Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy

You probably have heard a lot about the Pandemic board game. It has been quite popular for some time. Now, you are interested in getting one for yourself, or perhaps a friend, but you can’t decide between Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy. No worries! In this article, you can learn more about the differences between these two editions of the game.

Below, you can find more information about:

  • How to play the original Pandemic
  • The suitable audience for the original Pandemic
  • How Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy are different from each other
  • The suitable audience for Pandemic Legacy
  • Which edition that is better and more recommended for you

What is Pandemic?

Pandemic is a board game that puts a premise about four deadly diseases breaking out in the world, threatening to eradicate humanity. A group of specialists is deployed to ultimately discover the cures for the diseases. The game is designed for 2 – 4 players, and each player can take one of five possible roles. Pandemic is a cooperative game, meaning that the players must work together to win the game. See also: Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe.

This game is quite different than most other board games. Often, board games have some degree of competition among the players, even when there is also elements of cooperation. However, Pandemic is purely based on cooperation. You can only find all the cures for the four diseases through the combined effort of the players together, before one of the game-losing conditions is reached.

The main difference between Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy is that, the original Pandemic is not a campaign game while Pandemic Legacy is a campaign game. In other words, in the original Pandemic, there is no permanent effect that will last over game sessions. The game can be played multiple times from the initial condition, yet it has excellent dynamics so that no two games can be exactly the same.

Pandemic has been considered as one of the most successful titles in the category. One reason for this is that previous titles of cooperative board games typically require deep thinking and plenty of time to finish. Pandemic is much more accessible to a wider range of people, and is relatively quicker to finish as the average runtime is only about an hour.

How to play Pandemic?

Initially, the gameplay rules of Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy are similar. However, the original Pandemic does not have any permanent effect that will continue to the next time you play, whereas Pandemic Legacy can’t be restarted from zero.

In Pandemic, there is a world map with 48 cities and routes that connect those cities. There are also player pawns, 1 outbreak marker, 1 infection rate marker, and 4 cure markers. In addition, there are 96 disease cubes and 6 research stations. The game also has 4 role cards, 48 infection cards, and 59 player cards.

At the beginning of the game, each player draws a random role card and several player cards. You will need these player cards in order to travel, build infrastructure, or cure a disease.

Each role has a special ability. The five possible roles in Pandemic are:

  • Dispatcher.
  • Operations Expert.
  • Medic.
  • Scientist.
  • Researcher.

All players place their pawns at the research center in Atlanta. Then, shuffle the infection deck, and draw three cards randomly. Each card will show you the name of a city. Place three disease cubes on those cities mentioned on the cards. Next, draw three more cards and place two disease cubes according to the cards. Once again, draw three more cards and place one disease cube on each city.

The player deck should be split into four equal piles. One epidemic card is inserted randomly into each pile. Then, put the four piles back into a single stack to form the player deck. Now, choose the player who has gotten sick most recently to take the first turn.

In a turn, you can spend up to four actions. The possible things that you can do in a turn are:

  • Move to an adjacent city.
  • Discard a card that matches your current city in order to move to any other city.
  • Move from a city that has research station to another city that also has a research station.
  • Discard a card that matches your current city in order to build a research station there.
  • Pass a card that matches your current city to another player who is in the same city.
  • Cure one disease cube from your current city.
  • Discard five cards that has the same color at a research station in order to cure the disease represented by that color.

At the end of your turn, draw two player cards. There is hand limit of seven cards, so you need to discard until your hand size is seven if you are over the hand limit. When you get an epidemic card, you have to increase the infection rate marker, take the bottom card from the infection deck, and put three disease cubes in the city you are currently in.

Then, you also need to pick a number of infection cards according to the current infection rate, and add one disease cube to every city shown. Once a city gets a fourth disease cube, the city goes into an outbreak and spreads disease cubes to neighboring cities. You lose the game if the player deck is depleted, eight outbreaks have happened, or the disease cubes of a color run out. You win when you can cure all the four diseases.

Overview of Pandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy quickly became a top-selling game some time after it was released, and it still is a popular game. This is quite unique because the game puts the Pandemic concepts into a Legacy layout – that is, a game that is physically altered over time to indicate permanent changes. Don’t worry, Pandemic Legacy has plenty of content to keep you hooked for at least 12 months.

Just like the original, Pandemic Legacy is still a cooperative game for 2 – 4 players. The average game duration is still about 45 – 60 minutes per run.

The campaign is driven by a legacy deck which will guide you through the twelve months of run. The legacy cards will tell you to apply changes to the rules or open hidden compartments. The game also includes 8 sealed boxes, a “top-secret dossier” which features various compartments, and several stickers which will need to be applied due to certain events.

How to play Pandemic Legacy

A notable difference between Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy is the initial condition on the board. In Pandemic Legacy, there are ‘only’ 9 cities that are infected with a disease at the beginning of the game. Then, before actually starting the game, you need to check the top card of the legacy deck to see if there is a special rule change for the month.

The players assume unique roles, which are mostly similar to the ones in the original Pandemic. They are dispatcher, generalist, medic, scientist, and researcher. Players take turns in a clockwise direction. Each turn has 3 phases.

First, you may spend up to four actions. You can move, build a research station, treat a disease, cure a disease, or share a card. The same action may be repeated several times in a single turn.

Second, draw two cards from the player deck. However, if you get an epidemic card, you need to draw the bottom card from the infection deck, add 3 disease cubes to the revealed city, shuffle the discarded infection cards, and place them to the top of the infection deck.

Third, infect cities according to the current infection rate. Draw a number of cards according to the infection rate and give one cube to each revealed city. When a city gets into an outbreak, every adjacent city gets one cube. This may lead to a chain reaction. The game is continued until one of the game-losing conditions occurs or the players manage to cure all the four diseases.

Is the Legacy concept goood?

After the game is ended, check the legacy deck to find out how to proceed. You may be asked to draw additional cards, alter the game’s state, or opening a box or a door. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you get 2 upgrade points which you can spend to permanently alter the game. After choosing your upgrades, you can continue to your next game.

Some people are reluctant to buy Pandemic Legacy because of the consumable nature. The game will get permanent changes and eventually end. Once you reach the very end of the campaign, you can’t start over, and you can’t just resell it or give it to someone else due to the permanent changes. So, if you very much prefer a game that can be played again and again from zero, most Legacy games are not for you.

Still, Pandemic Legacy is an awesome game for the category. The game still gives a familiar cooperative experience like the original, but the campaign elements bring very interesting twists into the game. The players are somehow more motivated to win the game if they are really into it, because winning a game now can bring positive effects (though, such changes typically have both positive and negative effects).

Depending on when you start the game and how you play it, you can also get a very unique experience. For example, if two groups are playing with their own sets of Pandemic Legacy, after some time they will end up with very different board conditions and rules. If you really like to shape your own adventure, this game is a fine choice.

Pandemic vs Pandemic Legacy

BrandPandemicPandemic Legacy
Key features- A stand-alone game that can be played multiple times - Starts with many disease cubes on random cities - Great replayability, can restart from zero - Suitable for new players- A legacy game with permanent changes over the course - Starts with 9 cities infected with a disease - Can't be restarted once you run to the end of the campaign - Good for people who like to shape their own adventure

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In general, the original Pandemic is more recommended. It is suitable for new players, and it has better replayability in the sense that you can play it multiple times over and over again without permanent changes. On the other hand, Pandemic Legacy is more for dedicated players who enjoy shaping their own adventure through a campaign game.

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