Playing time: 1 hour
Let’s talk about Pandemic Legacy. I first saw this at Essen in 2015, and didn’t take too close a look at it. Frankly, it looked a little bit like an expensive re-skin with a few additional details to persuade people to buy it again. I was quite content with my current copy of Pandemic, thank you very much. Also, there were so many other new things to play – Mysterium, Code Names, 7 Wonders Duel…
I was completely wrong about Pandemic Legacy. First I heard people who had bought it talking about how much they liked it. Then I heard a little more about how it worked, and realised it was quite different from the standard version of Pandemic. And so, last month, we bought a copy and have been playing it with a couple of friends.
It is amazing. It’s Pandemic, but as you go along you permanently change the board and the rules. There are secret dossiers you open, cards you add, characters who appear from nowhere. Some of your research stations stay on the board. Your characters develop relationships with each other and gain new skills. The viruses mutate to become either weaker or impossible to cure. Cities which suffer outbreaks riot and descend into chaos, eventually becoming fallen cities.
This is a game which has been really, really well thought through. The rules change, cards are ripped up, and new pieces appear from sealed numbered boxes. The board on which you play your fourth game is different to the board with which you started. The fact that it is complicated doesn’t matter, partly because the complexity builds up over time, partly because every part of it adds to the game, and partly because the core game remains recognisably the same.
Babywise…well, it has even more small pieces than Pandemic. You also have a deck of cards which must remain in order, and you don’t know what that order is, so if the baby gets into the box you’ll be in real trouble. The only baby-friendly element about it is that it’s co-operative, so if one person has to leave the room then it need not bring the whole game to a halt. However, while this isn’t by any means a safe game for babies, I’ve played all five of our games with our one-year-old asleep on my lap.
We’re only part way through, and I look forward to each new game. If you liked Pandemic and you have a regular group of people to play with (because the game evolves, you do need to play with the same group), I can’t recommend Pandemic Legacy highly enough. If you’re new to boardgames, then I’d suggesting starting with something else.
Summary: Buy it now!