Playing Pandemic in the time of COVID-19

It may seem in poor taste to play a game called Pandemic during  such a time as this, and yet for me there is something cathartic to exploring  this co-operative scenario as a gamified simulation.

Pandemic by Z-man is a game where 2-4 players take on the roles of skilled professionals seeking  to work together to stop not one but four deadly diseases from having a catastrophic effect on the global population.  Each member of the team must use their skills to slow the spread of and find a cure for these outbreaks by moving around the world and trading research knowledge about each disease. The game can take about 45 mins to play once the players have a clear understanding of how the game works. The  ends when the team cures the diseases or the diseases take over the world.

I have used Table Top Simulator to  play a run through of the first round of play here:

This game requires  the players to co-operate with each other  and so is a great opportunity to explore  and enhance interpersonal skills and communication. The players work together to overcome the board’s  game mechanic which is one of scenario or mission, from the start point there is an escalation of  board elements that must be arrested by the players actions. There is a need for the players to develop a strategy  for both curing the diseases as well as responding to the outbreaks by noting hot spots  and providing medical support.

Competitive gamers may find the collaboration needed in this game frustrating , however it is a good opportunity for learning listening skills and making sure that all team members are able to contribute to the strategy.

In this season as we sit at home with little agency  or control over our circumstances it can be helpful to play through a scenario that creates for us the opportunity to  make decisions and form strategies to fight a pandemic.

From a faith position the game can assist in prayer as we bring to mind the various people who are actively involved in working towards curing disease  and keeping our local and global systems running.

I would love to read your comments and experiences of this game and/or this time of isolation.

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