Pandemic: The Cure is a Push-Your-Luck Dice Rolling Twist on a Classic | Casual Game Revolution

Pandemic: The Cure is a Push-Your-Luck Dice Rolling Twist on a Classic

Pandemic: The Cure

It’s time to roll dice, fight disease, and push back the rising outbreaks of infection and epidemics!

Pandemic is a beloved cooperative experience that has spawned many new editions and adaptations, and been the inspiration of many other games as well. How well does it work as a dice game?


The treatment center disk is placed in the center of the table; this has both an outbreak tracker on it and an infection tracker. Around the treatment center you place the six region disks, numbered one through six, each representing a region in the world. Each player is dealt a random role card, takes the matching role dice, and places their pawns on the number one region. Infection dice come in four different colors, each color representing a different disease. At the start of the game you draw twelve at random from the infection bag and roll them, placing them on the regions whose number they roll.

On your turn, you roll all your role dice. Any dice that show biohazards you may not reroll — instead, you must immediately advance the infection track by one for each biohazard you roll on your turn. Any other results you may re-roll. Each die you may reroll as often as you like until you either spend it for an action or decide to end your turn.

Standard dice results can be flying (which allows you to move your pawn to any region), sailing (which allows you to move to either region adjacent to your own), treating (which allows you to move one infection die from your region onto the treatment center or one die from the treatment center back into the infection bag), and collecting a sample (which allows you to take one disease die from the treatment center and place it, along with the die you are using for the action, onto your role card). Different roles also have unique actions or die results.

After you finish taking actions, you may choose to pass any samples of a single color from your role card to another player in your region.

You may also attempt to find a cure, in which case you roll any samples you have of one color. If the total result is thirteen or more, the disease is cured and dice used for collecting the samples are returned to their players. On subsequent turns when a player takes the treat action for that particular disease, it will affect all dice of that disease color in the area the player is treating (region or treatment center).

The final step of each turn is the infection phase. You must draw a number of dice from the infection bag (based on the current level of the infection tracker), roll the dice and add them to the appropriate regions. Disease dice can roll a cross symbol. When this happens you place them on the CDC tile. You may later spend them to trigger special event cards. Once an event card is used, it's placed at the bottom of the event deck and a new one is drawn so that there are always three available event cards.

On the infection tracker there are points where epidemics occur. If this happens on your turn, you must take all the dice currently in the treatment center, plus a number from the disease bag based on the infection tracker, roll them, and place them in the correct regions.

If there are ever more than three dice of a single color in a region, an outbreak occurs. You move the outbreak tracker up one, and dice are moved to the next region in clockwise order until there are only three dice again in the original region. This can potentially cause a chain reaction of outbreaks to occur.

If the outbreak tracker or infection tracker ever gets too high, the players lose the game. If they ever have to draw a die from the infection bag and it's empty, the players lose the game. Players win the game by curing all four diseases.

Pandemic: The Cure


Pandemic: The Cure takes many of the ideas and thematic elements of the original Pandemic game, and turns them into a much more accessible and easy to teach dice game, with a shorter play time. Notably, the use of region disks to represent various areas of the world reduces the tedium of traveling through individual cities, and the use of dice rolls to introduce and spread disease is a quick and easy alternative to the decks of cards in the original game. These elements increase the pace of each turn while also reducing the setup time significantly — which we highly approve of.

There’s a good flow to the game, and a satisfying escalation as the infection tracker slowly moves up, bringing more dice onto the table each time you have to draw from the bag. Each region displays colors indicating the probability of different dice rolling that number — allowing players to predict which regions are in the most danger and adjusting their plans accordingly.

The game components are also high quality. The infection and outbreak trackers are attached to a thick and sturdy peg board, with the treatment center containing dice in the middle. The pegs are actually little syringes, which is a nice thematic touch. The cardboard for the disks is also sturdy and should easily hold up to abuse. We have no complaints about the dice, either — each infection die color is customized, and the player dice are etched and durable.

While the game is fairly easy to learn, initial gameplays will likely take a bit longer than the advertised thirty minutes, though as you become more familiar with both the rules and potential strategies the game time will shorten.

Pandemic: The Cure is a fun cooperative dice game that is a worthy successor to the classic Pandemic. It’s more approachable and easier to set up, making it a great fit for casual fans. It will especially be a treat for any lovers of push-your-luck dice rolling games.

Pros: Great components, thematic, great push-your-luck and dice rolling elements

Cons: Initial playthrough runs a bit long