COdA is in our past and remains just a memory. We have all swallowed our pills. We are not dying anymore, but blue skin did not disappear. But where one disease ended, another started. The murderous plague is rushing down the mainland, and only water can stop it from spreading. Exhausted humanity no longer had the strength to fight, so the only solution was to escape into safety of the ocean. We built Havens, high-rise metal towers. Still, we have not forgotten people on the mainland and we are trying to help them as much as we can. But most of the world is covered in darkness. No one knows, what’s going on outside a few hundred kilometers of the coast. But now comes a time, that will force us to go searching for answers there.
Pandemic game is and has always been a phenomenon. But the perception of this game changed completely in 2015, when the first season of Pandemic: Legacy was released. Unique one-time experience has made it the way to the top of many charts, including ours. That’s why Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau (author of Legacy concept) returned to the scene again in Pandemic: Legacy Season 2. The game was introduced at Spiel 2017 in Essen with Z-Man Games logo and brought to European distribution by Esdevium Games.
Pandemic: Legacy Season 2 once again comes in a massive box, that is available on the market in two lid designs. Beneath the box with desert and the main characters, a big map of the world is waiting for players. Most of it is covered by fog of war and players have only a few locations around their home havens to start with. This map will be decoration of the center of the table from beginning to end of whole adventure. Players equip it with decks of cities and infections as they are used from the classic Pandemic, as well as epidemics and incidents markers. Above is a space for missions. Most of the map, however, remain empty for now.
There are ten sealed compartments underneath the folded board, and along with them, players will also get a number of sheets with digits and letters on them. All of this will have to be opened over the course of twelve months of story of the game, always following so-called legacy deck. This is the central focus point of the whole box – narrator and driver of your journey in one person.
Players must first create characters. This time, it’s just not only their name, but also photographs (from a great selection), skills and home town, they will be choosing. This determines, where the hero’s figurine will begin in each game. In addition, each player receives four random city cards from a shuffled player deck. It must then be divided into several even piles, and each gets one card of an epidemic shuffled. All that needs to be done then is to place infection card package and start reading legacy deck.
Here, of course, we are interrupting further explanation to prevent spoiling any experience. But without any spoilers we can tell you that second season is quite different. There have been many changes to it since the first game. You will not remove cubes from cities, but instead you will supply all the cities with raw materials! It is thematically suited to the post-apocalyptic theme, where there is a shortage of everything.
At the beginning of each match, players will get some missions to be completed for the successful completion of the month, but above all some stockpile of cubes, that they can place in cities to start with. You presume, that cities are supplied at the beginning of each game. And then the classic phase of the infection will take place. However, because cities in deck of infections are repeated very often, you will be uncovering nine cards and remove cubes based on them (instead of a three by three recipe, as in the classic Pandemic).
In his turn, player has four actions to choose from. These include usual moves or exchanges of cards. But there are also new possibilities – producing raw materials (from the stock on character card) and then placing these cubes on the city, where the hero is located. Or he can even picked up cubes from locations for free to redistribute them in another places in the future. But above all actions, the new recon action stands out, allowing you to discover a new area of the map (and stick it on the board).
Besides, of course, all the earthly ends, that you have discovered, have to deal with spreading plague. So, whenever a city is without supplies and its infection card is drawn (two at the end of the player’s turn), you place a green cube with disease on it. At the same time, it immediately counts as one incident. If players collect eight of them, then its game over and the entire team lost in the given month (you have another go on each month, if you fail). But if the city is stocked and infection car dis drawn, you just remove one cube and the infection phase is resolved. The plague cube can not be taken away, and as soon as a fourth cube has come to a location on the map, outbreak occurs and plague spreads to all the neighboring cities.
All of these news are available for players from the start and you can learn them during tutorial game without any legacy effects. You can play teaching match as many times as you want without writing on anything or destroying cards. But then the classic course starts with scratching, sticking and tearing all the way (destruction is of course not obligatory, you just put the card in a box). The characters will die, cities will disappear, and it’s all and only in your control. The legacy concept works excellently again and gives you an unmistakable sense of uniqueness in your adventure.
Gameplay is here again. Experienced Pandemic players will be right at home and they can handle even changes without any problems. Dynamics are disturbed only by a large amount of administration, that awaits you even during matches, when you need to take a recon action. At that point, you just do not play for a while, but you are moving the story again and learn more and more information to complete your puzzle. It all connects in the end, although it’s a bit transparent.
In the overall impression, game in two players seemed a drop easier. Maybe some strong character abilities are making it easier. And because you build the hero from A to Z yourself, you can influence it. But even this time, there is a feeling of helplessness, when you see the world collapse. Although there is not so much spreading to neighboring cities, it is very difficult to replenish the dice. In terms of maintaining consistency along all matches, we did not try different numbers, but according to general responses, the game is fun in all available numbers up to four participants.
We were surprised that matches are really fast. One month itself, including preparation, possible end changes and wrapping the game up will take you around forty-five minutes. On the one hand, this is great, but at the same time this speed is also changing the total time you spend in this ruined world. Even so, price of this game is entirely justified due to the amount of components and developmental complexity.
As a result, impression of the second season is very similar. It does not have that wow effect, thanks to which probably the first game will be rooted better in your memories. But the final of the second series is so intense, that last game will get you completely exhausted. Everything is really thrilling and its the perfect ending of your many-hour pilgrimage.
And yet we will answer one of the questions that you will learn at the end of the story. Is it possible to use the board officially after the story ends? No. Even this time, twelve (or up to twenty-four) games are all that you can expect. The exact number depends only on success of the players and how many months they will have to play again. We did it all together in fifteen games.
Processing is great. But there is one issue with cards. Expansion cards from the bins have a different shade of the back side, than the basic cards! If you do not focus on it too much and do not compare the cards in the bets during the game, it is not so obvious. At first glance, the difference is not there, especially under artificial lighting. Yet it is a mistake that can spoil someone’s experience.
We have fought for human fate in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 all over Christmas. So is the second part better than the first one? Probably not. But it is certainly an equal successor, which will give lovers of the original story another unforgettable experience. Although it reverses the core concept, principles remain the same. So if you do not like Pandemic in general, there’s nothing you can expect to change in here. But for everyone else Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 is a clear purchase! And now we have only one question to answer and only the authors know correct answer – will there be season 3? We hope so.
+ fantastic experience
+ great finale
+ changed basic mechanism, but everything remains very similar
+ is worth every penny
+ interesting ideas
+ exploring the world
+ sufficiently different from other Pandemic games
- back of the expansion cards have different shade
- a little easier
- shorter match (= shorter overall playing time and therefore worse price / entertainment ratio)