Pandemic: The Board Game Review

Screenshot from Pandemic: The Board Game
It's Pandemic: The Board Game, but not actually the board game, it's the digital version of the board game. I know, it's confusing.

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Asmodee Digital
  • Publisher: Asmodee Digital, Z-Man Games
  • Release Date: 24 Aug 2018
  • Time played: 1.4 hours

What is it

Pandemic originally started life as a co-operative board game created by Matt Leacock and published by Z-Man Games in 2008. Unlike many board games which are competitive (i.e. the players have to try and beat the others) in Pandemic you have to work as a team to stop deadly diseases spreading around the world. Each player takes on a different specialist role such as the Medic who is more efficient at curing disease or a Quarantine Specialist who can prevent disease spreading to neighbouring cities.

The game was quite successful and has won several board game awards. In fact, there have been several spin-off titles created including the critically acclaimed Pandemic: Legacy which is one of the highest ranking board games on

The digital adaptation of Pandemic was actually released as early as 2014 on mobile platforms such as iOS. According to Metacritic, the game fared rather well with a Metascore of 83. The digital adaptation eventually made its way onto Steam on PC in 2018 (10 years after the physical board game was released) and remains unrated on Metacritic. On Steam, the game has a "Mixed" rating based on 104 user reviews (55% are positive).

How I got it

I managed to get this game as part of the Humble Board Games Bundle (November 2018) which came with a lot of digital adaptations of rather famous board games such as Twilight Struggle, Agricola and Colt Express. It also came with a copy of Pandemic and after trying out the physical board game for the first time earlier this year, I was curious to see how the digital adaptation fared.

Screenshot from Pandemic: The Board Game
The game includes character animations which is a nice touch

What I like:

It's Pandemic!

The original board game of Pandemic is good fun and this digital adaptation more or less mimics the mechanics of the physical game. The only difference is that there appears to only be a Solo mode and by extension a Hotseat mode. So if you don't have any friends huddled around your computer, you'll have to take on all roles by yourself. More on that later.

Character animations are kinda cool

I like the fact that each of the characters you can play in the game have their own animations, which is a nice touch considering nothing much else is animated on the screen (except for the floating disease cubes).

Route suggestions

If you select a city some distance away, the game will give you multiple route suggestions that you can cycle through (i.e. if you have a City card that allows you to take a flight to cut the number of turns to your destination, it will show this as a possible route you can choose).

Steam Achievements

The game has 20 Steam Achievements you can work towards. There are no Steam Trading Cards to collect.

Screenshot from Pandemic: The Board Game
Despite having multiple players on your team, they're all controlled from the same computer

What I dislike:

Can only play Solo or Hotseat

This seems to be the biggest beef that fans of the game have, to the point that there's even a petition to get online multiplayer in the game. "Remote Play Together" was implemented for Steam back in October last year which allows players to play couch co-op games with their friends online, however, when I tried to get this feature to work with Pandemic, my wife always timed out when attempting to connect to the game. I'm not sure if it's a connectivity issue on our end or the fact we're playing from computers within the same house, but as far as we're concerned, there's no way to play online multiplayer with this game or even couch co-op to be honest since when I tried using the Logitech F710 controllers I have on the Steam Link, the game didn't recognise them.

So, the only two options left are to play the Solo mode where you control the entire team yourself or playing Solo mode but as a Hotseat game, i.e. giving the mouse to another player sitting next to you when it's their turn. Not an ideal setup.

Score – 6/10 (Okay)

If you're happy to play a solo version of Pandemic, then this game might be worth a try.

However, if you want to experience how Pandemic is truly meant to be played, this digital adaptation isn't it. Do yourself a favour, buy the physical board game and have your friends over for a board games night instead.

Is the game worth $14.50 AUD?: No. Considering this game doesn't have any online multiplayer and the mobile versions are half the price, I couldn't really recommend paying that much unless you're really a big fan of Pandemic and you don't mind playing solo.

If you like this game, you might like…
[ LINK: Asmodee Digital: Pandemic ]


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