What are you playing this weekend? Like most of the world right now our family is self isolating or if you prefer “sheltering in place”. We have been trying to find ways of entertaining ourselves without getting too frustrated with these quarantine measures.
We can only watch so much Netflix and video on demand. My son and I play video games but again I can only play for so long before I get bored and Mom isn’t really into video games so she is left out.
We have always enjoyed regular board game sessions and with the current environment, board games have become more important. We have our usual goto games such as Codenames, 7 Wonders: Duel, Ticket to Ride, Azul , etc most of these are competitive games and being cooped up 24/7 can lead to hurt feelings and generally can turn into a bummer of an evening.
Which is why, lately, we have turned to cooperative games. Cooperative board games are great because they encourage teamwork. The best co-op board games provide opportunities for players to band together against some great threat and combine their intellect to create the best strategies.
So we decided there was no better time than now to try out Pandemic: Legacy Season 2.
For those unfamiliar with “Legacy” games: Legacy board games are games whose rules and components change over time based on the outcome of each game played and the choices made by the players. Often players will make physical changes to the game, for example: marking or destroying the cards, placing stickers, destroying components, opening sealed packages etc..
The changes made in Legacy board games are designed to be permanent. A Legacy game’s full experience is played out in a campaign that can only be played once. To replay the full experience again, you need to purchase another copy of the game or, if available, a “recharge pack”.
Z-Man Games has created a series of Pandemic games (see chart below) they are well made and fun to play. Pandemic task players with stopping a global pandemic from killing all of humanity.
|Pandemic: Legacy Season 1 (Red Edition)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 (Yellow Ed)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 (Black Ed)||Prime||Buy Now|
|Z-Man ZM7102 Pandemic: 10th Anniversary Edition||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: On the Brink||Prime||Buy Now|
|Z-Man Games Pandemic: The Cure||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: In the Lab||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: State Of Emergency||Prime||Buy Now|
|Z-Man ZM7124 Pandemic: Fall of Rome||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: Reign Of Cthulhu||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: Contagion||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pandemic: Iberia||Prime||Buy Now|
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 made a splash a few years back by incorporating persistent elements between games turning single sessions into multi-installment stories. Instead of resetting every time the board comes out of the box, choices in any given game now became permanent, with long-lasting consequences. The changing elements means that every game will be unique and the decisions you make in your current session will affect future games.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is similar with an added element of players adding supply cubes to the board to ward off the plague. In this version, the world has been ravaged by a virulent plague and humanity very survival hangs in the balance. It is up to you to get the last remaining cities the supplies they need while unraveling the mysteries of the plague. Screw up too badly, and you’re not just wrecking the game you’re currently playing; you might be ruining the Earth for every game you play after this one.
It may sound odd to play a game that has similarities to what is happening in the real world but it seemed to help us process what is going on. Peaks and valleys are built into the game and it forces you to take things one step at a time and to respond to the situation. The “Legacy” aspect helps, because win or lose you are making progress, gradually moving the situation forward.
Legacy Season 2 is a dystopian game, beginning at the exact moment that a teetering situation might topple over into an all-out, extinction-level event. Being able to push the scale back a little—even just by moving little pawns around a board, dropping off supplies, and moving on—is a surprisingly uplifting way to process this increasingly wobbly feeling equilibrium of our own.
If playing a game that hits too close to home and is not your cup of tea, then take a look at Forbidden Island, and the other Forbidden games. You might like their story more than Pandemic.