How Many Players Can Play Pandemic Board Game? (Find Out!)

By Kimberly

Updated:

Playing board games is a stimulating pastime and a great way to get family and friends to sit together and talk. Most of the time, board games are competitive, like Monopoly. So, why not bring a cooperative board game like Pandemic to the table?

The base Pandemic game is designed for two to four players over the age of 8 years. This game might be too advanced for some children, although experienced board game-playing children will love it.

The first Pandemic game came out in 2008, and since its release, there’s been several expansions and spinoffs. So, even though I mentioned that two to four players are all it takes to play the game, there is a way to enjoy the game with more players.

Keep reading the article to learn more about the game – it’s so much fun!

an image of the game board pandemic

What is the Minimum Number of Players for the Pandemic Board Game?

While board games are usually enjoyed as a group activity, board game enthusiasts play cooperative games alone. Pandemic (the game) is made to be a team game with a minimum of two players.

However, Pandemic’s game designer, Matt Leacock, created an official solo treatment for the board game.

If you are up for the solo Pandemic game challenge, check out the rules here.

In most cases, you’ll want a friend to play Pandemic with. So, it is worth buying even if only two live in the house (or attend the game party). It also serves as a great icebreaker game for those who have new roommates.

We recommend playing this game with at least one other player. The experience of having table talk and strategizing brings out the beauty of the Pandemic board game.

What is the Maximum Number of Players for the Pandemic Board Games?

The Pandemic Board game is designed for play with up to four players. However, more players can join the game when game expansions are added or by playing with teams (although this isn’t an officially endorsed playing method). 

In the game, all four players are given a randomly selected role. Players can end up as dispatchers, medics, scientists, researchers, operations experts, contingency planners, or quarantine specialists. Team dynamics can heavily influence the tides of the game.

Unofficially, you can add more players to the game by giving each role a team of players. This is how we play games designed for fewer players than we have playing, especially when we play a family game.

In this case, we would pair the youngest two players with the two most experienced players. The teams of two would then share a role. Usually, it’s me with our daughter and our youngest boy with my husband. Then, the two older boys each get their roles.

This way, all 6 of us can play, giving our youngest children time and helping them learn how to play board games.

Can Pandemic be Played with 5 Players or More?

In the initial design, the Pandemic Board Game accommodates only up to four players. Expansion packs have raised the total number of players to 6, although pairing players into a single role can unofficially raise that even higher.

  • For 5 players: buy the “On The Brick” expansion.
  • For 6 players: get the “In the Lab expansion” pack.

Expansions not only increase the number of players that can be added to the game, but they also add more possible roles, events, and challenges. This is all to keep the game challenging and entertaining for players.

The great thing about the Pandemic board game is its replayability. Even if we’ve already ended the game, it feels like a new challenge every time we open the box, and the expansion adds even more spice to the game.

What is Pandemic Legacy?

In Pandemic Legacy, players still try to save the world from viruses, but each game represents one month in the campaign. Each month the rules and mission change. Regardless of winning or losing one game, players proceed to the next month, where a new set of challenges is set to complete.

Say we’re all set and ready to buy the Pandemic Board Game, but then we notice another game on the shelf that looks like Pandemic only with the word “Legacy” included in the title- what are we going to do? Is this a repackaged version of Pandemic or a different game?

First off, don’t panic. It’s another game, but it can be as fun as the regular Pandemic Board Game. 

New components and rules are sealed in individual packages, and players get to open them once a month passes. Unfortunately, this mechanic makes the game only playable once.

Pandemic Legacy is an amazing game – and I recommend you read our article: Can You Play Pandemic Legacy More Than Once (3 Reasons You Can’t), next.

How Many People Can Play Pandemic Legacy?

Like Pandemic’s base game, Pandemic Legacy Season 1 can be played with two to four players. It has an average playtime of one hour, which goes quickly once playing begins.

Again, it can work with more players if teams of players share a role, but it can get a lot louder and more rambunctious, depending on your players!

Is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu the same as most other Pandemic games?

While the game is under the Pandemic line, players are not trying to save humanity from deadly diseases. Instead, they are preventing the awakening of the Eldritch monster called Cthulhu. The game uses the same mechanics as the original Pandemic game, but this time with a horrific twist.

The team is tasked to stop cults from opening the gates to the otherworld while fending off different eldritch creatures. It’s a unique way to use and recycle the old Pandemic mechanics into the horror theme. The game is a definite must-have for Lovecraft fans.

What is the recommended age to start playing Pandemic?

Because the game includes many small components and strategies, it is not something younger kids can play. Children 8+ should be able to grasp the game mechanics, though they may need to be older to enjoy this strategy-heavy game.

If 8-year-olds play lots of board games, they may enjoy it. If not, this game may be more appropriate for children over 10 or 12, depending on their game preferences. Children might not enjoy the game as much as older people because of the strategy involved.

Try to invite children to the game table once they enter their early teens, but if the kids enjoy challenging board games as early as eight years old, parents can always see how well they can play Pandemic.

However, it’s always recommended that kids play with an adult who is aware of the game’s rules and mechanics, as Pandemic can get frustrating for younger kids.

Just for reference, this isn’t a game we’ve let our 10 and 12 year olds play without an adult, as it is involved. And they’re pretty good at games.

An image of children playing a board game with their dad. Game night.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Both games are not cheap, so we suggest buying Pandemic first. We’ll get our money’s worth because of the countless times we can play the game. Pandemic Legacy is one campaign that ends after playing it for months.

For massive fans of the Pandemic series, it’s a great addition, but if we want something we can keep enjoying with our family and friends, we should get the base Pandemic version rather than Pandemic Legacy.

However, if you’re set on getting and reusing Pandemic Legacy, make sure you read our article Can You Play Pandemic Legacy More Than Once (3 Reasons You Can’t) first!

Resources

Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as gamers.

  • How to play Pandemic | Official Rules | UltraBoardGames. (n.d.). https://www.ultraboardgames.com/pandemic/game-rules.php
  • Pandemic (board game). (2022, November 17). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic_(board_game)

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