Pandemic. This is the game that my best friend brought me into the hobby with. Since that time pandemic has seen many expansions and versions published.... And Justin Steinberg has all of them.
What initially drew you to pandemic?
It would have to be the logistical puzzle of it all. I had played part of a game back in college but never got the chance to finish it due to a class. I forgot all about Pandemic until a few years ago in 2014 when I got another chance to play it. After that first real game I fell in love with it. The idea of this ever changing puzzle, that was relentless, and keeping me on my toes was genius, and I wanted more of it. Within a few days I had purchased a copy that was on the Barnes and Noble Red Dot sale and played 4 games that afternoon with friends. In the coming weeks I bought all the current expansions out at that time. Now I just wait for the newest Pandemic iteration to come out and I get it.
Not counting legacy (because I feel it is such a unique experience) which one is your favorite?
I quickly jump to the base Pandemic game with all the different roles and added events and difficulties from the other expansions. However, recently I've been playing Iberia a lot more because it has a very different feel to the same type of beast that Pandemic is. I'm not 100% sure if it's because I've played the base game so much or because Iberia is a fresh face but it's always putting a smile on my face. In the end though, base Pandemic tops out as my favorite one.
Which character/ability is your favorite?
Dispatcher by far. I absolutely love playing the dispatcher. I know some people don't like it because it seems more like a support piece helping others move around and not much else but I love it's abilities. Many times it comes down to being in the right spot at the right time that would have never been possible without the dispatcher. To be able to handle potential outbreaks or prevent further expansion by the viruses at critical moments by getting there in time is always important and the dispatcher is very fluid in those capabilities especially when he can put people right where they need to be. There's nothing like moving around the medic piece on your turn after a disease has just been cured. They act like vacuums sucking up disease cubes left and right. It's a great feeling.
You told me you blinged some of your pandemics out? Can you give me some examples?
I typically bling out my favorite games, but seeing as how Pandemic is one of my Top 3 favorite games of all time I had to go the extra mile. Besides sleeving all the cards, I purchased all the different upgraded meeples for the base game and all the expansions from Meeple Source. I then got two types of different virus meeples. The realistic looking viruses and the other with weird eyes. I bought that version mostly for when kids might play. I wanted to keep everything in their boxes while still consolidating them down so certain upgrades had to be compromised, like my idea to put the base game and expansions into an actual first aid kit. Z-Man also had on their site a couple of special cards that altered gameplay. It seems like a precursor to Pandemic Legacy now that Legacy is out. I printed those out as well and added it in. There's always something that can be upgraded and added to it.
If you were going to make your own fan version, what would the theme be?
I have a fair amount of favorite themes, but for Pandemic it has to be a space theme. It would be absolutely amazing in my opinion. There would be planets, galaxies, black holes, pulsars, nebula, dark matter, all of space. My own twist on it would be for each of the locations or zones to have some sort of ability that would alter the game somehow. It could be anything from having free movement locations to teleport spots, or even a nebula type area where if two viruses ended up on the same location they can add to each other. The possibilities with a space theme are pretty vast. If it never gets made I just might have to make a version of it just so it can be realized, even if it's just for me.
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