Pandemic Board Game Review

This month’s board game review is of Pandemic, for the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club. I have been super excited to play Pandemic for a long time, as I had heard such great things about the game.

What is Pandemic?

As humanity is gripped by 4 deadly viruses spreading rapidly, it’s a race against time for players to find a cure, by traveling around the world, sharing knowledge and preventing more outbreaks. Players play together, instead of against each other so you all either win or lose. The fate of humanity is in your hands!

If one or more diseases spread beyond recovery, humanity is doomed and all players are defeated. To win, players simply must find the cure for all 4 diseases and save the human race from elimination.

How To Play

You and your fellow team are members of a disease control force. You must work together to cure 4 diseased before a huge outbreak occurs and humanity is doomed. Pandemic is a cooperative game so all players win or lose together.

Players lose if:

  • 8 Outbreaks occur (a world panic happens)
  • Not enough disease cubes are left when needed (a disease has spread too much)
  • Not enough player cards are left when needed (Your team has run out of time)

Each player takes on a specific role. A card is drawn at random for each player to determine the role of each player. These 7 roles have special abilities to improve your team’s chances of winning.

  • Contingency Planner
  • Dispatcher
  • Medic
  • Operations Expert
  • Quarantine Specialist
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
The Role cards have stunning artwork!

Play is kept simple. On each go your turn is divided into 3 parts. First, you do 4 actions (these actions are listed on an action card that is easy to hand for reference), then draw 2 player cards (these become your hand) and then finally, you infect cities.

Players should freely give each their advice- you are working together remember! Players should let everyone give their opinions and advice. Sometimes this can take a while, while you plan what you want to do to maximise the future of humanity! The player whose turn it is does have the final say.

Good points and Bad Points

I LOVE nearly everything about this game!

  • It’s easy to play
  • The board itself feels thick and sturdy
  • It doesn’t take up much room- No big bulky box
  • The artwork is stunning
  • Quick to learn
  • Instructions are clear and detailed
  • Makes a change to play a cooperative game rather than competitive
  • Fast paced- Keeps you on your toes and tensions high
  • Never gets boring
  • varying starting difficulty levels to keep the game challenging

There are not many bad things to say about this game, at all. But, if I were to nitpick…

  • It can seem daunting at first, but after 1 round, everything is easy
  • Lots of small pieces that a fiddly to handle
  • cooperative games aren’t for everyone

Extra Info

Pandemic was designed by Matt Leacock and is published by Z-Man Games. It was won various awards including the Golden Geek Award in 2009 by BoardGameGeek, which lists a further 34 awards and nominations… a truly astounding game!

The game is suitable for players aged 8+ but I do think my 6 year old would be able to play with a little help. It is suitable for 2-4 players, but I don’t see how more couldn’t join in if teams are made.

The idea of saving humanity from some grotesque disease may not be for everybody but the designer has also created Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, which are totally different themes- but still cooperative. Keep your eyes peeled for reviews of these games on my blog soon!

Where To Buy

Pandemic is available for £36.99 RRP and is available from all good board game shops and Amazon.

My First Bananagrams Review

We love a good game and so do the kids. Board games, role playing games, card games and word games are all regularly played in our house. Rarely a day goes by where we don’t play a good game. We are fortunate enough to be members of the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club and this month we are featuring My First Bananagrams.

What is Bananagrams?

You may have heard of or played the ‘grown up’ version of Bananagrams. Bananagrams is a fast paced word game that resembles a solo version of Scrabble, only without the board, bonus squares, and letter values that equal points. You can read more on the original Bananagrams game here.

My First Bananagrams uses lowercase letters and word building, combo letter tiles to help nurture your child’s love for wordplay and word games.  There are lots of ways to play My First Bananagrams so lay can be child-led and fun… all of the time!

What’s Different In the Kids Version?

There are a few differences between the original Bananagrams and the kids version, My First Bananagrams. Firstly the tiles are larger, colourful and there is a mix of single letter tiles and combo letter tiles. Each tile features a lower case letter or letters, and has a baseline between each letter. This helps small children who often find it hard to figure out which way up a letter goes- eg: p & b.

The game packaging is slightly different too. The original game is in a yellow bag, but the kids version is in a green bag. Quite clever really, as a young banana is green!

The original Bananagrams letters (top) and the My First Bananagrams letters (bottom)

How To Play

You can play My First Bananagrams in the same way that you would play the original Bananagrams, or there are lots of simple mini-games to play. I also let my kids decide for themselves how they would like to play. The My First Bananagrams game is very similar to the original game, but a little simpler and quicker.

The game is played with 1-4 players. Set all 80 single-letter tiles face down in the center of the table. This is the BUNCH. All players then take 15 tiles each.

A player shouts SPLIT and everyone turns their 15 tiles over. They then race to arrange their letters to make words (avoiding spelling mistakes, proper nouns or abbreviations) in an intersecting word grid. Words must read left to right horizontally or top to bottom vertically.

You can rearrange your gird at any time during the round and as often as you like. At anytime during the game, players can shout SWAP and put one of their tiles back (facedown in the bunch), but they must swap it for another tile. In the original version, 1 tile is swapped for 3.

The winner is the person who has used all of their tiles to make a word grid. They shout BANANAS. Play stops and the grid is inspected for mistakes. If someone shouts SPOTTED BANANA play resumes for all players this gives the player a chance to fix their grid. Until… BANANAS is called again 🙂

If that game is too hard, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to play Bananagrams. The leaflet included in the game gives some great alternative games you can enjoy.

My First Bananagrams For Preschoolers

Spell your name- Preschoolers can find the letters that they recognise to try and spell their own name.

A-Z – Line up all of the letters from A-Z or find the matching letters when all are laid out face-up on a table.

Matching Pairs- My 3 year old loves playing ‘matching pairs’ with the letter tiles.

Find the *** coloured tiles- Let your child find the red tile (for example), and the let them know the letters that they have found.

My First Bananagrams For Early Readers and Readers

Sound it out- Pick a single letter tile. Think of words that begin with that sound. You could even have a go at spelling it too!

Word families- Choose a combo-letter tile and find a consonant or vowel to make a word.

Rhyme Time- Pick a combo-letter tile and use the consonants to make rhyming words.

Vowel power- Use the ai, ea,ee,oo tiles. Add begging and ending consonants to make 4 letter words.

Diggity Digraph- A digraph is a single sound comprised of 2 letters. For example; sh, wh, ch, th. Try adding letters to the beginning of these sounds to make words.

Final Thoughts

I LOVE the original Bananagrams game, and now I also love My First Bananagrams. The child’s version is just as awesome as the grown-up version.  A simple game, that can be played in so many different ways. It’s great for the whole family and makes learning through play super fun too.

The packaging is a lovely cotton back that zips closed. It’s perfect for taking on family holidays too. Last year we took Bananagrams on our caravaning holiday. It fit perfectly into our suitcase, and was a great game for passing time in between activities and rain showers! I shall definitely be packing My First Bananagrams in our suitcase for our next holiday.

A super game that is a firm favourite of ours. t’s been in the house just under a week and has been played with non-stop by my 6,4 and 3 year old girls.

Where to buy

My First Bananagrams is available on Amazon for £15.99

*My First Bananagrams was gifted to us as members of the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club in exchange for this post. All words and opinions are my own. *