Friday, January 9, 2009


Subject: Geography, Science
Category: Major World Cities, Epidemiology
Ages: 10 and up
# of players: 2 to 4
Time to play: 45 minutes
Mechanics/Game Type: Cooperative

Ratings (1 to 5)

Educational Value: 4
Gaming value: 5
Aesthetic value: 4
Price value: 5
Ease of play: 4
Younger adaptability: 5

My comments: If you are not a fan of cooperative games, this one will likely change your mind.

Four "viruses" (colored cubes) are spreading around the world and the players need to work together to stop them. There is one way to win: collect the cards needed to create cures and eradicate the 4 diseases. There's three ways to lose, however: too many outbreaks, too many virus cubes on the boards, or running out of cards. I have played this games four times now; I have seen all the ways to lose and have yet to win.

Each player is randomly dealt one of five roles. The Medic, for example, can remove all virus cubes on a city instead of one; the Scientist only needs four cards instead of five to create a cure. Players move around the board trying to remove virus cubes, collect cure cards, and build research stations. Meanwhile, more cities are infected at the end of each turn. If more than three virus cubes come up in a city then an outbreak occurs, spreading the virus to adjacent cities. Pick a dreaded epidemic card and not only do more virus cubes appear, but the cards with the cities that already have infections get shuffled and placed on the top of the pile to be drawn again!

There's no need to hide cards or create strategies alone--this game is challenging enough to win--so it is great for younger players or those who generally shy away from complicated board games. The board displays the world's major cities, though you have to look carefully to see the actual location of that city. The pawns, virus cubes, and research stations are made of wood. The cards are a nicely sized and drawn with geographic and population information on them.

This has become one of my favorites; I've been won over to this cooperative game. link to this game: