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Pandemic 2

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Rating: 4.6/5 (737 votes)
Comments (504) | Views (35,523)

Joshpandemic2_screen1Developed by Dark Realm Studios, Pandemic 2 is the sequel to the morbidly fun original Pandemic, a game in which your goal is to eradicate the human race with the perfect disease. While the original game didn't go on to become hugely popular, Pandemic 2 is more an improvement upon its predecessor than a sequel, with an improved interface and more features. Judging by the game's growing success, the developers offered gamers a better package this time around; a sort of real-time strategy/simulation game in which you get to play God (or the Devil?), concocting the ultimate virus, bacteria or parasite to kill every last person on the planet.

In Pandemic 2, you're given the choice to create one of the three aforementioned diseases, each having its own inherent strengths and weaknesses. For example, a virus can evolve the fastest, has a bonus to infectivity, but can be most negatively affected by its environment. A parasite, on the other hand, evolves the slowest, but is least affected by the environment and has the lowest visibility. These are the three main traits of your disease; lethality, infectivity and visibility. The higher the lethality, the easier and faster it will claim victims. Infectivity represents its contagiousness, dependent on factors like how it's transmitted (rodents, insects, airborne, waterborne) and also symptoms like sneezing, coughing and more. Lastly, your disease's visibility should be as low as possible to prevent people from taking notice (and then taking action to contain it). Ingeniously, many of the same symptoms that help spread your disease like sneezing and coughing will also increase its visibility, as will other symptoms like dementia, vomiting and depression. Too much visibility and you'll be met with closed borders, grounded airplanes and even vaccines being developed, all of which are the enemy of any respectable disease.

Your interface is simple and effective. A map of the world is laid out before you, with a mini-map in the upper-left corner for quick navigation. Below the mini-map is a news feed, keeping you up-to-date on breaking world news. The world map represents the two dozen or so major world countries and areas that Pandemic 2 recognizes, with various symbols within them representing hospitals, airports, shipyards and water plants. Below the map are menu functions to access the main menu, world info, disease info and adjustable game speed (which can also be paused). Controls rely solely on mouse clicks. Also below the map you'll see your "evolution points," the currency of the game used to upgrade your disease. Evolution points are earned by both infecting and killing people, a number which accurately corresponds to real-world global and national populations.

pandemic2_screen2Gameplay is rather simple once you get acquainted with user interface and game system, although it can all be a bit overwhelming. In a nutshell though, gameplay boils down choosing your disease and molding that disease into a fast-spreading, killing machine. Speed really is the key, because the goal of the game is to wipe out every last person on earth. The problem is that once your disease jumps from resembling a common cold to something more sinister, nations of the world begin taking steps to avoid infection. They close down airports and shipyards, close their borders and eventually begin enforcing marshal law and burning infected corpses. Essentially, it's a race against humanity to sneak in under the radar, infect every nation on the planet, and then become lethal enough to wipe everyone out.

Analysis: Although there have been similar "doomsday" sim games over the years, Pandemic 2 stands out as one of the best. The solid algorithms beneath the hood, as well as the entertaining-yet-realistic steps humanity takes to survive makes for an intriguing game concept. For example, one of humanity's lines of defense will be trying to develop a vaccine after a certain point, in which the clock will start to count down. Depending on various factors (like how many hospitals are still functioning, or how many points you've spent in making your disease resistant to drugs), your disease might meet its demise after X amount of days. On the other hand, humanity's vaccine might be unsuccessful, buying you time to beef up your lethality while it searches for another cure. You'll enjoy being the bad guy, while at the same time, empathizing with humanity as they desperately try to avert Armageddon.

Without question, the most enjoyable aspect of Pandemic 2 happens to be the only thing you can control; the disease itself. The evolution points you earn allow you to give your disease resistances, infecting methods and symptoms, the latter of which offers a morbid array of everything from sneezing to kidney failure to internal hemorrhaging. You even have the ability to remove a symptom that's undesirable if it mutates on its own, such as removing the "sweating" symptom so that the "fever" symptom is more lethal, since sweating cools the body down. Other than that, you mainly sit back and watch what happens. It's an interesting concept in gaming, perhaps even a bold move on the developer's part, considering the current socio-political climate surrounding bio-chemical attacks and the world's collective fear of a pandemic virus. But for all of you who couldn't care less and just want to play a mad bio-chemist for a day, give it a try.

Play Pandemic 2

Cheers to Spector17, Yash, Eric, Kevin, Vault, Shawn and Patrick for suggesting this one! =)


While I can't deny that this game is massively entertaining, it is kind of stupid that even if my disease is 100% symptom free (no harmful effects whatsoever, all are sold) and has 0% visibility, countries will still close borders and airports to get rid of the disease. Plus, after a while without contact with other countries, wouldn't some have to open borders to get food or other supplies?
The game is fun, but a bit unrealistic and practically impossible to win. Especially trying to get that Madagascar. Madness will ensue when Madagascar closes it's single boat station before any other countries.
The moral of this game? Live in Madagascar, you'll always survive Armageddon. =P

Anonymous July 23, 2008 1:23 PM

I played this game for hours on end yesterday. I have come to the conclusion that people are a little too paranoid when it comes to a virus or partasite that does NOTHING. At all. (Maybe it will later, hehe.)

As for the matter of Madagascar, this comic (not made by me) explains it.


P.S. If it wasn't fixed overnight, robots run greenland--nothing wants to shut down.








I was able to win by using a parasite, give no symptoms just put points into climates and methods of transmission until it spreads everywhere, then put all your points left into stuff that will kill.

Zebubble July 23, 2008 1:59 PM

Do you guys know that if you put Madagascar in your name you will start there? It worked for me.


its even worse if you start in madagascar... just try to get a disease to leave the island before they shut down!


I noticed they didn't mention what a pain it is to infect Madagascar.


Easy game. Just make sure you get all the transmissions done before anything. Once your Pandemic has gone to every country, that's when you raise the lethality of it, and kill everyone off. I liked the game, it was just a little slow at first, and I'm very impatient.

Blooooo July 23, 2008 2:24 PM

Another hilarious glitch is when you kill off everybody in Greenland, the hospital will manage to stay open.


ooo i feel so EVIL!!

this is a good game i like it!


What the!?

Apparently I'm a biohazard parasite that is now easily detected.




I found this game pretty enjoyable. Just remember not to take it too seriously, it's just a game ;).

mtheminja July 23, 2008 2:56 PM

Seth's advice is the obvious strategy, but it doesn't really work. Even a symptomless supertransmisive panenvironmental parasite with the stealthy trait gets detected before spreading everywhere.


Any tricks that might help?


Anyone else find the UI very dark? I quit for a bit and came back before I figured out that there was a close button on the upper right corner of that "Hey watch the tutorial" window.

dibkins July 23, 2008 3:32 PM

i'm just not enjoying this game. there doesn't seem to be anything to do except the obvious strategy, and that fails to get into the islands nine times out of ten.
a little more interactivity would be fun, or feed back on such if it is there and i'm just not seeing it.

Anonymous July 23, 2008 4:04 PM

Had spread everywhere and killing parasite, and 3359 days left for the vaccine... while they're trying to find a vaccine try buying some more symptoms to buy some more time.


I found that the obvious strategy is ineffective as others have found out as well. There is just too much luck involved with where the disease will actually end up.

As a person with a fondness for micromanaging RTS games I found this game pretty lackluster in its accomplishment. The graphics are virtually non-existent and only serve the purpose of visual indications of what's going on in each country (but even that is a subpar accomplishment.) I think it fell well short of being all it could have been.

Things I think would have improved the gameplay: instead of having to click on the WORLD button to see the progress on the vaccine or infected countries a couple bars on the main screen and a biohazard symbol on the infected countries.

When your endeavor is to make an RTS game the worst thing you can do is make it to where the decision making is not occurring in real-time. It's a continuity killer to do so and makes the game seem too 'staggering' (for lack of a better word.) Have the build options available from the main screen and don't have them pause the game.

There is also no way to at a glance see offhand the actual infection amounts. This information should be shown on the main screen instead of having to check each individual country.

I think I would have made the game completely different and gone with a less obnoxious music choice and added sounds for certain event. Wind for the hurricanes, people screaming and firing weapons during rioting for example. I would also have made it possible to evolve local strains in each of the countries for an added touch of depth and instead of using points to sell traits back I'd allow people to gain a fraction of their points back since having to purchase the loss of a trait is not only counter-intuitive it is also too much of a handicap.



I found the game awesome, with a few small problems. Won't keep me from playing the game over and over again though.


Anonymous July 23, 2008 4:51 PM

I think having water resistance II and water transmission freaks the countries out because it infects their water supplies. I'm not for sure but I'm trying it.


I have failed to infect Madagascar (of course), West Europe, and New Zealand. The vaccine is 167 days to completion, but I have drug resistance.


Well shoot! I thought I'd start a second game, but when I clicked on the link to Pandemic 2, it opened on top of my existing game and I lost it.

Valarauka July 23, 2008 5:34 PM

Your disease has managed to exterminate humans off the face of the earth.

Started in South Africa as a bacterium; luckily managed to sneak into Madagascar on an infected ship before they shut down everything. From there, it was cake.

I must say though, this game could have been done a whole lot better. It really gets boring; there's nothing to do but sit around and gather evolution points, and hope/pray you spread to the right places fast enough.



Please submit game ideas through this link rather than posting them in an existing forum. Thanks!



I named my epidemic "Republicans" tee hee

fuzzyface July 23, 2008 6:21 PM

Where they able to set feet on madagascar? :)

Shuffledog July 23, 2008 6:24 PM


Looks like keeping the resistances no more than level II, and sticking to zero symptoms and only rodent and insect transmission, I was able to sneak it to most countries before anyone figured anything out. I got Madagascar finally!

This was casual mode. I'll try harder tomorrow.

Gryphon78 July 23, 2008 6:39 PM

I just got the most awesome thing! my disease had a vaccine made, so I bought a new symptom. deployment finished, and I got a notice saying that my virus was mutated to be resistant to all vaccines! I had level three of all resistances if anyone wants to try to reproduce it....


This game is as unrealistic as it gets...

First: A small country like Madagascar would have little-no resources in the event of a wide spread pandemic, and with insect and rat transmission, they couldn't leave the island without becoming infected themselves.

Second: The probability of a small lifeform such as these evolving the same way at the exact same time continets away is so unlikely that it cannot be expressed in numbers...

Third: There are more than 24 hospitals in the world.

Fourth: Insects and rats can travel on their own or attached to avial animals that migrate, thus providing them a journey to a small country that houses migratory animals such as Madagascar.

Fifth: I don't know but 5 seems more rounded than 4.

Gryphon78 July 23, 2008 6:50 PM

I find it humorous that my disease had only sneezing, and no deaths, yet the entire world shut down because a of a few countries where everyone was sneezing.


Thought of a fifth: Diseases with no symptoms cannot be found easily unless a bloodwork is done weeks after catching it.


sorry for the extra post but: Madagascar has no borders to close and where are the scientists in Antartica


All my ship ports closed while one boat was in transit and for 300+ game days I watched it float around the ocean being like "where did all the ports go?"

Anonymous July 23, 2008 7:37 PM

Didn't really see the relevance of the natural disasters.


this game frustrated me, but let me tell you, once you get Madagascar, it's like heaven!

it's the best high ever seeing those boats fork off right into that stupid country.


Is there any way to win made and distributed?


my strategy was to open about 10 different tabs with the game going and only focus on one or two at a time.

eventually, I found the other games transmit the disease more stealthfully and quickly than if I'm actually attempting stealth and speed. haha

I played as a parasite in every case. when you ignore the games a bit, the points REALLY rack up and it really is low visibility.

[I also got Greenland to FINALLY close their hospital and now the vaccine will take "infinity" days to complete.]



having said all that, I think the game is extremely luck-based.

so sorry for the multiple posts!


again, I'm so sorry about the mulitple posts but here's information on the natural disasters

copy/pasted from the "guide":

Earthquakes greatly reduce the effectiveness of hospitals in the region.

Floods temporarily boost exposure to your disease if your disease is able to spread via water.

Hurricanes temporarily close airports due to high winds. Also temporarily closes schools and transit.

Droughts increase insect population, and boosts exposure to your disease if it is spreadable by insects.

Riots negate the effects of curfews.


I remember the original fondly. Given that that version was winnable without incredible luck and the countries seemed to react slightly more logically to symptoms, I don't think this is much of an improvement.


Strategy that worked well for me was

Having the resistances at 1/1/1/2 (from the left), being a parasite, selling any symptoms that you get at the start, and buying airborne

wait til all countries are infected, and use alllll those points you've worked up in the meantime to buy some various deadly diseases. Joy ensues.

unconvention July 23, 2008 9:04 PM

I like the way ships buzz around aimlessly like flies once all the ports are closed.

For your enjoyment:

Last man standing
The Fate of Madagascar


k, just infected people in all of Africa. I'm a parasite named "Madmen-run-away-from-you. jeeze, you'd think they'd like a disease that makes them crazy person free.


OK, my disease just traveled to China and my starting place (South Africa) turned regular brown.


so many updates! i'll stop them NOW!

pandammit July 23, 2008 9:30 PM

I like how countries start to burn the bodies of the infected when my 0% lethal parasite has yet to kill anyone.


Here's something funny. while people were closing seaports, a ship was sailing! so now, it's lost in the Atlantic Ocean!

Anonymous July 23, 2008 9:53 PM

If you are a human, if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere.
If you are a small entity bent upon the destruction of mankind, if you can make it to Madagascar, you can make it anywhere.


Grr! I made an awesome parasite. It infected everything. I saw everything fading into red. When I checked the world menu, I saw pretty much everything in the infected list.



So I rushed to capture Madagascar. I upped everything: heat resistance, cold resistance, moisture, but no ship dared enter Madagascar. A few days later, Madagascar closed its harbor.

When it's time for the pathogenic apocalypse bent on destroying the world, I will know, and so shall all of you, to move to Madagascar. Only the strong will survive. Or those who played Pandemic II.


YAY! the only country (not counting the four cleaned islands: Madagascar, (sounds like they need my disease) Cuba, Japan, and New Zealand) that's not dead is China. though, I want It to die!


I think the main issue is while it says Madagascar has airports, it quite obviously doesn't. No planes land there, which makes infecting it that much harder. Those cute little boats just never go there enough!


i really don't think this deserved a review. It claims to be realisistic but it just isn't. it ignores so many of the rules of evolution, infection, virulence, and priority. no government on earth (and certainly no collaboration of governments) would spend money to create and distribute a vaccine for a virus, bacteria, or parasite that does not cause the slightest bit of damage to its host. And it gives you evolution points based on time passed, not people infected, which is how the three really evolve. The governments are incredibly good at response to the problem...something that I doubt could ever happen. The vaccine is also deployed to everyone on earth...how? And last, but not least, and certainly not the actual last of its problems, there are so few ways in which the virus/bacteria/parasite is spread. This game makes no sense, and the lack of control the player has over anything makes it a massive failure in my book.


it really seems like the popularity of this game earned it this review rather than the quality.


I find the instant reaction to disease changes ludicrous. I was having some slowing of transmission, so I added in rats. Immediately all infected nations began exterminating rats. Hel-LO? it TAKES a few days for dead ones to appear and people to catch on that they are a transmission vector!

Also, every nation in the WORLD closes EVERYthing the moment one person in Indonesia drops dead. Seriously, what gives?

@(0.o)@ July 24, 2008 1:04 AM

i think it's best to just start with symptoms(dont change them) and don't add transmission and up resistance after it's uped to category2-3. use airborne and waterborne to spread like wild fire. But it didn't matter for me; i started in madagascar. Ha!

Escaflowne July 24, 2008 1:38 AM

I was looking forward to this new release but it seriously falls short of a good game. Some points of criticism:
1. Luck seems to be the over-riding factor in winning, the Madagascar problem.
2. There is only one strategy to this game, have no visibility at the start and increase deadliness only when ALL countries are infected ie Boring. I would like to try a strategy of low infectivity but high mortality but it just can't work with these mechanics.
3. As soon as an uninfected country closes its borders you might as well restart. There is nothing your can do get them to reopen, whereas selling symptoms to reduce visibility to get people to relax would seem an obvious tactic that people should be allowed to try.
4. Visually: comma delimit the numbers so they're easier to read. Round of the infections per day number.
5. Transmission and resistance have no effect on infectivity bar (only symptoms) although it obviously does.
6. Increasing drug resistance doesn't overcome a successfully deployed vaccine, another example of logical strategy not employed in this game.
7. The game is still too slow even on the fastest speed. There is not much button clicking needed in this game so a lot of time is spent just waiting for points to accumulate so they can be spent.
This game has a lot of potential to be really fun and engaging, I just think it needs a lot more refinement.

Draffut July 24, 2008 1:39 AM

Well, played this a few days back. It honestly took about 9 different games to win, and just boils down to restarting once Madagascar loses over and over, until you get in.

zbeeblebrox July 24, 2008 1:41 AM

My disease "Reganomics" successfully infected and destroyed every country in the world, except Australia. Guess the Aussies have safeguards against the trickle-down effect. :p

I love how zero people can be dead of your disease, and the government will start burning bodies to 'help prevent infection'. This is extremely disturbing when 100% of the population is already infected. Wait...so they're burning people alive then? Doesn't that make them dead? How come *I* don't get credit for this??

I must be in the minority though. The three times I've played it, Madagascar never really posed a problem..

This game has the potential to be really good if some logical problems were addressed. It's especially impressive when compared to its rather shallow predecessor. I look forward to Pandemic 3.


I wonder if the Madagascar problem isn't caused by the map itself. That is, most of the shipping seems to take place in the "middle" (the Atlantic), while very few ships ply the "edges" (Pacific/Indian Ocean).

I was only able to win when I started in Madagascar (with a disease appropriately entitled "Madagascar Madness"). I used the high-resistance/high-transmission/no symptom strategy mentioned several times here and managed to infect most of the world before scientists finally developed and deployed a vaccine. Fortunately, I had started out with the "mutator" trait, the vaccine failed, and that was pretty much it. (Still, I almost felt sorry for the scientists--fewer than 200,000 uninfected and they finally develop a vaccine... and it doesn't work. Talk about a bad day.)

For a while I only had fever and cysts as symptoms, and nobody died. Then I added pulmonary edema and people started dropping like flies. It was scary how fast the dead count started to rise. I eventually added insanity and encephalitis (it is a "madness," after all), but they didn't seem to increase the death rate. Maybe there just weren't enough people left alive by that point.


Well, I beat it. Started in Madagascar and managed to get the Stealth trait, so it spread all over the globe -- I had a number of nations at 100% infection before the border closings started, and silly Greenland stayed open long after the carnage began. Now that I've killed everyone, I won't have to play any more.

juv3nal July 24, 2008 4:34 AM

Immortal_Z's strategy modified using rats & insects instead of airborne worked well for me. Apparently the key is that for some complete nonsense reason, resistances make your disease more noticeable so if you don't upgrade much of anything, you can sneak into Madagascar, it just takes patience.

waycooler July 24, 2008 5:02 AM

i have a boat going in circles in the atlantic. must've been uninformed of the whole thing. "OH NOES THE WORLD BE DYING LET'S STAY ON OUR BOAT FOR YEARS AND SURVIVE!"

next on the list after all infected die, start over, make it super-transmittable, then kill them all!


Playing this game, I'm kind of surprised it's so divisive; a lot of people here (and on Kongregate, where I played it) seem put off by the lack of realism, which is the oddest thing. As a community of gamers (both JiG and Kongregate), I'd have thought we'd have all realised extreme realism is not the key to a great game. Sure, the "realism" mode ought to remain true to its word, but that's a difficulty setting, not a promise of things to come. If you want realism, go fire up your Xbox and play Call of Duty; if you just want a fun game to kill an hour or two, play a casual flash game. Make sense?

As for the game, I enjoyed it, but there really isn't a lot of depth. There may be things like world disasters, and closing amenities, and the like to account for, that you can have oodles of fun adapting your disease to counteract, but in the end, there only seems to be one strategy that will guarantee a win (and even that won't work every time): infect the world while symptomless, then bump up the lethality. Assuming you can sneak up on Madagascar, that almost guarantees a win, and is the only strategy I've found that works so far.

There are a few issues with the interface too (this part is only my opinion). The alive/infected/dead stats for each country could do with being visible without having to click into an extra screen. Ditto the vaccination progress.

I didn't find myself wanting a faster game speed, like a few people I've seen commenting here and there. I've complete the realism mode three times, all in near or around half an hour, and that was fine. But maybe I got lucky, and some people are spending hours on this thing.

The only thing I don't understand is how points are awarded. Having killed everyone in the world, the only apparent variable that matters at the end of the world, my score is still a good 12,000 short of everyone else on the leaderboard. The only thing I can think of that would have increased my score is perhaps holding off killing everyone as long as possible while I max out my disease's stats, but that seems counter-intuitive. Completion time seems like a more effective way of awarding points, but that didn't seem to make a difference.

Whatever. I quite enjoyed this game - and it's not the sort of thing I'd usually play - but it doesn't offer much replayability (until I figure out how to get a higher score).

CapnHulk July 24, 2008 5:35 AM

I thought the game was pretty neat at first. Then I realized that it's still the same exact gameplay from the first one only now it takes 10 times as long to accomplish anything.

Keep visibility low, ramp up resistances, infect the world, add symptoms. Bingo, Bango, you're done. Sometimes you exterminate the human race, and sometimes Japan or some other island nation remains healthy. That's it. Finito. There's no real strategy.


What bugged me was that the lack of realism made the game too simple. (not that the game ever could be totally realistic.)

In reality, each mutation of the virus would have to spread from its mutation point. The game would be more fun if the evolution points encouraged types of mutation that would randomly evolve in different places and would have to re-spread.

Still, I enjoyed it for a couple of hours until I killed everyone. Although, when I did, I scored less than when I missed Madagascar but set the lethality up earlier.

Maktaka July 24, 2008 6:07 AM

If you'd prefer a version of Pandemic that's faster, more logical (not more realistic, more logical and easier to predict and thus easier to actually play), has a better interface, music (especially the music), and just all around BETTER game, go play Pandemic: End of Man instead. Same tactic of high infectivity/low death is necessary for victory, but at least the game is better.

Nathaniel July 24, 2008 6:09 AM

what i dont get is why do countries begin burning bodies when i havent killed anyone.
unless they burn infected people alive (which would be a great way to contain the outbreak )

@(0.o)@ July 24, 2008 6:34 AM

hmm i think this game could be way better just by simply adding some symptoms or transmissions that are only available to one class like parasites beeing transmitted through food like pork

Cale Gibbard July 24, 2008 7:35 AM

I beat it twice, first as a parasite (which happened the first time I played as parasite), and then as a virus.

It seems that the key to winning is to turn the game into as boring a thing as possible. Sell any symptoms you happen to start with, and buy level 1 or 2 drug resistance, and *nothing else* and then sit back and wait, and hope that you spread to every country before things go nuts. Keep an eye on the game to see if something is completely shut off (Like if Madagascar closes its ports, or Peru closes its borders, might as well restart).

Once you've reached every country, you are pretty much unstoppable, save accidentally getting hit with a vaccine, but that shouldn't happen. By this point, you'll have lots of DNA points, so buy all the resistances you can, and the 4 transmission vectors, and if you have any more points, you can even get some symptoms. The vaccine should be delayed to hundreds of days, much longer than it will take to finish spreading to the rest of the population and develop some deadly symptoms to wipe everyone out.


I have just infected 6 billion of the worlds population with


but those lucky folks in Madagascar, Cuba and Japan saw it coming early and closed their borders, so no happy pills for them.


Jay, you should add the link for Kongregate: Pandemic 2 on Kongregate

mixedmetaphor July 24, 2008 9:12 AM

i suspect this game of being created by pro-Madagascans as a way of making the world care about their country.

Actually, the current bane of my existence is Peru -- no airports or shipyards, and stubbornly green despite the millions of deaths in Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Mexico.

I agree that the game is not overly realistic, nor overly exciting when things start to slow down a bit -- after the rapid-fire news bulletins cease, you're just waiting to build up some more evolution points before anything can continue. I think a cool way to increase the realism would be to have the natural disasters affect the disease and the country's resistance. For example, if your disease is water-bourne, a drought would slow the spread.

In my favorite round, Greenland was wiped out first, and I had two lost ships bumping around the Atlantic like pinballs, even though Greenland's shipyards were supposedly open.


This game presents an odd sort of personal challenge for me. I found this playing Pandemic I as well as Pandemic II, but try as I might, I simply cannot bring myself to kill off the world's population. In all that downtime while waiting for points, I start dreaming up stories for the world I'm playing in. I start writing the fictional tales of scientists driven mad is pursuit of a cure, I start thinking about every mother and wife who will have to lose someone they love to the disease. And then I just can't follow through with it...does this even happen to anyone else?

Also, I named my disease "The Super-Happy-Awesome Plague," which just barely fit the character limit, I was quite pleased with myself!

I infected the entire world before I quit, but no deaths, I spent all my points on resistance...

And I started on Madagascar! Take that, lemurs!

Anonymous July 24, 2008 10:19 AM

That's it... I'm moving to madagascar...

Apparently people don't get sick there...


I'm troubled that it's forgotten how rats can swim. Or that insects can fly up to 3000 feet up.

Hilariously I started in Australia, and not only did NZ hold out, with 100% infection Aussie was dead last to close airports and shipyards.

Maybe they hate Australia and love Madagascar?

fuzzyface July 24, 2008 10:48 AM

I really tried hard with various strategies, no go!
Well I wrote a lot, so I'll use spoilers to not clud your screen.

My playing experience:

I tried to even make the sickness hardly infectious so to have a stable size of sick population, that can go around the world. The basic idea was on the beginning buy cists which are infectious so increase the start population of sick, when I reched 10.000 sick, I sold it again. Didn't buy anything else but 1 drug resistance. However only that small degree to much on growth and it was a very slightly growing population. I played over 2 hours with this close to stable population, but the numbers where slowly rising, and what happens. Boom! Madagaskar closes seaport, Peru closes borders. Argh. If there is a winning strategy I really don't get it. Also I beleive its true what one poster here said, the ships don't go even roughly even, in my case most of the time they swimmed through atlantik, hardly any ships in the pacific at all. I tried much to give a go on this challenge, but I resign. Other try, be a little infectious and a little lethal, don't care about visiblity, as the numbers a very small: Start in west-europe. 33 sickness total, no additional infectioness/resistances at all, symptoms: Fever and Vomiting (this is roughly the influenza!) What does europe, close its public transport! Argh! I mean really? 33 people sick on an influence similar sickness, and you close down all public transport in europe?? redicolous

My rent about the advertisments being so close to the game window, so they get clicked by accident:

Also a real pain is the google ad rightly down of the game, more than once I clicked on the advertisment instead of the game, the game closes at goes to the new page! ARGH! Either they were just ignorant/stupid to notice this, or if I'm less friendly I say they did in on purpose because ad clicking is more worth than me having fun on the game.

Wondering about the message behind the game

I don't know what the game wants us to teach. Maybe the dangers of public transports? Or the traits of various sickness? Just be as fun as possible? or it just wants to be popular?

Reflections about infections:

It makes me think about various strategies infections can take, and what makes a sucessfull infection. Since infections don't want to be noticed so the infected not be socially excluded. Infections want to spread, however actually the "goal" of an infection is live, not to kill its hosts. In this game is complety wrong. I mean when all hosts die the infection dies itself too, and "loses" in the game of life. An infection that is so deadly it kills its hosts so fast can not be sucessfull. Thats why ebola fails on humans. So what is the most successfull infection on humans? chill is! Everywhere, hardly paid much attention to, doesn't affect its hosts too much, except what it needs to spread. Well okay, an infection wants you to survive, and even want you to be able to raise children, so it has new hosts. However after that it doesn't care if it kills you by accident or not, or uses your death to spread.

Wondering about how&what the coders did/intenioned:

In regard of this game, I believe either there is some messagae there what I fail to see (so when it failed to bring it over), or the coders failed to play their game themselves at end to check if its really funny. Also it seems a bit bad researched for me, especially as it wants to be realistic. If you e.g. are a bacteria, some symptoms still say "allows you virus to".. Its not a virus, its a bacteria! Also I wonder if there is any "airborness" at all. At least I don't know of it. Fungi can spread with spores over air, but I don't know of any infection that does not require any contact at least with any liquid (and this can in the worst case be drop from caughing flying over 10 meters, and be able to survive there for months) but over air and breath? At least impossible to any sickness known to humanity.. err sorry known to fuzzyface :-) Maybe I'm wrong.

Why do some people like the game after all?

I guess at last all what the game really caters is this little evil devil residing in us, that says, oh yes lets kill all of humanity! har har har! I don't know if this game has much more to offer.

Suggestions about a better game with similar theme:

I think it would be far funnier if the roles were turned around, that is you are a "world central office for pandemics" with incredible power to shutdown countries etc., and you'd need to fight that pandemic. Of course you don't know where the pandemic starts or it will be very easy. You get hints, about abnormal symptoms, but which can be wrong too and just "normal" sicknesses. Closing borders/airports/traffic etc. makes a country unlucky, and produce less dollars you can invest into cure of a disease. Countries being locked down too long without obvious reason to their population will riot, making people ignoring your safity banns. Worst case country goes out of your contorl and reopens its borders etc. and giving you no money at all, until it sees a good reason to come back.

Anonymous July 24, 2008 10:48 AM

The idea that "closing the borders" will somehow 100% effectively block all transmission of a disease from one country to another is kind of ridiculous. Riots should affect whether closing the borders will stop the spread. And even if the borders are closed, can't rats and insects sneak past? And how can poorer countries like Brazil have some impenetrable anti-rat/insect walls when half their borders are covered in wild jungle?

The routes of ships make absolutely no sense. I was staring at ships hoping they'd go to Madagascar, but not only would they not go to Madagascar, they wouldn't go -anywhere-. One ship weaved in and out of the Indian Sea, then spontaneously decided to go for a trip all the way across the Arctic Sea above Russia, before going for a few victory laps around the Americas. It eventually stopped in Argentina. Why would ANY ship, even the most ridiculous pleasure cruise or around-the-world racer, skip every single nearby port, and then travel in circles in the Pacific before finally docking? None of the shipyards were closed. The ship AI is just completely ridiculous. The routes of ships should be governed, at the very least, by proximity. I should expect Madagascar ships to often travel to South Africa.
In addition, sometimes a ship wouldn't come out of a country for 100 days. I can understand smaller countries not trading that much, but not a single ship ever leaving a country for over 3 months with absolutely nobody in the world noticing the disease? That's not "unrealistic fun gaming", that's just stupid.

The game doesn't have to be OMG SO REALISTIC (for instance, the generalizing of completely diverse countries into larger regions like "North Africa" is fine by me), but it has to at least make sense within itself. It's trying to go for this realistic feel with the music and world map look, so if it wants to achieve that effect it really needs to bump up the logic.

And hanging the ability to just bare-bones win completely on random luck is just plain unsatisfying and the exact opposite of my idea of "casual gaming". For hardcore players, competing to kill the world in the least amount of time would be great- you'll notice in these comments you can't even FINISH the game without random luck.

I'd look forward to a Pandemic 3 that has a lot more thought put into it. It feels like they didn't even test play this game. Unless they think barely being able to win without luck makes for a great game design.

fuzzyface July 24, 2008 11:11 AM

JIGuest, exactly. I wonder if this game would be removed its "narrative theme of destroying humanity", if it would be any fun at all. If it was about "yellow dots", conquering through setable traits a "fantasy world" of blue dots. And when the blue dots became yellow after a while, they become green and inactive. Goal: Make the whole world green. (In core it's still the same game) I hardly think in this setup-up but the same core-mechanics, it would even have come close to being featured....

Anonymous July 24, 2008 11:20 AM

damn you greenland!
madagascar wasn't a problem at all


The most effective strategy:

Cross your fingers.


No, i don't agree. There IS a very good strategy to win, but not so obvious:

Do NOTHING for the first 30 days, do NOT buy ANYTHING except level 1 resistances, even when vaccine starts developing. The borders are still open despite of range of pandemia.

BTW: I am the only one to whom this game reminds old 8-bit AgentUSA? That was a game from which the authors of Pandemia could learn a lot...


This is a fun game, but overall I'm going to have to give it a grade of C.


If a single uninfected country closes its borders it is IMPOSSIBLE TO WIN THE GAME. This would be fine if it wasn't so stupidly easy to get a country to close its borders. There is no reason that it should be possible to lose all hope so quickly.

I managed to infect a large amount of the world with a disease that does NOTHING and is literally UNDETECTABLE (according to the extremely misleading bars on the Disease page). And yet, oh dear, Peru just closed its borders! There's no way I can win!

Frustrating. Horribly, horribly frustrating.

gamewaseasy July 24, 2008 2:10 PM


Go in as the one furthest to the right... the one that isn't as visible. Do up 2 but no more for heat, cold, moisture, and drugs. Only use insects and rodents, and remove all symptoms. As soon as the vaccine gets completed and they begin deployment, get the worse symptom possible, if not all places are contaminated, than make sure it isn't too noticeable (i used pulmonary). Then, if it works like i did for me, it will say that your disease has mutated and they cant make a vaccine for it. Once every country has it, do water and air transmission, and just make the virus go wild... GAME OVER.

AND typing Madagascar as a name does not put you in Madagascar...


I definitely disagree with people who say that the game should be more realistic. I'd rather have fun than realism.

Unfortunately, the game isn't fun, and is not balanced at all. The problem is that once the borders close, the game might as well be over. The sad part is, there is the germ of a fun game here (haha a germ get it?), just some really bad decisions have prevented it from being something more than just an exercise in frustration.

Here would be a real simple way to make this game more fun. In the game I just played I managed to infect all of North and South America, except for the United States. You're telling me that with the huge borders between Mexico and Canada, that in the event of a world epidemic no people managed to sneak into the country? Not only that, other people brought up the fact that closing the borders is not going to stop rats and insects from crossing the borders.

Closing the borders should merely reduce the chances of transmission from one country to another, not stop it completely. Also, for island countries closing off the ports should reduce the chances of transmission, but there should still be the chance (even a remote chance) of insects being blown through the jet stream or something like that.

Maybe in the end that would make the game too easy, but I'd rather have a too easy game than one that requires a lot of work for what eventually ends up being luck of the draw.


stupid madagascar ! and new zealand ! ugh !!!! >:[
There Were Only 103,868 people left that weren't infected by the disease ! >:( this is maddening ! i've played this game millions of times and i've never gotten madagascar. i did once and because of it i did not get middle east! this game is extremely maddening. >:( i want to quit but i don't cause i want to win. the want to win is overwhelming! help me! i must get madagascar and new zealand ! >:) Muahahahahahaha.;)


I'm surprised Madagascar wasn't mentioned in the review. Heh. People over at Kongregate were complaining about it non-stop the other day. @_@ Myself included. Still haven't gotten it!

Darn you, Madagascar! Foiled me once again...

timbo23 July 24, 2008 4:05 PM

Well guys, here is how I ruled the world in 499 days. Virus name: "Wrath of Nathan" and start in Cuba.

Started in Cuba as a parasite (started with the durable, parasite, and harmless traits). Sole the symptom I started with, and got level 1 in all resistances. Waited about 30 days, added drug 2 and rodent. Waited until it showed up in a different country and added insect. By day 67 of letting this sit I had the entire world infected. At this point I bought up to tier 4. Started with only Blindness when I unlocked everything. Added vomiting, nausea, dementia, and encephalitis. Then as the cure got closer to being created, I added drug 3, and that increased the time to completion. Hospitals shut down before the cure came. I had 100% population infected and people started to drop like flies. The longest part was waiting for everyone to die... Started to slow down as populations dwindled. When it got to only 20k people, it went painfully slow, but I refused to buy any more symptoms to try to kill them off faster... STUPID harmless trait.

Game ended on day 499 with 133 points unspent. Had the added traits of Bloody Vomit, Apocalyptic, and Head Popper added to the original 3.


With no symptoms you somehow get noticed, even when it says visibility is 0.
Furthermore, they are "burning bodies" when my death count is zero.
The annoying part about that, is that it was zero when I had pretty much all the most deadly diseases.

Sylventhe July 24, 2008 4:46 PM

Let me express to the author, that this game was an interesting play. I hope s/he will take this as constructive criticism.

Change the countries to color to black as more people die off. Seeing a country completely red doesn't tell me how many people are still alive there.

Give the regions a biohazard symbol once they have been infected. When regions have 12 people infected but are still totally green, I have to go check another screen to find out if they are infected yet.

Make flights and ships red if they carry infected passengers.

As others have said, far too much is left to chance. There needs to be methods by which you can spend points to forceably move across borders and infect other regions. This should cost evolution points, and become more expensive as countries close borders, hospitals, etc.

Evolution points should be given based upon the number of infected people, the number of dead people, and the number of infected regions of the world. A small number of points should be accumulating as time goes on so they player can continue to make changes to stay alive.

Transmission vectors should affect the level of infectiousness bar.



I finally got into all of the countries and suddenly, they started making a vaccine. I was like "OH-NOEZ" and starting making it as infectious as possible.

Then the Vaccine was finished and I was like: "OHH-NOOOEZ!!!" and it started deploying (The only hospital left was in Greenland, and the vaccine finished with everyone in the country dead... ?)

When I was finnally finished deploying I was like: "SUPER OHH-NOOEZ!!!!" and checked how many people I had not infected...

The grand total of non-infected people (vaccinated) was:

And I couldn't beat the game cause you had to kill everyone.

Even though 1 person couln't reprouduce (with a human) and is better cause they would have to go through life as the last person.

I think there should be a natural death rate in which x ammount of people die during natural disasters and old age. So even if you can't get Madagascar and Japan (a problem area for me), It still can be killed by a Tsunami......... or Godzilla.


2 non-visible and leathal traits: Fever and Kidney Failure

squawky July 24, 2008 6:57 PM

There apparently is a small chance that areas can be infected after they close their borders/shipyards/airports -- in my last game, the disease traveled to Madagascar even though they had closed all three.

Of course, the same can't be said for Argentina, so my excitement at seeing the disease hit Madagascar was short-lived. Why rodents and insects couldn't cross from infected Peru or Brazil into Argentina (who weren't killing anything) bothers me.

It just must be a very very tiny chance that this happens once an area goes into isolation, that's all.

Otherwise a fun diversion, but frustrating that so much appears to depend on luck. Oh well.

fuzzyface July 24, 2008 7:16 PM

squawky, I think on many things there is a lag in the game, that means things happen before you can see them.

Especially with boats, I've seen boats going into recently closed harbors! I think it works if it was open when to boat left its last harbor.

But at first I considered it a challenge, but now its only frustration, so it needs to stop. And yes I tried the other "strategies" above this post since my last, all failed. Its really just 95% luck people, don't feel smart if you were just lucky, just try to do it a second time you will see how you will fail with the same strategy.


My GOD! Ive tried with the stealth and patient tactics 3 times and STILL i havnt got madagascar. No symptoms, NO transmission just a parasite with lvl 1 of all resistances..
Visability 0, all of the world infected(except madagascar), and the paranoid bastards close their crappy harbour!!! I even saw a ship coming in from an infected region but without infecting the stout madagascar ppl. GAAAAAH!
Well, if i hear someone coughing, ill move to madagascar. Apparantly its safer there..

Anonymous July 24, 2008 7:51 PM

I left the game on (by accident) for 7 hours unattended

with no symptoms and only level one resistances and not being transmitted by air or water as some people suggest

on casual game mode no less and still Madagascar was uninfected. Everywhere else was infected, but for some odd reason not Madagascar. The author really needs to do an update and make it possible to infect that island!


Well, I think I did well. So far I have only three regions that have not suffered from my evil Bacteria!


Blargh! I'm not even going to talk about the game itself.
My problem is that of the SITE'S design. Why the bloody heck did they stick advertising banners right next to the game window? I misclicked (hitting the banner), and instead of opening a NEW window, it changed the current window, destroying all of my progress.

FaceCase July 24, 2008 11:44 PM

I like the game, but I found it stressful, because obviously Madagascar is impossible to infect. It really just takes pure luck and no strategy. :(

cheryl l July 25, 2008 12:40 AM

This game has the potential to work well as one of those you leave on in the background, while you do something else, because it takes so much time and patience, and there really isn't very much for the player to do - it only needs some special sound effects to alert you to when something important happens: splashing sounds for floods, or warning tones for vaccine development, etc etc for new countries infected and borders/shipyards closing, first death. That, plus perhaps making borders/shipyards re-openable after they close (so that Madagascar can't outwit me as it has in the 6 times I've tried so far!), would have made this a fantastic game in my book.

But for a more interactive experience, it doesn't come close to being passable. There's just too much waiting, and too much luck, as most people have pointed out. I'd have loved to be able to control evolution of my virus in EACH country it infected, which would also be more realistic as well as tonnes more fun; I wish I could select or prioritise which country I wanted to infect next.

And I also wish the "Disease" and "World" windows wouldn't blot out and pause the game. Real time is SO important to me.

But lots of potential. If there are any major updates, I'll definitely be checking them out...


Here's how to win.

Start on realistic mode, and parasite. Make sure to use a fun name! I like to restart until I get a good buff. Durable is a personal favorite, and pretty common.

Sell your symptom, and buy Drug Resist, up to level 2. When a vaccine is started, max out drug resist ASAP for a higher mutation probability.

Now work on getting Moisture and Cold resistance up to 3.

Work on heat resistance, while slowly and stealthily infecting the world.

Once you've gotten at least 75% infection, get Waterborne. It'll take a while for the human race to react.

Once every country is infected, make sure you have level 3 or higher in all resistance. Get every transmission buff. Try to keep the forsaken down to just greenland as you work on these last steps.

Start working on getting contagious symtoms to spread, then get everything deadly, starting with fever and fatigue.

You'll infect the world!


I decided to use the method of quick elimination after stealth - I infected everyone, lv3 on all resistances, lv4 on drug resistance, I got vomiting to spread quickly and got fatigue, I then waited and bought all trans except airborne, and then got fever, half of the human race died instantly.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmMhtuSw5aMJJVxOmKasCIujTKvc0Mup0o December 27, 2012 12:58 PM

I think it is best to kill off all the hospitals, then try to get a symptom that requires hospital help...


Wholly inappropriate reaction to Time Mag's article on bubonic plague alert on Madagascar. So VERY inappropriate.

This game has ruined me forever.


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