How To Play Pandemic Board Game - Rules & Characters Involved

How to Play Pandemic The Board Game

Pandemic the board game is a multiplayer version of a creative thinking game. It requires making and altering strategies, find innovative solutions to the problems, intelligent planning, and cooperation. The creator of this game, Matt Leacock, got bored of playing competitive games like Monopoly or chess, where one aims to win without using creativity. Contrary to such games, Pandemic unleashes an individual’s potential to think about crises and problems and methods of solving them. Each player plays a specific role to gather resources that will help find a cure.

How to set up the board game?

As per the pandemic game rules, you require different accessories. Ensuring everything available is essential, such as the game pieces and the pandemic board. So, you can grab a pandemic board game set or make one yourself.

The Goal of the Game

The game is about an outbreak of a global disease rather than a pandemic in a virtual world. Players forming part of the disease-fighting squad need to travel worldwide to find a treatment and avoid the pandemic outbreak from spreading. The game’s goal is for the playing team to find a cure for all four diseases before they get out of control.

Number of Players

Pandemic is a cooperative multiplayer strategy board game and requires 2 to 4 players.

What You Need

  • 1 Board depicting a world map which connects different cities of the world
  • 7 Player Pawns
  • 6 Research Station (Wooden/ plastic research stations)
  • 6 Markers (4 cure markers, one infection rate indicator, one outbreak marker)
  • 59 Player Cards (48 city cards, 6 Epidemic Cards, 5 Event Cards)
  • 48 Infection Cards
  • 7 Role Cards
  • 4 Reference Cards
  • 96 Disease wooden Cubes (24 each in 4 colors)

Preparing the Deck

All players need to make sure there is enough space for each player, and all the components required to play are available. Enough space should be made available so that players can look at others’ cards too. Follow the below steps of pandemic game rules to prepare the deck set up for the playing area:

  • Put the board with an easy reach for all players. Have the six research stations and disease cubes placed nearby.
  • Have the disease cubes separated by colors into four different supply piles. Place one research Station in Atlanta, where the Headquarters of the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, is located.
  • Place the outbreak marker at ‘0’ space on the outbreak track. They need to be tracked through the game to track the number of outbreaks.
  • Put four cure markers or indicator pieces next to the indicator track. Discovered cure indicator tracks will help you to track and spot which of the four diseases are cured.
  • Now put the Infection rate indicator to the leftmost ‘2’ space of the infection rate track.
  • Infection cards specify the disease and the city infected. The next step is to shuffle the infection cards and then flip three cards. You need to put three disease cubes as per the corresponding color of the card on the city highlighted as per the card.
  • Now flip another three cards and put two disease cubes over each of these two cities. Now flip another three cards and place a single disease cube over each of the cities. (By now, you will have put 18 disease cubes, as per the corresponding color of cities.
  • The nine flipped-over cards form part of the Infection cards discard pile. The remaining infection cards form part of the infection card deck.
  • Now you need to shuffle the character (role) cards, and then each player needs to be given a character (role) card. A character (role) card allows a player to have unique skills. The pawns of matching colors for these roles need to be placed in Atlanta. You remove the remaining character (role) cards and pawn cards from the game.
  • The next step is to shuffle the Player Cards (city and event cards) and distribute the cards as per the following numbers:
  • Two-player game – 4 cards each
  • Three player game – 3 cards each
  • Four-player game – 2 cards each
  • The final step towards preparing the deck is to choose the level (difficulty) of the game by selecting the number of epidemic cards.
  • Four cards for beginners’ level
  • Five cards for standard level
  • Six cards for a Heroic level game.
  • Now divide the player cards in an equivalent size to match the number of piles with the number of epidemic cards you are playing with. Shuffle a single epidemic card with face down into each deck (pile). Stack them to form the player’s deck and place the smallest pile at the bottom. Whoever has been sick the most recent becomes the first one to play.
  • To play the game, every player’s chance is divided into three parts. First, do actions, then Draw two player cards, and Infect Cities.
  • Once the first player has infected the cities, the player to the left plays next. (It is a good idea to give free advice – use city cards during actions and event cards anytime).
  • Drawing an epidemic card, the infection rate tracker moves up. Check the infection tracker and draw the same number of cards.


Different Characters and Their Skills

There are different characters a card player can choose from that have unique skills. You can choose what character you want to play after each game first infection and after each player has their cards. The different characters are as below:

1. Contingency Planner

This role can take an event card from anywhere in the Player Discard file and then place it over his role card. It is important to note only one event card can be on his role card at a given time.

2. Dispatcher

During the action, the dispatcher can move any pawn with the owner’s permission and move another player’s pawn as his with the owner’s agreement.

3. Operations Expert

The expert can build a research station without using or discarding a card. He can also move from a research station to a city by removing any city card.

4. Medic

This character can remove all cubes of a single color when diagnosing a disease. Once an infection has been cured, the Medic can remove all cubes of a particular color from that city. While this activity can happen throughout the game, this will not be counted as an action.

5. Scientist

Using four city cards of the same disease color, the scientist can cure a disease. This does cost a research station and an action.

6. Researcher

During the share knowledge action, this character can give any city card to another player in the same city. This can happen in either player’s turn.

Actions to Take

A player can do up to 4 actions in each turn. The same action can be performed multiple times or use a combination of actions. You can discard cards from your hand and move them to the player’s discard pile.

  • Movement Actions: You can drive or Ferry to transfer to a city linked with your current city by a white color line. You can take a Direct Flight to the city names on the card by discarding a card. You can take a Charter Flight by eliminating a city card matching with the current city you are in to move to a new city. You can also take a shuttle flight to move from one city having a research station to a different city with another research station.
  • Build A Research Station: You can discard a city card matching the city you are currently at and build another research station.
  • Treat Disease: You can treat the disease by removing one disease cube if you happen to be in a city with the disease. If the disease color is cured, then you can remove or eliminate all disease cubes. Once all the cubes of the cured disease get removed, you need to flip the treatment (cure) indicator to the eradicated side.
  • Sharing knowledge: You can share knowledge when both players are in an identical city and agree to give the city card matching the city you are in to a different player. Alternately you can take a city card from another player, provided it matches the city you are in. A player needs to discard one card or play the event card if he has more than seven cards.
  • Discover a Cure: When you are in the research station, remove five city cards of similar color to treat a disease. It would be best if you moved the disease’s cure marker to the cure indicator. If there is no cube of that color visible on the board, then the disease is eradicated.

Changes to the Game According to the Number of Players

The game and its rules are generally based on how many people are playing. So, the following changes are introduced depending on the number of players:

  • Number of cards – Players receive cards at the beginning of the game
  • If two players are playing, each will receive four cards to start the game with. With two players, it isn’t easy to get a medic onboard.
  • Two players will need to stay closer to each other to share information, and hence they will be able to cover a smaller region.
  • Each will receive two cards with four players, and with three players, each will receive three cards.
  • With five players or more, the deck will run out quickly.

How to Win the Game?

Being a collaborative game, follow the pandemic game rules, and you will win this game by curing and eradicating all four diseases. However, you will lose the game if there are eight outbreaks; you cannot place the required number of disease cubes on the board or draw two-player cards after completing his actions.

If you are bored during the Pandemic and lockdowns, then what better time to play the multiplayer board game Pandemic? It is an exciting and cooperative team game played together. So, now that you know the rules get together with your partner, closest friends, and family to share the delights of winning the game.

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