Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 9 February 2016

Infectious Fun:- Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

Manufacturer: Z-Man games

Designer: Matt Leacock & Rob Daviau

Pandemic Legacy is an ongoing campaign game where you play multiple games much akin to the original game Pandemic. Each game represents half a month within a year. Should you be victorious each time you play then you only play the first half of each month, meaning that you are looking at 12 games minimum and 24 maximum. Yes there is a maximum, because as you play this game things change and as things change you add stickers to the board/components, destroy cards and various other irreversible things. When you buy Pandemic Legacy you get 1 play through of the campaign, so is it worth it?

If you’ve never played Pandemic before, well firstly I’d recommend it, but here’s a quick introduction: In Pandemic you play as a group of medics trying to protect the world from 4 diseases. Each turn you get 4 actions which are generally used to move around the world, treat victims, set up research centres, and finally to cure the diseases. At the end of each turn you draw 2 cards from the player deck, which can be coloured cards that represent cities of the world, 1 off events cards with powerful helpful abilities or the dreaded epidemics which make the diseases spread faster. You then draw 2 cards off of the infection deck which shows you the 2 new cities that gain a disease cube. If you want to know more we reviewed it back in August.

If you have played the original game then things will feel very familiar as you set up for your first game. You might notice some conspicuous blank spaces in the game manual or even the sticker sheet filled with end of game bonuses. Perhaps you’ll spot the 8 boxes that remain unopened within the game box, the dossier marked with letters and numbers, and the ominous deck of cards that states STOP do not turn over this card until... The way Pandemic Legacy changes is largely based on this deck, the game will tell you to draw cards after set events and this will tell you which boxes/dossier windows to open which in turn may reveal all kind of things. You’ll encounter new rules that help, hinder and obfuscate, new characters, new end game bonuses, extra story background and more.   

During each game depending on your actions you may be adding stickers directly to the board, these generally make things worse for you in the long run, it’s unlikely that after your first game anything will look too bad, but 10 games later you might have created some trouble spots that cause you problems every time. At the end of the game though you will have your chance to get even, the game gets tougher, but so do you! Each game you get to pick 2 upgrades to hep you along the way

All of this combines together to give a wonderful sense of progression. Stories unfold; both the game’s story and your own personal story. Perhaps your Hong Kong was the capital of pestilence; perhaps New York was the beacon of light while the rest of America crumbled. And while the world changes so do these noble few who fight against the onslaught of disease attacking the world, as time goes on these newbies become bitter veterans with their own strengths and hang-ups. This is the wonder of Pandemic Legacy, it draws you in, makes you part of its story (which, by the way, surprised me on at least 2 occasions with the direction it went), makes you feel that desire to play the next game and see where it goes.

Sure Pandemic Legacy is a ‘limited game’, but tell me honestly, how many games on your shelf have given you more than 12 plays? You may hate the idea of damaging the components as you play by adding stickers etc, but I assure you, it’s worth it! Pandemic Legacy is an experience that I think every board gamer (who enjoys co-op games) should have under their belt. If you haven’t played it yet then get a group of 4 friends, share the cost between you and prepare for something that will blow your mind.

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