Hello folks, and welcome to you.
I recently attended the local games club and was able to play a recent acquisition, Pandemic Iberia. A cooperative game where players must stop various disease outbreaks on the Iberian Peninsula in the 19th Century.
This game is the third iteration of Pandemic that I have played, having also played the original version of Matt Leacock’s seminal boardgame and the C’thulhu variant. I have previously written a blog about C’Thulhu Pandemic, which you can read by clicking the hyperlink. There are still several game variants that I haven’t tried, such as the expansions for the core game or the Legacy version of the game. Maybe at some point I will, but not so far.
The production quality of Pandemic Iberia is high; the board you play on is absolutely stunning. Contained within, you have meeples for each player, and four different coloured hospitals (one for each disease), railroad tracks, water purification tokens and a disease prevention token. Add to that your player deck of cities, events and epidemic cards, the outbreak token, infection rate token and infect cities cards you have a game that is very similar to the core version of Pandemic.
As you might imagine, play is virtually identical to the core game with each player having 4 actions before drawing 2 cards and then playing the infection step of the game where new disease cubes are added to the board. The main difference is the narrative behind the game. Being set in the 19th century, diseases were not eradicated. They could only be contained, and that is the object. Find treatments for the four diseases that will stop their spread, rather than finding a cure and then eradicating them. And, of course, given the time frame, there is no flying between cities.
No longer do you have a medic who can treat every disease cube of one colour in a city with one action, nor do you have someone who can heal the sick just by walking by. You do, however, have the Nurse who has the prevent token, which stops disease cubes being added to adjacent cities.
You also have the purify water action, which allows you to slow outbreaks. This mechanic was really cool as it meant that we could place purified tokens in at risk regions, and should an adjacent city need to recieve a disease cube, we could remove a purify token instead.
And then there was my favourite part of the game. To make up for the lack of planes, you get to lay railroad tracks as an action. Unless, like me, you are the railway man. In which case you can lay two tracks per action. Railways connect cities and allow players to move any number of stops along the railway for one action, rather than one action per one road. This felt more fun than the shuttle flight ability in the core game that requires use of really specific cards to execute, or the presence of research stations.
Sadly, whilst we had the outbreaks under control and had researched two of the cures, we ran out of time as is often the way with games like Pandemic, however, that didn’t detract from our fun at all. Add to this the fact that there are two variants of the game, the first where disease cubes represent infected people which move to the nearest hospital causing the hospitals to become overrun, and also a variant where each disease is named and has its own abilities, there is a lot of replay value in this game.
This game is basically a reskin of Pandemic. There are a couple of different mechanisms for travel and outbreak control, but it is the same basic game. So, if you already own the core set, it might not be worth your while. Though maybe you should talk a friend into getting it instead, as I heartily recommend the game as a fun way to spend an hour. I would do so quickly, it is labelled as limited edition.