Let’s flashback to March when I speculated about Pandemic Legacy. We got small snippets of information and tried to cobble together as much information as possible and figure this game out. After playing the first seven months of the game the surface has barely been scratched.To avoid spoilers about specific games played, I’ll just be writing about what comes in the box.
When you open the box you will be greeted by a massive page of stickers that you will begin to pour over and identify the items you want and items that scare you. There are also giant, red, flopping “Top Secret” dossiers with seemingly random assortments of numbers and letters. Temptation to open these is very high but you can’t, you want to, but you can’t.
Then the board, the glorious board. Your whole world for the next few hours of your life all in one place. The familiar sights of the outbreak tracker, infection level, city cards, and infection card make you feel at home. They wrap you up and say “ Come on friend, we’ve been down this road before. It’s a nice casual ride through the park.”
“Hang on the park is over that way, why didn’t we turn?” You say as you miss your turn and notice the section of the board describing what a fallen, collapsing, and destroyed city are. “Oh we are just going to a different park, it will all be okay.”
Your eyes move up slightly and notice that there are 6 spaces for objective cards. Isn’t there just once objective in Pandemic? Cure all four diseases. Then you see requirements for how many objectives you need to complete in each month. Three in May, June, July, August, September, October, and November? You’re not even in the city limits anymore. Your nice casual drive to the park has taken you to industrial outskirts.
Eight small black boxes are included as part of the larger box. Like a kid, you will shake these boxes and try to guess their contents. You will be wrong, there is no way you can truly know what is in store for you. One sticker is applied from that massive sheet to box number eight. “Do not open unless you have lost four games in a row.” A slight chuckle, there isn’t a chance to lose four games in a row, right? You will be wrong, there is no way you can truly know what is in store for you.
Smiling familiar faces greet you, the Medic, Dispatcher, Scientist, Researcher, Specialist. However, they are different somehow. Characters can be scarred, they can build relationships with each other, and can even become better at their jobs!
This comforts you, and you start your first game. Then, less than half way through, Pandemic Legacy begins beating you with a lead pipe, and leaves you in the abandoned, industrial part of town. This event changes the core of what Pandemic is, or was, and forces you to play in it’s new realm. By the third or fourth month you will be begging for a game as easy as regular Pandemic.
The best way I can describe Pandemic Legacy is that it is like playing an app version of Pandemic and playing the different challenges. I fear that I might not bet doing it justice by describing it that way. Sitting down and playing this for a weekend has been one of the best gaming experiences of my life. We laughed at the absurdity of the new feature added that month, raised our voices at each other in heated debate, and cheered when we won a tough month! It is delightfully engaging and cinematic. Players begin to feel and think like their characters, taking on personalities and scars that affect decision making.
If you think you have anything under control in Pandemic Legacy you are certainly mistaken. The game throws so many curve balls at different times in games, it’s more like playing dodgeball than baseball, and it’s done in the best way possible. Legacy properly spices up Pandemic to keep each game interesting. If you have ever had even a mildly enjoyable game of Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy should be a must buy.