You can take a look at our video review of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 by clicking here. There’s a lot to be said about that game, and the impact it’s had on the hobby. It wasn’t the first legacy style board game, but is easily the most popular. Season two has been one of the most hotly anticipated games recently and we finally had the opportunity to demo it at GenCon 2017. Spoilers-wise we didn’t get to see any of the legacy stuff or much of a story outside of the setting, but if you don’t want to see anything at all then stop reading. You’ve been warned. I took a lot of pictures so this will be more a photo essay than anything in order to whet your whistle and show you what this game looks like.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Each demo was approximately 30 minutes long, and it played the entire first game. The major thing to start off with this game is that it is set 71 years after the events of Season 1. That should tell you a few things. Firstly, your beloved characters are long dead. Secondly, the world and it’s lore are very different. And thirdly, the artwork and style has changed to reflect that.
The backstory of the game was contained in a neat little card, but the actual characters you have tell a lot more of the story. You can see below the character avatar stickers you put on your sheet. The artwork is really cool, and wildly different from Season 1. The art style reminded me of many post apocalyptic style games, and this is one of those.
We got to choose a sticker for the picture and we were able to choose a ‘job’ which is basically one of the character roles from the previous game. The jobs have slightly different nuances to them which relate to the new series of actions each character can take on their turn.
This is the character sheet. It has four other slots outside of your job, presumably for upgrades or scars. There’s exposure spots near the bottom that are scratch offs. As you get exposed to the plague you’ll reveal those which cause other game effects, which are invariably negative. Of special note is the box in the bottom left, which has a spot for you to write the place of death which is somewhat foreboding (and I love it!)
Here’s a look at the actions you can do on your turn. You’ll have the standard 4 actions as per the rules you’re used to, but there’s two actions you can take which are free. That means you can do them as many times as you want during your turn. The aim of this one isn’t to try and remove disease cubes, but to spread and put out ‘supply cubes’.
The map starts with three cubes on each space, and the infection deck spreads a green coloured plague. Each infection card removes a supply cube which represents waning medical and food supplies for survivors to protect themselves. As you can see the starting map is made up of just the Atlantic ocean and the coastal cities. There’s some unique floating cities which are called havens that are uninfectable, they’re basically like massive Waterworld style floating islands that are isolated in that sense.
The artwork is actually very refreshing, in that it’s highly stylized and just a breath of fresh air compared to the basic pandemic aesthetic. The cards in the player deck and the infection deck are all very limited in the locations they can show. The same number of cards are present, but the board only has 10-12 cities that can be infected. That means you’ll get the same cards coming up over and over again, but it also means you can charter boats (no flying in this one) a lot more.
Green plague cubes are placed in a city if the infection card of that city is drawn and there are no supply cubes present. The game doesn’t track outbreaks, but has a track similar to it. It simply counts the 8 green plague cubes. If ever all 8 are on the board you immediately lose. There was also no way to combat or remove the green cubes in the prologue game.
The game was neat, over all. I think they’ve done a good job on staying true to the nature of Pandemic at it’s core, but making the mechanics and style of play different enough that you aren’t doing the same things as in Season 1. You still feel like you’re flying around the map trying to play whack a mole, except it’s more like trying to keep plates spinning as you WANT the black cubes on the board!
When the supply gets low it’s time to start freaking out! Something to note was that in the prologue there are a few cards in the player deck that were unfunded events, such as ‘one quiet night’ as well as a couple of cards that enabled you to enhance actions you took on your turn. One card enabled you to produce not 1, but 3 cubes with the production action. There was also an OR option on that card with a blank space that was perfectly sized for a sticker.. Like a moron though I forgot to get a picture of it.
You’ll be doing the traditional set collecting, but instead of curing diseases you’ll be building supply depots (white buildings) in a city that matches the colour of the set you get. The prologue ended when you built two supply depots, which we were able to do without ever seeing a green cube on the board! A perfect game!
If you like Season 1, then this will probably be right up your alley! The most exciting thing about this game is the inland exploration. Something that’s not available in the demo we played, but we believe it’ll put stickers out onto the board which is conveniently divided up into squares. What does the world look like now? Who knows, there’s only one way to find out.
For me I’ll be giving this one a miss, and that’s not to say it’s a bad game, it’s simply that I’ll be giving almost all legacy games a miss. They’re way too much of a commitment for me in terms of gaming. We played 18 games in season 1 (yes we lost our share of months!), which is probably about 30 hours of gaming. I’d rather play so many different games in that much time in the future. But for Pandemic fans, the wait is nearly over! This one will be on shelves sooner than you think!