it around busy lives.
Wow! What an incredible game. I cannot believe we even hesitated to buy it due to its limited number of plays. It gave us 15 plays which puts it in the top 3 games we’ve played the most ever. I wish I could tell you more about it – in the coming weeks we hope to write “Pandemic Legacy – Our Story” which will be a spoiler filled extravaganza to tell you all about the incredible things which happened to us over the 12 months of the game.
Pandemic Legacy is without doubt my favourite board game ever and receives the Yellow Meeple’s first ever 10/10.
(For those who care, we have still not opened box 8. Box 8 will never be opened. Yes, I’m interested to see what is in the box, but at the same time I like the idea of not knowing and I want to keep the game as a true record of what happened. Who am I to know if Season 2 will be standalone or will build on my fortune in Season 1 (probably really unlikely)? I also intend on framing our board and having it on the wall when we finally get a game room – if you visit and haven’t played the game when that time comes, then why not?!! You deserve to see spoilers on my wall!!)