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Quarantine looks a lot like board game Pandemic

Pandemic's legacy

A cursory glance at the newly announced Quarantine [official site] could easily lead you to say something like “oh, it looks like Plague Inc but from the human's side”. But you are not thinking hard enough, cursory glancer. As board game aficionados will tell you, Quarantine looks a lot more like a single-player version of the much-loved Pandemic.

In this, you'll be playing as the head of “Pandemic Defense” an international agency tasked with stopping an aggressive outbreak. You need to recruit a team of specialists and dispatch them around the world, while researching the contagion and upgrading your technical and medical skills to fight back. If you don't act quick enough, the disease can mutate past your understanding of it and cause even more outbreaks in cities, inciting chaos along the way and reducing your income. Here's a sickly trailer.

Cover image for YouTube video

So yes, quite Pandemic-y then. It feels odd that there's not a single nod to Matt Leacock's excellent board game in the blurbs and promotional material, given how similar it looks. Just a single reference in their announcement to "the board game scene". It's possible publishers 505 Games haven't played the meeple and cardboard equivalent, but, I mean, yeah.

There are differences. Most notably, instead of having three mates to argue with over whether you send the scientist to Kinshasa or London, you'll be doing this job alone, giving it a more "commander of XCOM" vibe. I'm not sure if this will improve the game or lessen its impact. On the one contaminated hand, discussing and figuring out what to do as a group can be fun. On the other bubonic hand, many games of Pandemic do just end up with one person giving orders and calling the shots anyway, usually whoever has the fastest Board Game Brain. A single-player equivalent makes sense.

Anyway, it's hitting Steam Early Access on February 9, if you're feeling up to it.

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Brendan Caldwell avatar

Brendan Caldwell

Former Features Editor

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.