Pandemic Season 0 review

I must admit this review let me hanging on the edge, or more likely, sitting on the fence. Basically, a bit confused. Quinns confusions and corrections on screen did actually confuse me even more at some point. I have played some Pandemic: the original, but I have never played a Legacy game. Was his advice that I should go for season 0 first? Or for season 1?
I have to admit that the theme is attractive (spies in Cold War?? Aye, Sir!!) but the cards system being so random (and slightly not so crucial for the future) kind of puts me off a little bit. What does the collective think?
Up till now, I thought that if I was going to get a Legacy game, Pandemic season 1 would be it. Should I change my mind?

He did say buy Season 0 if you’ve not played any before.

I think!

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I’m not sure you’d be disappointed either way (unless you don’t like co-op games). Pandemic Legacy S1 is exceptionally good.


I usually pitch Pandemic Season 1 as “If you like Pandemic, this is simply the greatest game ever crafted by human hands. If you don’t like Pandemic, it’s $76 you’ll never get back.”

If you’re a fan of the original Pandemic, having watched the review myself, I’d say play Season 1. Then play Season 0 after that (I’d recommend skipping Season 2 personally, not because it’s bad but because it’s quite expensive and also very polarizing, and that’s a hard recommendation IMO).

Lastly, if you end up playing Season 0 first, you may end up disappointed by how retrograde (by modern standards) S1 is… whereas if you play S1 first, you can then be properly wowed by the new changes to S0.

Hope that helps!


It got a bit confusing on what conditions were needed for it to be recommended as the go to pandemic legacy.

Personally i’ve Finished s1 & s2. I loved s1 sooo much. It hit me at a good spot that I wasn’t bored of pandemic and seeing how that box contorts and twist pandemic into something new by adding and taking away rules was constantly exciting (also worth noting this is my first legacy game too).

I then ran into s2 so very excited to see what next. And the shiny new stuff impressed me for a couple of games… but I soon found myself at a point where I found it to be a lot less fun than core pandemic, the rules seemed convoluted and at times just harsh. I may have been playing it with the wrong strategy (trying to protect my character rather than letting them take a beating) but I just didn’t love it and nearly bounced off it completely by the end (I let the last 4 months of the game gather dust for nearly a year).

So all of this is a ramble way of saying. I agree with Marx. If you like pandemic and haven’t played a legacy, I don’t think you can go far wrong with s1. S0 will still be there if you enjoyed it.

As an aside I also think the dice tower mentioned some setup in s0 for events that are surprises in s1, although I think they said these are more in the form of Easter eggs than game breaking story reveals.


Season 1 is the closest thing to base Pandemic. It literally starts with a standard game of Pandemic, and then spirals out from there.

Season 2 gets crazier. It really pushes the boundary of what you have control over, so has crazier legacy elements, but appears to be swingier as a result. I found the difficulty curves a bit smoother than Season 1 - definitely some close calls but quite a few games that appeared impossible but I won on the very last possible action before I would’ve failed. Quinns’ said in his review the game got easier as they progressed and I’ve seen others say it was rock hard to nigh on impossible. I think I prefer it to Season 1 (more fun, less stress?), but it definitely feels less like Pandemic.

And everything I’ve seen of Season 0 seems to be quite different again. Definitely its own thing.

So I’d probably recommend Season 1 first, as it’s the most like standard Pandemic. Being wacky and crazy in the sequel/prequel is fun, but it’s good to see how it all works outwards from the original seed of an idea. It feels more distilled as a concept.

From what I took from Quinns’ review he’s recommending Season 0 for the people who don’t think they’ll get through them all and just want to try the one.


All the rumors I have heard about Season 2 are that it was so hard it was nearly impossible to win, so my original idea was to get season 1 and then move on from there depending on the experience. I think I will stick to going for season 1 first, I can see how the legacy factor can make that game very interesting (and seems like the ratings of so many people cannot be that wrong)
Plus it is quite likely that season 0 will sell out in a blink of an eye…
One tangential question, does the box colour has any influence over the game contents??

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People said the same thing about Season 2, but it was never really there in any game-breaking or spoiler sense. Whichever one you play first, you’ll recognise elements in the other games later. I can’t see how any narrative knowledge of season 1 that could ruin the gameplay experience if you were to play season 0 first. Even if you anticipate certain narrative beats, I don’t think it would help you play a better game or anticipate when exactly they would happen.


No, they just have two variants for people who want to play two copies with different groups. Seemed to confuse more people than it was worth!


Huh. I pitch season one as “what if Pandemic were actually good?”, myself. I don’t like base Pandemic at all but Legacy was an exceptional experience.


That’s very interesting. What about the legacy version turned it around for you?


Pandemic feels a) like there’s a single correct choice at all times (mostly prescribed by your role) and b) feels almost completely abstract to me. Legacy complicates the decision making from the off by having permanent consequences outside of success or failure, then adds further mechanics and complicating factors, as well as strategic choices to make between sessions. Secondly, the theme feels much more integrated and while it’s a game without a great deal of actual narrative, there’s enough to frame what you’re doing in a way that makes it feel less like just pushing cubes around.


I agree with all of this. Unfortunately, in our case, the promise and potential of P:L S1 proved to be greater than the actual experience. I’ve speculated that this might be because we had an unusually easy run of things, but there’s no way of knowing whether that was the cause of my mild dissatisfaction.


We had the opposite experience with Season 1. We were crushed a few times early on by happenstance that snowballed into the later game. I think we played something like 20 out of 24 games. By the end it felt more stressful than fun. In some ways the difficulties did make it more interesting (ruined cities really change how you play the game, and a few times we had to come up with some quite clever work arounds to get people in and out of certain areas ASAP), but it wasn’t a jubilant experience!


Honestly, that sounds way more interesting. We only played 14 games, and one of those losses was the 13th game and a practical decision to set up the win for the 14th game that we didn’t really have to even bother playing.

I’m guessing that the people who really enjoyed Season 1 had an experience somewhere between the two extremes.

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I heard that zero is the toughest base game so to me I think I would see that as a recommend for zero only if you’re a seasoned pandemic player.

Pretty much.


For our s1 we reluctantly gave up on Africa after it becoming a no go area over multiple games. Using blockades to essentially make our board and infection area smaller and more manageable.

But that discussion around Africa as we put the last piece of the wall in place to let it fall. Knowing the real world equivalent implications, ethically of that type of decision was intense. The phrase for the greater good was used more than once. Brilliant.
But the shame still haunts me.[

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I wanted to do something similar with the Middle East in our game, but the others didn’t like the idea of completely barricading off the area. So we had a skybridge from Europe. It passed through this narrow passage and blossomed in Europe. It was then in a large area and would have needed too many barricades to keep it contained. A single barricade in that place would have saved several countries. I was devastated

I like how Pandemic subtly encourages some quite extreme actions, but it’s a shame that these are so counter intuitive that many players won’t want to take advantage of them.


Another choice that could make a difference is that Pandemic One is uniformly about helping people. While Pandemic Zero is about disappearing people so that might inform your choice.

I would universally recommend Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (especially with two). I think is a top ten of all time game - If there was a Mount Rushmore in games it would be there for me.

And also: id recommend it over pandemic vanilla. There’s enough pandemics in the legacies to be enough for everyone imo.