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.

Catch Phrase Board Game Review

If you grew up in the UK, ever lived in the UK, or have even heard of the UK then there is a good chance that you will have seen the TV show Catch Phrase. If you have been living under a rock and have no idea what I am talking about, Catch Phrase is a TV show where contestants watch short cartoons to guess a well-known catchphrase. Get these right and they win money. A simple concept, which is probably why the TV show has been so massively popular for family TV viewing since 1986… and let’s not forget the Catch Phrase mascot Mr. Chips!

When we were given the chance to play and review the all-new Catch Phrase board game by Drumond Park, we jumped at the chance! Based on the new ITV reboot presented by Stephen Mulhern, this great family board game will have you in fits of laughter and makes you feel like you’re really on set of the famous TV show. The game is easy to set up and has super simple rules to follow. Within no time, you could be playing Catch Phrase… just like you always dreamed of doing.

Whats in the box?

When you open the box for the first time it may be a little daunting to see how many bits there are to set up. But, don’t worry it really isn’t that complicated at all. The set-up instructions are very easy to follow. Inside the box, you will find:

  • 96 Catch Phrase cards
  • 15 Bonus Cards
  • 48 Super Catch Phrase cards
  • Mr. Chips card holder
  • Bonus Catch Phrase frame card and window covers
  • Super Catch Phrase Board
  • Sand timer
  • Red Filter
  • 60 banknotes
  • Instructions

It took me about 5 minutes to read the instructions and set the game up ready for play. The whole game looks magnificent when all laid out ready to play! I played with my husband, and there were instructions specifically for when there are just 2 players. The game is created for 2-4 players, and I do think it would work best with a full team of 4.  We were both so excited to play once everything was ready. My husband even put on his best Stephen Mulhurn impression… how embarrassing!

Play time!

Playing the game was just as fun as we hoped. We were in fits of laughter right from the beginning. Each player takes it in turns as the host. There are 3 rounds; Individual, Rapid-Fire and Super Catch Phrase puzzles. Once all 3 rounds have been played, someone else takes over as host. Repeat until all players have hosted the 3 rounds each.

Round 1: Players must try to solve Catch Phrases on their own. The answers are written upside down on the opposite side of the card, out of sight from players but clearly visible to the host. The cards are placed into the arms of a large cardboard Mr. Chips cardholder- which is kind of cute. The correct answer has to be guessed before the time runs out, so be quick! Correct answers win ‘cash’.  If the correct answer isn’t guessed then other players get their chance to shout out the correct answer, in order to win the cash prize instead.

For each correct Catch Phrase guessed, a tile from the Bonus Catch Phrase frame is removed. The player gets one chance to guess the Bonus Catch Phrase answer correctly, per tile removed. Round 1 continues with the individual players taking turns until the Bonus Catch Phrase has been guessed or all of the window covers have been removed without anyone getting it right.

Round 2: The host uses the Regular Catch Phrase cards during this Rapid Fire round, but during this round everyone plays at the same time. A card is placed into Mr. Chip’s arms and the players all shout out their guesses until the correct answer is given. Guess correctly first, and you win more cash. If the timer runs out and no one has guessed correctly then host shows another card. Only 5 cards are shown during this round.

Round 3: This is the Super Catch Phrase round. 6 cards are placed on to the Super Catch Phrase board. The cards are played in the same way as the Rapid Fire round. The host starts to turn the cards starting on the bottom row. The players have to get one card right from the row before cards on the next row above are revealed. Each row has a different prize value. The answers to these cards are cleverly hidden on the front of the cards. The host must use the red filter sheet to reveal the answer!

After this final round the host steps down, and the person to their left now becomes the new host. Players keep the money they have won from host to host and the whole game finishes when all players have had a turn at being the host. The winner is the person who has won the most money.

The instructions are easy to understand, with easy to read font and clear diagrams. If there are just 2 of you playing the game, there are a slightly different set of rules (included on the same leaflet). The instructions are kept brief but this works well. The game states that it is suitable for players aged 8+, but I do think children as young as 8 would struggle to play the game. Some of the Catch Phrases are rather hard to guess, even as a 28 year old! The game would be best suited to much older children, teenagers, and adults.

Final thoughts

I am usually not a huge fan of this style board game, but Catch Phrase is one of my favourite Saturday evening chill-out shows so I just had to have a go at the game! The game seems well made and created with good quality materials. Nothing is too fiddly or time-consuming to set up, and once you’ve got into the swing of things you could be playing a side-splitting game for the evening. There was one card that I just could not guess. My husband was in tears of laughter. I think you can guess why…

I am very pleased to give this game its own space on our games shelf, as it could prove some hilarious entertainment when guests are over for an evening. All-in-all, a well-made game that had us all as happy as Mr. Chips looks!

Buy the game!

Catch Phrase the board game is produced by Drumond Park and has an RRP of £22.99 and is available online and in store. Stockists include Amazon, Toys R Us, Tesco, WH Smith, and Smyths. Do shop around for the best price.