Pandemic Legacy review

Pandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy was published by Z-Man Games (release date: October 8, 2015). The game was designed by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock. The illustrations were done by Chris Quilliams.

Pandemic Legacy belongs to the Pandemic game family.

There is a blue edition and a red edition.

The game came out as “Season 1”. Whether there will be any other seasons is still unclear.

Pandemic Legacy - Trouble in Asia


  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Game board
  • 4 Pawns
  • 5 Role cards
  • 61 Player cards
  • 5 Epidemic cards
  • 48 City cards
  • 8 Event cards
  • 48 Infection cards
  • 4 Reference cards
  • 4 Civilian cards
  • 62 Legacy cards
  • 4 Cure markers
  • 5 Dossiers
  • 1 Sticker sheet
  • 1 Reminder token
  • 2 Track markers
  • 1 Infection rate marker
  • 1 Outbreak marker
  • 6 Research stations
  • 96 Disease cubes
  • 24 in 4 colors


In July 2014, Pandemic Legacy was introduced by ZMan Games as follows: “One year. One team. One hope.”

In this cooperative game, you represent a disease fighting team. Your job is to keep four deadly diseases at bay for a year. New viruses, challenges, and surprises will come every month.

Two to four people can play. One game takes about an hour.

Pandemic Legacy is based on the now classical Pandemic and Risk: Legacy, the famous Risk spin-off that introduced the Legacy mechanics to the world of the board games. You are playing a campaign that consists of a string of separate games. Each game influences the following ones. During the campaign, everything is evolving, including your characters. They can get new skills or scars or even die.

Every gaming group has their own Pandemic Legacy experience different from anybody else’s. During the campaign, you will be making changes to the game itself: writing on components, putting stickers on them, even destroying them. These changes are permanent. Decisions you take in each game affect the whole campaign. Some elements of the game will be hidden from you until you reach them in your game story.

The number of games depends on you and varies from 12 to 24. One game is one month, and you have two chances to pass one month.

Pandemic Legacy doesn’t have any expansions of its own so far, but the original Pandemic has a few expansions: In the Lab, On the Brink, Promo Roles, State of Emergency, and Uitbreiding “De Generalist”.

There are apps both for iOS and Android to play Legacy.

Pandemic Legacy - Game Board

Color Difference: Blue vs Red

Pandemic Legacy - Blue

You can buy Pandemic Legacy in two different editions: red and blue. The difference between the two is in the color of boxes. As Pandemic Legacy is played in campaigns and you might start different campaigns with different gaming groups, there can be a need for having two copies of the game that you’ll be able to easily tell from each other.

Pandemic Legacy - Various Player Cards


1 Read the mission briefing

When you are playing some month for the first time, draw cards from the Legacy deck until you reach card STOP. Read out the mission briefing and, if necessary, introduce new cards to the game.

2 Set out the board and pieces

Separate the cubes into four different-colored piles. In each starting city, place a research station. In future games, other pieces might have to be placed here.

3 Place outbreaks, cure markers, and objectives

The outbreaks marker goes on the “0” space of the Outbreaks track. Four cure markers go at the bottom of the disease tracking area. All current objectives have to be in the objectives area.

4 Place infection rate marker and infect nine cities

The infection rate marker goes on the Infection Rate track on the left-most “2” space. Flip over three Infection cards. Place three disease cubes of matching colors on each of these cities. Repeat the procedure, but this time, place only two cubes on each city. Repeat the procedure again, this time placing only one cube on each city.

5 Select funded events, add them to the deck, and deal out Player cards

You have to decide which Funded Event cards are going to be in the Player Deck. You shuffle theses cards with the City cards. Then the cards are dealt to players to form the initial hands. As you are playing in a team, keep your hand of cards faceup all the time.

6 Prepare the Player Deck

Divide the rest of the cards into five piles and place them facedown.

7 Select characters and Starting Location

Each player selects their playing color and a character for themselves. They take the corresponding reference and a pawn of their color. All characters start together at one of the research stations.

Pandemic Legacy - Character Cards

8 Use game winning bonus

If previous month ended with a victory, you get your bonus now. If this is the first game, you won’t have the winning bonus.

9 Begin play

Blindly select one of the pawns. Its owner will be the first player.


If you have never played classical Pandemic, it is recommended that you play a few games of Pandemic before you start playing using the Legacy mechanism.

Each player turn consists of three steps.

  • Do four actions
  • Draw two player cards
  • Infect cities

All players take part in discussing what one should do and what the general strategy should be, but it is always the player whose turn it is who makes the final decision.

Do four actions

You can perform up to four actions. Select from the following options:

  • Drive/Ferry – move to a city connected to yours
  • Direct Flight – use a city card to get the city on it
  • Charter Flight – use the city card of your current city to relocate to any city
  • Shuttle Flight – you can move to any city that has a research station if your city also has one
  • Build – use a city card with your city on it to build a structure (a research station, a military base) in your city
  • Treat disease – remove one disease cube from your city
  • Share knowledge – you can give someone a card with your city on it or take it from another player
  • Discover a cure – when at a research station, use five city cards of the same color to treat the disease of this color (there are no disease names in the game – only colors)

Draw two player cards

Draw top two cards from the Player Deck. If there are no more cards, your team has lost!

If you have drawn an epidemic card, resolve it immediately and do not add it to your hand.

Infect cities

Flip over as many cards from the Infection Deck as the Infection rate currently is.

To infect a city, place a disease cube of the city color into it. If there are three cubes already, do not place the fourth one. Instead, an outbreak happens.

Many instructions, details, and steps aren’t revealed to you at the beginning of the game. The rulebook has places for rule stickers to be added later on in the game.

Pandemic Legacy - Stickers

Game end

If you meet all necessary objectives, you win the game.

Your team loses if outbreaks marker reaches the last space on the track if you do not have enough disease cubes, or if you run out of cards.

If you have won:

  • the winning bonus
  • start next game at the beginning of the next month
  • your funding level is cut by two

If you have lost:

  • if this month was being played for the first time, try it again. Otherwise, move on to the next month
  • your funding level is increased by two

In either case, you get to choose two upgrades for your game.

  • Unfunded events
  • Starting research stations
  • Character upgrades
  • Positive mutations

Pandemic Legacy - Virologist

Download the full manual in PDF here.

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Q: Can I play Pandemic Legacy solo?

A: Yes, you can. You can play the classic Pandemic solo, the same goes for Legacy.

Q: Is Pandemic Legacy a good game for two?

A: Yes, it is well fitted as a 2 player game. When you have fewer players, each gets more cards. Plus, you can switch characters between the games to try everything Pandemic Legacy has to offer.

Q: Can five people play Pandemic Legacy?

A: Pandemic Legacy was not designed as a 5 player game and was not tested for five people. However, there are five characters and if you substitute the fifth pawn with something else, you can try playing with five. The game might feel uneven and some rules might seem unclear, though.

Q: Is there an official errata for Pandemic Legacy?

A: No, there is not.

Q: What roles will the game have?

A: The starting five will be Scientist, Medic, Researcher, Operations Expert, and Dispatcher. However, as the game unfolds, they might change.


Watch an unboxing video on YouTube:


Pandemic Legacy is a new take on Pandemic, which has already become a classic. This is a way to refreshen Pandemic and make it even more exciting than before.

Some people worry that the game is disposable since it is changed during the play. How to fix the rulebook, where do we get new tokens and stickers? If you are planning to play more than one campaign of Pandemic Legacy, think about it before you start playing, because the game does get altered and somewhat destroyed in the process.

Pandemic Legacy is not designed for replayability. The point of the game is that it can be played only once. While you are playing it, the game changes and the changes are permanent. If you want to play it with different groups, you are advised to buy separate copies.

Pandemic Legacy - Eight Mysterious Boxes

One of the crucial thing about the game is that there are things in it that you aren’t supposed to know about until you reach them in the game. New features, like relationships between characters, keep appearing.

Pandemic Legacy is a difficult game. Its rules aren’t easy to get, and winning is even harder. In fact, you are advised to have a test playthrough first in order not to fail your mission in the very beginning.

You can buy Pandemic Legacy on Amazon.

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