Wednesday’s Word: Pandemic
This is a scary word. It’s closely related to another word which you’re probably familiar with: epidemic. An epidemic is the outbreak of an infectious disease in a given place or time. But a pandemic is much worse. It isn’t confined to a particular place. A pandemic takes place across a whole country or even the entire world.
I suppose the Black Death is the most famous example of a pandemic in the west, killing between approximately 75 and 200 million people during the 14th century. The disease which swept across Europe was truly horrific and there was talk of judgement and the end of the world as the deaths mounted.
In the end, the pandemic dwindled into merely an epidemic and then life returned to normal. But with so many deaths, it took more than a century for Europe to truly recover.
Today, though many diseases have been brought under control, in developing parts of the world things like cholera and malaria are still extremely deadly, but for the most part they are distant events that most of us only hear about in the news.
From time to time movies are made that re-kindle our fear of plague-like pandemics. Outbreak, starring Morgan Freeman and Dustin Hoffman is the only film that I can remember seeing of this genre. Medical disaster movies are not exactly my cup of tea. I’d rather not walk out of the theater mortally afraid of touching doorknobs if I can avoid it.
Despite my lack of interest in this type of story, a few years back I purchased a board game called Pandemic which has proven quite entertaining. The diseases are represented by little colored cubes on the board and there’s nothing really scary or intense about it, other than the tension from trying to beat the game.
Pandemic is a cooperative game and if you’ve never heard of or played that kind of a board game, it’s one where the players don’t compete against each other, but work together to beat a common enemy, in this case, four diseases which are spreading around the globe.
Each player takes on the role of a different character in the quest to eradicate the epidemics which threaten humanity, including the medic, the researcher, the scientist, the dispatcher, and the operations expert. It’s actually a very hard game to win. I think I’ve only won it 2 or three times out of the dozen or so times I’ve played it.
I really enjoy playing board games these days and perhaps I’ll post more about them in the future. If you like board games as well and especially if you don’t like competitive board games, this is one that is definitely worth a try. And if you do get a chance to play it, hopefully you’ll have more success than I have had at beating this game.
So have you played Pandemic before? Or do you have any particular board games you enjoy playing with family and friends? If so, let me know in the comments.