Note: This review will be a spoiler free look at Pandemic Legacy: Season 2. Everything discussed in detail can be found in the rulebook and the prologue.
Everyone wants to make a legacy game these days. After the wild success of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, there seemed to be an explosion in campaign style games where the rules and mechanisms are changed as the game progresses.
Thus far, nothing has really been able to capture the magic of both engaging gameplay and story that Pandemic Legacy gave us. But now Season 2 is here, flipping the game on its head a bit, but promising to give us a similar experience. So, how does it stack up?
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a cooperative legacy game for 2-4 players. You can play the game somewhere between 12 and 24 times. Each play will take about an hour.
Unlike the first season, Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, starts off quite a bit different from a vanilla game of Pandemic. Instead of trying to prevent disease cubes from being added to cities, you are trying to add and keep supply cubes in each city. Season 2 offers a prologue that you can play through any number of times to get used to the slightly different setup.
The basic turn structure is unchanged from both regular Pandemic and Season 1 of Pandemic Legacy:
- Take 4 actions – these include moving around the map, making supply cubes, dropping off those supplies, and to build supply centers.
- Draw 2 player cards
- If you draw an epidemic card, you reveal the bottom of the infection deck and remove all of the supplies from that city and then shuffle the infection discard pile and place it on top of the deck.
- Infect Cities
- Draw a number of infection cards matching the current infection rate and remove supply cubes from the cities drawn.
If at any time you need to remove a supply cube that doesn’t exist, a plague cube is added to the city instead. If you have 8 of these “incidents” before fulfilling your objective, you lose.
At the end and beginning of each game, you will be instructed to read cards from the legacy deck. These cards will add rules, actions, characters, and more throughout the campaign.
Let’s get this out of the way: Pandemic Legacy Season 2 is in my top 2 of gaming experiences ever. Right up there with Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. I’m honestly not sure which I liked better, but they are both fantastic games that stand on their own and provide an experience unlike any other board game.
The game is set 70-some years after the end of the original Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. You certainly don’t need to have played the original to follow the story. At the beginning of the game, only about a dozen cities remain in the known world and each has 3 copies of it in the player and infection decks. You also have Havens, which you access to gain supplies and are located in the middle of the world’s oceans.
You get to name both your Havens and characters throughout the game. Half of the fun of the legacy formula is the connection you will have to the characters you play and the world you create. By the end of your campaign, you will undoubtedly have inside jokes and memorable stories that you will continue to remember years later. I know our group definitely made some callbacks to our Season 1 characters and events that we still remember years later.
Compared with Season 1 it sure felt like the changes came faster and more frequently. If you enjoyed opening boxes and windows in the dossier you won’t be disappointed here. There are plenty of twists and turns and hidden information to open as you go. It felt a little less “shocking,” in some respects, than Season 1. However, I assume that is mostly because we already had a frame of reference for the types of things that could happen. And without a doubt there were still a number of moments that took us by surprise.
If you enjoyed Season 1, I assume you’ve already started your Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 campaign. If not, please stop reading and go get it! If you haven’t had the pleasure to experience either version of Pandemic Legacy yet, I highly suggest you give it a shot. Even if co-ops or regular Pandemic aren’t necessarily among your favorite games, the legacy campaign alone is worth the price of admission.
Some people have expressed concerns about legacy games being disposable and not endlessly replayable. I can count the number of games that I’ve played 15 or more times on one hand. For the $80 MSRP you are getting around 20 hours of gameplay for up to 4 folks. Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 may just be the best deal in board games.
Final Score: 5 Stars – Continues the success that Season 1 started. I can’t wait for Season 3
• Familiar mechanisms but different enough to keep things fresh.
• Legacy campaign and storyline allow a level of engagement that isn’t available in other games
• So many boxes and stickers and windows to open!
• It is disposable and now we have to wait for the next season…