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PANDEMIC LEGACY: SEASON 2

Reviewed by Chris Kovac

PANDEMIC LEGACY: SEASON 2 (Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $79.99)

 

Pandemic Legacy: Season Two is a four-player cooperative legacy game, designed by Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau, and the second game in the Pandemic Legacy series.   Legacy games are those that have the board and game play modified as you play the game.  This game takes place 70 years later than the season 1 game and though we just survived the first pandemic, the results of the pandemic have resulted in a near collapse of civilization as we know it and only through a network of havens have we (the players) kept the world going.  Now a new pandemic is back and we have to find lost labs and cities to discover a cure for this new plague before the end of the year or civilization will fall.

The board is seeded with supply cubes and plague cubes on their respective spaces along with putting the supply centre markers near the board.  The number of supply cubes used in a game is based on the number shown on the month you are currently playing.  The month also tells you (by star symbols) how many objectives must be completed in order to win the game. 

Objectives come from the legacy deck (more on this later) and change through the game.  The incident marker starts on the zero space of the incident track and the infection marker on the starting space of the infection track.  Now the top card of the legacy deck is turned over and read. Do what it says on each card until you reach a pause or stop card.  You only continue through the deck to the next stop/pause card if you fulfill all the conditions on the back of the current stop/pause card.  The legacy deck is what happens to your characters over the course of a year.  Next, you supply the grid by taking all your supply cubes and putting any number of the cubes on locations on the board.   Then you “infect” the grid by shuffling the infection deck and turning over nine infection cards removing a supply cube back to the stockpile from every city revealed.  If a city has no more supply cubes to remove, a plague cube is put on the city instead.  Put the infection deck and the discards on there respective spaces on the board.  Now you prepare the player deck. 

You first decide which of the rationed events (determined by how much you win or lose) if any you will put in the player deck.  If you have any “unrationed” events which you get from the legacy deck, you put them in the player deck as well.  The player deck consists of these event cards plus city cards and supply cards.  This deck is shuffled and the players get a number of cards based on a table (between 2-4 cards).  These hands are revealed face up so all players can see them. You can have a maximum of seven player cards. Remaining player deck cards are dealt face down into five piles.  Into each pile,  an epidemic card is added. Shuffle each pile separately before putting them into one large draw deck. Finally, you select a character card.  At the start you can name your character, decide which haven he/she starts in and give them an initial starting profession (which gives them special powers or actions). Now you can start the game. 

Each player will take their complete turn before moving onto the next player.  The turn is divided into four steps:

  1. Check for exposure.  If you start your turn in a city with a plague cube, you scratch one of your seven exposure spaces.  If you reveal a scar marker, you have to give your character a scar effect which will affect the character for the rest of the game.  If you reveal a death head, your character has died of the plague!
  2. Do four actions. The basic actions are move along a connection to an adjacent city or haven space and sail to a named port city if you discard a card with that port city on it or charter a boat (if you have a city card of your current city you can go to any port).  Other actions include making a supply cube, playing a supply card to make supplies at your current have or supply centre, sharing cards with other players in your space, building supply centres (discarding five cards of the same color as your current space) and delivering/picking up supply cubes from your current location (you can also transfer cubes between players at your current location).  Picking up supplies and transferring supplies are free actions.  Finally, you can recon an area in marked recon spaces by having a supply depot there and fulfilling the requirements in terms of the number and type of cards shown on the space.  If successful, open the package number shown on the route which will give you new map pieces, characters, rule, cards, etc.  to modify the gameboard and game.
  3. Draw two cards from the player deck.
  4. If you draw an epidemic card, do not add it to your hand and instead A) increase the infection rate by one space and B) infect a city by drawing the bottom card from the infection deck and remove all supply cubes from the space (the drawn card is placed in the discard deck). Shuffle all the discarded infection cards and place them face down back on top of the infection deck. Turn over as many infection cards as shown on the infection track, removing a supply cube or placing a plague cube as necessary. For each plague cube placed move the incident marker down one space on the incident track.  If a fourth plague cube is placed on any one city space an outbreak occurs where each adjacent city linked to the out-break city must remove a supply marker or get a plague cube.

The game continues until you have completed the required number of goals (i.e. building a required number of supply depots or exploring a required number of times).  You lose the game if either a player cannot draw two cards from the draw deck or the incident marker reaches the last space of the incident track.  You cannot advance on the monthly campaign track until you have won the game for that month.  If you win, you decrease the population of any city with plague cubes, check the legacy deck for more cards to draw, resolve any cards placed in the game end area if necessary and spend production units (based on a table) to buy new character abilities, city card improvements, infection card improvements or to increase the population of cities on the board.  Your rationing level for rationed events drops by two for the next game.

Pandemic Season Two is in many ways a game for both the fans of Pandemic and especially those of Pandemic Season One.(featured in the Winter 2016 issue of Gamers Alliance Report).  If you are not a big fan of either, this game may not be for you.  Also, as in Season one, once this game is complete,  the game is essentially garbage.  You cannot really replay the game unless you buy a whole new game which I think is a big fault of legacy type games in general.  On the other hand, the tale told through the game as you are trying to find these lost labs and ultimately a cure is a fun ride while it lasts.  The game is well produced with good rules and pieces. (It should be noted that the game comes in a yellow AND a black box. The games are the same; only the box art is different.) 

In order to win Pandemic Legacy: Season Two, players need to plan their moves well and cooperate as well as having a little luck with the timing of the epidemics and infections.  You have to adapt your strategy as you progress in order to meet the changing circumstances. An eight out of ten even with my reservations with Legacy games due to the strong theme and gameplay. – – – – – – – Chris Kovac


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