Many consider 2008’s Pandemic to be the ultimate “gateway” board game. That is to say that it’s the kind of game that is perfect for those who don’t consider themselves to be hardcore board gamers. It’s hard to argue against that designation given that Pandemic‘s basic premise – cure four diseases plaguing your game board – and co-op gameplay quickly captures the attention of a variety of gamers.
However, if you’re looking to move beyond the gateway scene, then you need to know about Pandemic: Legacy.
Pandemic: Legacy‘s basic gameplay is similar to Pandemic. That is to say that both see a team of 2-4 players work together to remove a series of “disease cubes” from a cardboard global map using a variety of actions and strategies.What separates Legacy is what happens after you finish the game.
Instead of cleaning up the board and starting over as you would in a standard game of Pandemic – or most board games – Legacy adds a plotline to the core Pandemic experience that spans the course of 12 separate games. Think of each one of your playthroughs as an episode in a seasonal storyline format. Each episode even dramatically alters the game in some way that carries over to the next episode. Even better, the narrative in question is a brilliantly told story that expertely incorporates a variety of possibilities.
Pandemic: Legacy currently occupies the coveted number one spot on Board Game Geek’s community-voted list of the greatest board games of all-time. Now, Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 has finally arrived.
In an interview with IGN, Pandemic creators Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau dove into what you can expect from Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 and why it is the one board game that all gamers need to be aware of.
“I think board games do a lot of things well that video games don’t, and video games do a lot of things well that board games don’t,” said Daviau. “I always say a video game is like a photograph, and a board game is like an impressionist painting. We have to pick the things we’re going to focus on and let all the other details fall away, and you just end up with a different feel.”
It’s hard to argue with that comparison in the case of Pandemic: Legacy. There’s really no video game experience that offers what Legacy offers in terms of a deep narrative bolstered – not hindered – by its multiplayer elements. So far as Season 2‘s story goes, Daviau promises that Legacy fans should prepare themselves for an ever-changing narrative.
“When the game starts there are three havens in the world, which are sort of the last bastions of human civilization,” Daviau explains. “Every year the leaders of the havens get together and go on a kind of business retreat, then they come back and reallocate resources and give an update to their people. Then one year they just don’t come back.”
While the idea of avoiding spoilers in a board game sounds absurd, it’s absolutely necessary in this case to not expand upon Legacy Season 2‘s story beyond that teaser. Even if we could, the game’s creators warn that the plot is so dynamic that it’s unlikely that two gaming groups will have the same experience.
“Like in this game the way you explore the world is a little more in your control,” said Daviau. “Chances are you’re not going to see everything on your first time through…I think people will have more widely divergent experiences than with the first game, because one of the things we noticed was that people wanted a little more say over how their world went.”
Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 is available now across major retail outlets. Just be sure that you play through Season 1 first.