Playing for Purpose

I’ve been meaning to post about the game Pandemic for about a year now, ever since it became my favorite addition to the game closet at Christmas 2013. Did I say addition? Perhaps I meant addiction.

Pandemic is a cooperative board game for 2-4 players. Everyone plays together to beat the game. I think this really appeals to my motherified sense of competition. (Once I became a mom, my competitive nature was significantly skewed by encouraging nurturing.)

The world is peppered with disease and the goal of the game is to cure all of the diseases before epidemics cause outbreaks that are so widespread that they become unstoppable pandemics. There is only one way to win, but at least three ways to lose.

Every player has a different role that gives her a special skill to bring to the fight.

The game feels incredibly well designed; there is enough randomness that it progresses differently each time we play it. And we play it often.

Now, I know this sounds a little trivial, but playing the game does give you a concept of how fast diseases can get out of control and how attacking an epidemic from one angle – I am only going to treat the disease, but not try hard to discover a cure, or vice versa – is never enough.

Back in December, the Houston Chronicle ran this article about the Ebola outbreak and the Pandemic game. Part of the article includes an interview with the game’s creator, Matt Leacock. Leacock doubts that today’s crop of politicians are able to listen to others and work cooperatively enough to actually solve the Ebola problem. One group that Leacock does think is making a big impact is Doctors Without Borders, a charitable organization that the husband and I have supported for years. So the Pandemic folks are encouraging people to host Pandemic Parties to raise awareness and raise money for Doctors Without Borders. The goal is to raise $100,000 by January 31.

We’re doing our small part. Every time we play (did I mention we play often?) this month, we are putting $5 in the Pandemic Jar for Doctors Without Borders. And though we are not organized enough to host a full-out Pandemic Party, we are inviting others to come play with us and contribute.

If you live in the Houston area and want to play, just let me know. We have our dedicated Pandemic table set up for the month, but I’m happy to bring the game to you. It takes about 45 to play a game, though we have been known to lose on the first turn.

Pandemic is a great game. It’s even more fun to play it for a purpose.

2 thoughts on “Playing for Purpose

  1. We had so much fun – and we WON – let’s hope the two new trials for Ebola vaccines announced this weekend will also be a win…

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