OBJECTIVE OF PANDEMIC: The objective of Pandemic is for the players to discover the cures for all four diseases before they are defeated. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 4 Players 

MATERIALS: 4 Reference Cards, 5 Role Cards, 48 Infection Cards, 59 Player Cards, 96 Disease Cubes, 6 Markers, 1 Gameboard, 6 Research Stations, 5 Pawns, and Instructions 

TYPE OF GAME: Cooperative Board Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 8 and Up 


This post contains some partner links for various products.

Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Cooperative...
  • STRATEGY GAME: Players must work together playing to their characters' strengths...
  • COOPERATIVE BOARD GAME: Only through teamwork will you keep the world safe from...
  • WORK TOGETHER AND SAVE HUMANITY: Four diseases threaten the world, and your...

Acting as disease fighting specialists, the players are burdened with the heavy task of finding all the cures for sudden outbreaks before it is too late. Players must balance treating viral hotspots, researching the cure, and building research stations to speed up the process. If the players are unable to find the cure before the time runs out, or if the disease spreads past the point of recovery, the players lose the game! 


To begin setup, place the gameboard in the center of the playing area. Shuffle the Role cards, dealing one to each of the players. Every player should then collect the pawn that correlates to their card. Any remaining Role cards or pawns are placed in the box. One research station is placed in Atlanta, and the rest are placed beside the board. 

The outbreak marker is placed on the beginning space of the outbreak indicator, and the infection rate marker is placed on the first space of the infection rate track. The disease cubes are divided by color and placed beside the board in four stacks. The Epidemic cards are placed to the side for the moment.  

The player cards are then shuffled and dealt to the players. The rest of the player cards are divided into a number of piles, depending on the difficulty level of the game. The piles should be divided so that they are as equal as possible.  

An Epidemic card is shuffled into each of the piles, and then each pile is stacked on top of each other, forming the draw pile. The infection cards are shuffled and placed in the middle as well, creating the infection draw pile. The player who has been sick most recently will be the first player. The game is ready to begin. 

Don’t have any friends to play with? Pandemic can be played as a solo board game!


Gameplay begins with the first player and continues clockwise around the group. During their turn, a player will complete four actions, draw two cards, and take on the role of the infector. Once their turn is over, the next player will begin their turn. 

Players may complete their choice of four actions during their turn. Some actions give the players unique abilities, whereas others may allow them to complete a research station or share information with a friend. The action depends on what the player would like to do.  

Once they have completed their action, a player will then draw two cards from the draw pile, adding them to their hand. If they draw an Epidemic card, they must follow the rules found on the card, rather than adding it to their hand. Once they have drawn two cards, the player will then take on the role of the Infector.  

The player will draw cards from the infection draw pile that is equal to the current infection rate, adding one cube to the pictured cities as well. If the pictured city is of a color that has already been eradicated, then there are no cubes that have to be added. Outbreaks occur when a city has three cubes already on it, and a cube must be added to each adjacent city, thus spreading the outbreak.  

Once all infection cards are resolved, the player is able to end their turn. The next player will begin their turn. The game continues in this manner until all cures have been found or the players lose the game. 


The game may come to an end in two different ways. If the players are able to find all four cures in the allotted amount of time, then the players win the game. On the other hand, if the players exhaust the disease cube supply, an eighth outbreak occurs, or there are no longer cards in the draw pile, then the game comes to an end, and the players lose.  


The classic Pandemic game is always a good choice. But if you get bored of the standard edition, there are some awesome variations out there to switch things up!

Ellie Phillips
Latest posts by Ellie Phillips (see all)