This was a game that I was originally introduced to at GenCon, I got to play a quick little bit of a self led two player demo. A few months later it showed up at a local game shop and I was looking at it…
I was back last night with a live stream of Tainted Grail on Twitch. And now the video is also up on the Youtube channel. Thank you to those who checked out the stream. I don’t tend to announce too far ahead, but my plan…
If you’ve been keeping track of this site for a while, you’ve seen me talk a lot about Pandemic Legacy Season 1, and play through Season 1 on Malts and Meeples. I haven’t talked as much about Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and my experience with that, though you can see that Season 1 is high in my top 100, and Season 2 is much lower.
So, it was time to do a TableTopTakes review of Pandemic Legacy Season 2.
In this game, without going into spoilers, you are basically on the ocean, I believe oil drilling platforms, where humanity has mainly been relegated. This happened when a plague overtook the lands, and to be saved, you had to go to the platforms. You have limited contact with a few coastal cities but even those are in danger of being overrun with the plague if it weren’t for you sending them medicine. Plus, there are many more things that you unlock as you try and figure out how much of humanity is left, and where the leaders of your platforms have gone, because they left a while ago to find out what has happened to humanity as well.
Pandemic Legacy Season 2 keeps what feels like core mechanics from Pandemic, but in some ways turns them on their head. In regular Pandemic and in Season 1, you are trying to keep cubes at bay, if you get too many, you get outbreaks and bad things happen. Season 2, instead, you are placing out the medicine cubes. If the plague shows up in a city where there isn’t medicine, bad things are going to happen. In my experience playing this, it takes a few games to really wrap your head around the change. Maybe for some it’ll go faster, but it feels backwards and I think, though it still feels like Pandemic, that could be off putting for some people and groups, because you might lose several in a row just because of how it feels.
This game does offer one very cool thing out of the box that I can talk about, and that is that it adds in exploration. Through this exploration you get to add in more things, but those would be spoilers. But there are certain cities on the board that tell you to discard groups of cards of various colors which will unlock things on the sticker sheets. It’s a cool concept and being able to unlock more of the map is interesting. You can see how your resources are going to be dwindling for dealing with the plague, but you need to unlock the map as well, so it’s a push and pull of not expanding too fast, but needing to go fast in order not to be spread too thin. Like other versions of Pandemic, you always feel like you’re neglecting something in order to try and get through the game before something bad happens.
Also, because you aren’t fighting diseases in the sense that you aren’t curing four different colors, you can use the cards in different ways. The big thing is exploring, but it doesn’t feel as bad to spend cards to move around, though, when you need to place out more medicine cubes. So that is an interesting tweak to the game. I’m going to be saying this a lot, the game still feels like Pandemic because of the cards, the mechanics, but so much of what you’re doing is different in Pandemic Legacy Season 2 and it is interesting to change your mindset, especially if you’ve played a lot of Pandemic Legacy Season 1 recently and regular Pandemic.
Next, I want to talk a little bit about the characters. In Season 1, you get characters where they are the “Medic” or “Scientist” and Season 2 changes that up some. You still get to be a character with a special power, but the special powers, like the medics basic power, you can just pick a character card and add it to that, so you can tailor your look. And death is also handled differently. There are still scars that you can get, but now you have a track that you, every time you’d “get” a scar, you instead scratch off the next one, and it might be nothing, it might be a scar, or you might just die. So it’s possible that you’d have 1 scar and then just die or it’s possible you might get 3 scars, you don’t know how resilient you are. That makes being in a dangerous location even more stressful because you don’t know how it’s going to go.
Now, I should do the comparison to Pandemic Legacy Season 1, I’ve kind of already done that though, in an epic Board Game Battle. So I don’t need to go back and recap that much, I will say that I do prefer Pandemic Legacy Season 1, I think the game is a bit easier in terms of focus on what you really need to do. Pandemic Legacy Season 2 can get caught or the game will have to unlock stuff if you don’t do it fast enough or in the right order, and that can be annoying at times. They do a good job of pointing you in the right direction generally though. Overall, it’s a really good game, a good story, and definitely worth checking out.
Overall Grade: A-
Gamer Grade: A-
Casual Grade: B
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