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Daniel Perlmutter
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Pandemic: The Cure is a short (30 Min.) dice game based on the smash hit game Pandemic and from the same designer. The game sees the players as members of a crack disease fighting team out to cure the world of four deadly viruses. Players each take on a specific role and use dice for their actions as well as to track the spread of the diseases.

Each player takes on a unique role and players take turns, rolling dice which allow them to take actions such as treating a disease, collecting a sample, moving, or other special abilities. After taking their actions, players can pass on any samples they've collected to other players and/or try to find a cure with those samples. At the end of the turn, the dreaded infection dice are rolled as the diseases continue to spread.

Set up for this game is extremely simple as are the rules explanation. As someone who plays a lot of games I never found the original Pandemic to be overly heavy but it was just a little much for some of my non-gamer friends. Pandemic: The Cure, on the other hand, is so simple to teach and play that it can come out with almost anyone. In particular the use of unique dice for each role means you don't have to worry about explaining special abilities to other players. They just roll the dice and look at their options.

One thing this game has in common with it's big brother is the near constant tension. Each roll of the dice is fraught with danger. When rolling for the disease you're constantly worried about outbreaks, when rolling for your turn, you worry about epidemics. The fact that gameplay is all taken care of by the makeup of the unique dice means you don't get distracted by the mechanics of the game, instead you're in it the whole time. And while original Pandemic is a more thoughtful, strategic experience, the inability to really think through too many moves ahead with Pandemic: The Cure makes the gameplay feel that much more visceral. The less deterministic approach might not be what everyone is looking for in a game but I feel it fits the theme well. You're always just on the edge of control.

Now it is a dice game, which means there's a lot of luck involved, but that doesn't mean you're not making interesting decisions throughout the game. First, and most obviously, there is the push your luck aspect. A great feature of this game is the ability to re-roll your action dice as many times as you want to. Didn't get that 2nd treatment action you were looking for, roll again and keep rolling until you get it. The trick here is that should you roll a biohazard symbol the dice is locked and you're one step closer to your next epidemic (and to losing the game.) There are also event cards available for purchase with resources available to the whole group. When and how to use these cards can really make the difference between winning and losing and can make for lively discussion.

Original Pandemic is a great game, still one of my favourites, but I found that when getting together with other gamers I would pull out heavier games and when trying to get new gamers to try a game I would find something lighter. Pandemic was getting lost in the middle. Now, with Pandemic: The Cure, I've found a game that I can play with anyone. It's a great gateway game but can easily be played as a filler between longer games on a games night. I was at first hesitant to pick this up, thinking I didn't need both this and Pandemic in my collection, but I'm so glad I did. Pandemic will still see play once and a while, that's not going anywhere, but I get the feeling Pandemic:The Cure, though not necessarily a better game, will end up getting more play.

8.5/10
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SJ S
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thank you for your thoughtful and well written review!

i have a different perspective regarding the rules. i found teaching casual gamers/newbies the original Pandemic to be much much easier. in the Cure, no one could remember how to "Treat". Does that mean put the dice in the bag? in the treatment center? the players were constantly confused about this. also "Take Samples" was very confusing to the players. people were repeatedly taking samples from the region and not the treatment center. (in fact, there have been 2 video reviews removed from BGG due to messing this rule up). also, the idea of sacrificing your die and keeping it with the sample was confusing. further, having to roll the dice in the treatment center when an epidemic occurred was confusing to the players (not to mention seems needlessly harsh!)... it seems to be more intuitive to take the amount of dice for the new infection rate from the bag.

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Daniel Perlmutter
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I can see that being a problem but I guess because I knew the rules well enough, and there is no hidden information, this really is a game where "let's just play and I'll explain as we go" can actually work. And the streamlined approach (only six locations to worry about) makes the game seem less intimidating.
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Max Lampinen
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duckduck wrote:
And the streamlined approach (only six locations to worry about) makes the game seem less intimidating.

Do you think it has been streamlined bit too much? Some people say that it feels very abstract. It's what's keeping me from buying this.. Does it still (somewhat) feel like you're saving the world?
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