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Why is Pandemic Legacy Season 1 One of the Best Games in the World?

Updated on April 27, 2020
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I am a big fan of boardgames, especially larger strategic boardgames. I have played a lot of them and are still trying new games.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 1 | Source

Pandemic Legacy Season 1

Pandemic Legacy Season one is the legacy variant of the popular board game pandemic. In the game you play as a team and try to prevent the world from four spreading viruses.

The Regular Pandemic Game

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is the legacy variant of the regular Pandemic game. In this game the players also play as a team to try to eradicate the viruses. Every player has his own role, and every role has a different special ability. For example, the medic is allowed to remove all virus cubes from a city for one action, while other characters can only remove one per action. The goal of the game is to find the vaccine for all four of the viruses in the world. A vaccine can be made in a research center. If a player delivers five cards of the same color to a research station, a vaccine for the virus matching the color of the cards is made. To get five cards, the players have to trade cards. In the game it is very important that the players find the good balance between managing the outbreaks of the viruses and trading cards to get the vaccines. Because Pandemic Legacy is strongly based on this game, it is very much recommended to first play this game a couple of times, or at least once, to understand the mechanics.

What is a Legacy Game?

A legacy game is a game in which the players play through a story. During the story the game changes, e.g. cards are added and removed, new characters become available or stickers are added to the board or to cards. Because of the changes made during the game, a legacy game can only be played once. Does that matter? No! Another difference between a normal game and a legacy game is that a legacy game lasts much longer. Therefore you will still have a lot of playing time.

Risk Legacy
Risk Legacy | Source

What does Pandemic Legacy Season 1 add to Regular Pandemic?

In Pandemic Legacy Season 1 the players play twelve months. Every month is represented by one game. If the players win, they move on to the next month. If they lose, they try again. After two losses, the players will continue without a win. The story is told by the legacy deck. This is a deck of cards that the players go through from top to bottom. At the back of the cards you can see which cards are meant for which month.

The board of the legacy variant is pretty much the same as in regular Pandemic, but it is larger and contains some more information. The extra information it has is corresponds to some differences between the legacy game and the regular game. They are:

  • The goals
  • The panic levels
  • The viruses

The Goals

In a regular game of Pandemic the goal is to find a vaccine for all four viruses. The board of Pandemic Legacy shows that there will be more goals added. It shows a timeline of the months and a number of stars with every month. Every star corresponds to an objective that has to be completed in order to win the game. In some months you will have to complete as much as three objectives to claim victory.

The Panic Level

An outbreak of a virus in Pandemic Legacy is way worse than it is in the regular game. Normally, you just want to prevent getting eight outbreaks, because then you lose. It doesn't matter if you finish the game with no outbreaks or seven. In the legacy game it does matter. When an outbreak occurs in a city the panic level of that city is raised by one. All cities start at panic level zero. The consequences of the panic levels are as follows:

  • Level 0 "stable": no consequences
  • Level 1 "unstable": no consequences
  • Level 2-3 "rioting": you cannot use the charter flight action anymore to get in or out this city
  • Level 4 "collapsing": every time you enter the city you have to discard a card from the color matching the color of the city
  • Level 5 "Fallen": every time you enter the city you have to discard two cards from the color matching the color of the city

When the panic level of a city is raised, the players place a sticker next to the city on the board. When the level is raised again, a sticker is placed over the old one. These stickers stay there for the rest of the campaign. This means an outbreak in January can hurt you in December. Therefore it is crucial to manage the board state and prevent as much outbreaks as possible.

The Viruses

To keep the game exciting for everyone I won't elaborate on the viruses. However, the big frame around the vaccine suggests that some stickers need to be placed there at some time.


Another thing the story adds to the game are the bonuses. At the end of every game, the players can choose an end game bonus to improve either a character of the board state. Furthermore, if the team wins it gets the win bonus which allows them to select an additional bonus.

Pandemic Legacy Season 1
Pandemic Legacy Season 1 | Source

Pandemic Legacy Season 1 is a Great Playing Experience

The game is made very well and therefore it is ranked very high by fans of board games. On board game rating website Boardgamegeek it is ranked second, only after Gloomhaven. This shows the game is really good. It gives many evenings of playing. One game takes around an hour and you will play at least twelve. After you finished it is very nice to discuss with others that played the game too on how they went. You will see that every group will have made different choices along the way, and will therefore have played a totally different game.

What is your Opinion on the Game?

Do you want to play Pandemic Legacy Season 1?

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Pandemic Legacy Season 2

For those of you who liked the game there is a sequel. In the second season you will be supplying cities to prevent then from becoming ill, instead of fighting the virus itself. You start with just a part of the map and have to explore the rest of the world.


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