Pandemic Legacy Review

pandemic legacy review

Year: 2015 | Players: 2-4 | Minutes: 60 per session

This Pandemic Legacy review was made after completing the campaign.


What is Pandemic Legacy?

Pandemic Legacy is a cooperative campaign game designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau and published by Z-Man Games. You and your group are attempting to wipe out diseases that are spreading throughout an ever-changing world.

There is no difference between the red and blue versions of Pandemic Legacy.


Pandemic Legacy Gameplay

If you know how to play Pandemic, then you should have absolutely no problem playing Pandemic Legacy. The basic rules of Pandemic Legacy are the same as the original Pandemic, but the game evolves as you play through each session.

Throughout Pandemic Legacy, you and your teammates will be moving around the world attempting to curing diseases and prevent a global outbreak from occurring. This is a full co-op, so you can help each other out by talking about the best ways to deal with each disease.

The whole game lasts one year, but each session will cover one month of that year. If you lose, you will go back and do that month over again. If you lose during that month a second time, you will move on to the next month. This means that the whole game could last just 12 sessions (good luck pulling that off!), or you could play up to 24 games.

pandemic legacy board (spoiler-free)
See, spoiler-free!

So what else makes this version of Pandemic different? Well, the world changes through each playthrough/month, so you will have different rules to follow and more obstacles in your way. Your characters will gain new abilities, stickers will be introduced, cards will be ripped up, and a whole lot of other fun stuff will pop up. The legacy deck, which is where you will find out about these changes, is what makes this game special.

We’re not going to go into spoiler territory, so that’s where we’re going to leave this gameplay overview. Again, check out our Pandemic review if you want to learn the basics of the Pandemic system.



Pros

  • The legacy system works so well in this game. Those surprises that you grab from the secret boxes add a new type of tension never seen in a co-op game before. They both change the look of the game and give you new ways to attempt to try to solve the Pandemic puzzle.
  • There is a much bigger storytelling element to Pandemic Legacy than in base Pandemic. Your characters can change and the events that occur will make you feel like you’re inside of an original disaster movie.
  • Something else that was very impressive to me was that just about every game seemed to go down to the wire. Regardless of whether we were successful or had to re-play a month, the games were always challenging without feeling like they were impossible to solve. That must have taken the designers a long time to get just right.
  • The theme works well for the base game, so it’s no surprise that it works in the legacy version, as well. Everyone can get behind saving the world from crazy diseases and it creates a story that you will definitely remember.
  • The legacy system also makes it so every group’s experience is going to be different. Your map end up looking very different from everyone else’s and it seems like every group has a different story to tell after they finish their campaigns.
  • The rules changes throughout the game are awesome. At first it’s regular Pandemic with a few changes, but after a while it becomes a whole new game. My group got so excited every time we knew that we’d be looking at the legacy deck.

Cons

  • My group loves the original Pandemic, but people who weren’t fans of that game probably won’t like the Legacy version too much. That’s one of the reasons why I’d like to see more original games use the legacy system.
  • Speaking of the legacy system, some people do not like the idea of ripping up parts of a game or being done with it after a finite number of sessions. Heck, even I was uncomfortable with destroying game components at first. Still, I recommend giving Pandemic Legacy a shot because chances are you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth (and then some) even if the game is unplayable after you’ve finished your campaign.

Final Thoughts

The original Pandemic is one of my group’s favorite cooperative board games, so it should come as no surprise that we were also huge fans of Pandemic Legacy. Is it better than the original? Well… maybe. As far as gaming experiences go, this is right up there near the top for us. But it doesn’t ruin the original or replace it on our list of top co-op games.

Whether you’ve played the original Pandemic or not, you really have to give this one a try. It’s fun just like the original, but it comes with a whole bunch of nice surprises. There’s really no other board game out there like it right now.


Pandemic Legacy Links

BoardGameGeek | Amazon | CoolStuffInc | eBay


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