This game is fun. I’ll say that right off the bat.
My co-workers and I cracked this one open for lunch-time play. I had glanced at the rules the night before as there really aren’t much to them. Explaining them took but a few minutes.
The game begins with each player being assigned one of five roles (scientist, researcher, dispatcher, operations, medic). Each role has a special capability that gives that player “super powers” in a given area. Since we were only playing with three players, we came up with dispatcher, operations and medic. In essence, without the scientist and researcher you are handcuffed by needing to utilize more cards to cure a disease and share information.
Setup is quick. You shuffle the Player cards and give each player three to start. The cards allow you to move from city to city in a rapid fashion OR to cure a disease. You must allocate your resources to find a balance between the two needs. At that point, the initial outbreaks are placed on the board. All players start the game at the CDC in Atlanta.
The flow of the game is quick and simple. Each player gets four Actions per turn. An action can be used for movement from city to city, treating disease, curing a disease or building a research center. Lots of chatter is needed to see which player is going to address what issue with the resources at hand. You CAN’T show your cards to fellow players, so communication is essential.
Once a player finishes his actions, two more Player cards need to be added to his hand. A max of seven cards per hand is allowed, so you must let other players know what you plan to discard. If you make poor use of your cards through travel or discarding, you may end up without the necessary number of cards to cure a disease. No disease cure, no win. Simple.
After you draw your cards, you need to infect a few more cities at a rate dependent on the Infection rate.
We lost. We didn’t grasp certain strategies initially and by the time we had cured two diseases, we ran out of Player cards. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.
This game is a blast. It is simple enough that I could teach my middle-school and upper elementary school sons to play it in a few minutes. That is just what I plan on doing once we finish up at work.
This is reminiscent of some other great cooperative games, such as Red November and Space Alert.
For me, it looks like this one will have a high replay value. I know that once we were defeated by the system, we were going to set it back up and give it another go. You just HAVE to beat this thing. Great game. I give it an 8.