Publication date2008; 12 years ago (2008)Genre(s)Players
  • 2–4
  • (5 with On the Brink expansion)
  • (1–6 with the In the Lab expansion)
Setup time10 minPlaying time45 minRandom chanceModerateSkill(s) required

Pandemic is a cooperative board game designed by Matt Leacock and first published by Z-Man Games in the United States in 2008.[1] Pandemic is based on the premise that four diseases have broken out in the world, each threatening to wipe out a region. The game accommodates two to four players, each playing one of seven possible roles: dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher, operations expert, contingency planner, or quarantine specialist. Through the combined effort of all the players, the goal is to discover all four cures before any of several game-losing conditions are reached.

Three expansions, Pandemic: On the Brink, Pandemic: In the Lab, and Pandemic: State of Emergency, co-designed by Matt Leacock and Tom Lehmann, each add several new roles and special events, as well as rule adjustments to allow a fifth player or to play in teams. In addition, several rule expansions are included, referred to as "challenge kits".[2]

Pandemic is considered one of the most successful cooperative games that has reached mainstream market sales, condensing the type of deep strategy offered by earlier cooperative games, like Arkham Horror, into a game that can be played in a limited time by a wider range of players.[3]

Aside from expansions several spinoffs have been released, most notably Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 adds an ongoing storyline and permanent changes to the game and has been rated highly by the website BoardGameGeek on its board game rankings.[4][5]

Leacock began designing the game in 2004, after realizing that competitive games were making for strained evenings with his wife. He based it on the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak.[6]