Right now is a strange time for the Pandemic series of board games. Based on scenarios that occur in a fictional future or historical past, its core premise is the current nightmare of our planet. And oddly, it’s also ignited sales for a franchise that was already one of the best-selling in all of tabletop gaming.
Though it might seem in poor taste for Z-Man games to have released Pandemic: Hot Zone – North America just as our real-life pandemic took its grip on the western world, I personally believe that the timing was an unfortunate coincidence. At the very least, players can experience the game for themselves for free with their print-and-play option. For those who get a physical copy, here’s what you’re in for.
Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve harboured a somewhat-rational fear of the COVID-19 test. Besides the educated guess that having something go higher up your nose than your finger would be an unpleasant experience, I actually have prior experience with something in the same realm.
During a time when I suffered from frequent nosebleeds, a specialist analyzed my case by using a camera that went way up there. Between the sensation of feeling the camera sliding deeper into my head and being able to actually see what the inside of my head looks like through the monitor, the idea of anything else going in my nasal cavity is something I’ve wanted to avoid. In my head, I’ve almost built up the test itself to be a bigger concern than actually getting sick.
As of writing, I can’t validate the latter. But now that I’ve experienced the former, I thought I’d share how that went. Especially for those who have concerns about taking a swab up the nose.
During these uncertain times, one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves and others is to wear a mask. There’s no shortage of evidence out there that show how effective they are. I’ve been wearing a mask for months now and I agree with my government’s laws around masks in public spaces.
But don’t just follow my lead. You can be just like these star video game characters who also wear masks!
When my office shifted towards a work-from-home model, it was billed as being a temporary thing. By the beginning of April, when this all blows over, we’ll be back to business as usual.
Two months later, we got an update. Office isn’t opening for another few months. At this point, who knows what the situation will even be by then. Knowing what I know now, I embarked on one more trip to the office to get my things in order to settle into working-from-home life (and pandemic life) for the foreseeable future.
As people spend more time at home due to the global pandemic, more are turning to live streaming platforms such as Twitch for entertainment and human connection. Between March 8th and March 22nd, watch time was up by 30%.
This doesn’t just impact gamers, either. One of the coolest things I’ve seen come out of recent events is the growing presence of music on Twitch. In particular, DJ’s are crushing it right now, entertaining those missing out on dance music and the club scene. Tomorrowland in particular caught my ears – and my eyes – with their approach to bringing the world closer together.
Most of the time, downtown Toronto is a bustling metropolis. But right now is not most of the time. During a past Saturday afternoon post-pandemic, Steff and I had to make a trip into the city to get a few things she needed from her work. What we saw was certainly…different.
In the world of tabletop gaming, Pandemic is a modern classic. Throwing two-to-four players into a world where four deadly viruses are on the verge of destroying humanity, you must work as a team to contain the spread while developing cures before it’s too late. Yes, the game is incredibly stressful, but there’s a magic that comes with working as a team and leveraging each character’s unique abilities in order to overcome this challenge.
Just like the viruses you’re trying to eradicate, the hit board game has spread to the Nintendo Switch? Is this version a plague on the console? Or a cure for your digital tabletop fever?
Lost in the midst of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hype, Asmodee released the first of their digital board games to the Nintendo eShop. While I have not played Carcassonne on the Nintendo Switch, the physical board game is one of my faves, and the iOS port is stellar. I’m confident that the core gameplay is intact.
However, there’s one feature that is missing from this game that makes its purchase unjustifiable for me: online play. It also looks like the rest of the games in this series so far are also lacking online play. Without it, I’m probably not going to buy any of them, even if these are great renditions of great board games. Especially at the price they’re currently being sold for.
This is especially head-scratching, as you could play Carcassonne online on the Xbox 360 a decade ago. Its exclusion here is simply baffling. Until we get online play in here, I don’t see any reason to buy these versions over the physical board games or the much-cheaper-and-probably-just-as-good mobile ports.
Buy Carcassonne: New Edition Now From Amazon.com
Time flies when you’re having fun saving the world from four deadly diseases! It’s been 10 years since Pandemic revolutionized board games forever by popularizing co-op play, and after many spin-offs and expansions, its back in a tricked-out 10th anniversary edition.
Pandemic Iberia is a spin-off of the hit board game that puts players in a point of history far earlier than the present. With this shift in time period comes some changes to core gameplay. In a world without fight, movement around the board is somewhat hindered. In a world where science is far more primitive, you don’t have the means to cure diseases. Is this evolutionary step backwards compelling enough of a twist to get board game players to the table?