Wednesday's Word: Pandemic -
pandemic the board game

Wednesday’s Word: Pandemic

Wednesday's Word - A weekly feature on author DJ Edwardson's website


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 the board 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.

Author DJ Edwardson's seal of approval

Comments (3)

  1. Jenelle says:

    haha, I was wondering (based on your added comment on facebook) if you were going to talk about the board game! 🙂 Love it (and the expansion my brother got me).

    Have you played or heard of “Shadows Over Camelot”? It’s another cooperative game and has the added bonus of one of the rules being you have to speak like the knights of the round table!

    Another one by the same creators as Pandemic is “Forbidden Island” – which is much easier (good for introducing kids to the whole “euro-gaming” style board game), but the exact same mechanic as Pandemic.

    Ah! Board games! Fun!

    Pandemics… not so much… 🙂

    • DJ Edwardson says:

      Yes, board games are a blast. That’s so cool to hear you and your family enjoy them as well.

      And yes, I’ve played “Shadows Over Camelot” and really enjoy it. I haven’t tried playing it with Arthurian prose, though! I’ll have to try that.

      We also have “Forbidden Island” as well and you’re right, it’s great for younger players. Did you know that there’s a sequel called “Forbidden Desert” as well? It’s actually even more fun than the original, I think, though I love both games.

      Who knew vaccinations, sinking islands, and invading saxon armies could be so much fun, eh?

      • Jenelle says:

        You totally have to try the game while speaking like knights. It’s so much more fun (I think the rule is that you can’t just say what cards you have in your hand or are putting down… but it’s way more fun to say, “Forsooth! The black knight is feeling strong today!” or “Prithee, wilt thou go grailing with me?”/”Nay, I have not the stomach for grailing, but perchance I might find more fortune searching for the lost sword Excalibur!”

        Yes, I’m a nerd.

        I have not heard of Forbidden Desert… I shall have to look into that.

        Probably my favorite board game ever is a sort of pseudo-cooperative (1 player versus up to 5 other players) called “Letters to White Chapel.” One character plays Jack the Ripper, and the others are the constables searching the board for him (kind of like Clue… but way more intense).

Leave a comment, I love hearing from readers.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: