PANDEMIC Game Rules and How to Play Guide

In this article, you can read about the basic rules of the game Pandemic and learn how to play. The object of the game is for all the players to work together to discover cures for all four diseases before one of three things happens. Eight outbreaks occur, you run out of disease cubes for any one color, or there are no more cards left in the player deck to draw.

Player’s Turns

Each player’s turn is divided into three parts. First, do up to four actions. Second draw two playing cards. Third, infect cities. After a player has finished infecting cities the player on their left goes. Your matching colored pawn represents your location on the board and is the pawn you are allowed to move on your turn.

During the actions part of your turn, you may do any combination of these eight actions as many times as you like with each one only counting as one action.

Drive or ferry

Move your pawn to a city connected to it by a white line. Take special note that the board is connected on the right and left sides by white lines that pawns can travel.

Direct flight

Discard a card from your hand to move your pond to the discarded city.

Charter flight

Discard the city card that matches the city your pawn is in to move to any city.

Shuttle flight

Move your pawn from any city with a research station in it to another city that also has a research station in it.

Build a search station

Discard the city card from your hand that matches the city you are in and place a research station there. If all six research stations are already on the board, take any research station from anywhere on the board to use.

Treat disease

Remove one disease cube from the city you are in and place it in the supply on the side of the board. If the disease has been cured, remove all the cubes of that color instead. If the last cube from a cured disease is removed from the board flip the vial to its eradicated side.

Also, if there are cubes from several cured diseases in a city you still must treat the disease once for each cured color to remove these cubes. Removing the last cube of a disease that is not cured has no effect.

Share knowledge

Give the city card in your hand that matches the city you are in, to another player or you may take the city card in another player’s hand that matches the city you are in and put it in your hand. However, both players must be in the same city and both must agree to do this.

If the player who gets the city card now has more than seven cards that player must immediately discard one card or play an event card from their hand.

Discover a cure

When you are at any research station, discard five city cards of the same color from your hand to cure the disease of that color. The color of the city does not need to match the color of the disease you are curing. Move the disease cure marker to the cure indicator.

When a disease is cured its cubes remain on the board and new cubes can still be placed during epidemics or infections. If no cubes of its color are on the board the disease is now eradicated. Flip the Cure marker over to its eradicated side. Eradicating a disease is not needed to win.

After doing actions you draw the top two cards to get they’re from the player deck. If as you’re about to draw there are fewer than two cards left in the player deck the game ends immediately and everyone loses. Otherwise, keep the cards and continue with your turn.

Epidemic Cards

If your draws include any epidemic cards immediately do the following steps in order:

Increase move the infection rate marker forward one space on the infection rate track. In fact, draw the bottom card of the infection deck. Put three disease cubes of that color on the name city, unless it’s disease color has been eradicated.

If the city already has cubes of this color do not add 3 cubes to it. Instead, just add enough cubes so that it has three cubes of this color and then an outbreak of this disease occurs in the city. More on outbreaks later.

Discard this card to the infection discard pile. Whenever you cannot place the number of colored cubes needed on the board because the needed color supply is out the game ends immediately and everyone loses.

The last cube from any disease color supply pile may be placed on the board without loss. It is only when you cannot place cubes on the board that you lose.

Intensify Shuffle the cards in the infection discard pile and place them on top of the infection deck. It is rare but possible to draw two epidemic cards at once. In this case, do all three steps above once and then again. On the second epidemic, the card from the bottom of the deck will go on top.

Resolving Epidemic

After resolving epidemic cards, remove them from the game. The player who drew the epidemic card does not draw a replacement card. Whenever a player has more than seven cards in their hand even if it isn’t their turn, they must discard cards or play event cards until they have seven cards in their hands. Role and reference cards do not contribute to your hand size.

After you draw cards and resolve epidemics you infect. Discard as many cards from the top of the infection deck as the current infection rate. Discard these cards over one at a time infecting the city named on each card.

To infect a city place one disease cube matching its color on to the city. Unless this disease has been eradicated. Then you place nothing. If the city already has three cubes of this color do not place the fourth cube. Instead, an outbreak of the disease occurs in the city.


An outbreak occurs any time a disease cube is added to a city that already has three cubes of the color that is added. Increase the outbreak marker by one on the outbreak track.

Never add a fourth cube to a city. Instead, place one cube of the outbreak in color on every connected city. If any of those cities already have three cubes on them then a chain-reaction outbreak occurs.

When the chain-reaction outbreak occurs, first move the outbreak marker forward one space Then place cubes like you would a normal outbreak except do not add cubes to cities that have already had an outbreak or a chain reaction outbreak as part of the resolving of the current infection card.

When you flip over another infection card even during the same person’s turn these cities may outbreak again.

As a result of outbreaks, a city may have disease cubes of multiple colors on it. Up to three cubes of each color. It is possible for eradicated disease cities to have disease cubes of other colors on them. If the marker reaches the last space on the outbreak tract then everyone immediately loses the game.

Yellow Card

After infecting cities and discarding infection cards your turn is over. The player to your left takes their turn. Players may freely examine either discard pile at any time.

Yellow event cards can be played at any time to the player discard pile and do not use up any actions. You can play them on any player’s turn except in between drawing cards and resolving a card. When you draw an epidemic you must wait until you resolve the entire epidemic card before you can play an event card. Unless the event card says otherwise.

When you flip over a card to infect a city you may not play an action card until after the city has been infected. You may not play an action card when an outbreak occurs to somehow stop the outbreak. Only once the outbreak is completed then you may play an action card. The player who plays an event card decides how it is used.

Everyone wins or looses

Each player has a role with special abilities they can use and a reference card to help them remember the actions they can take. In the bottom right corner of the board is a breakdown of what happens each turn to help you remember what you play.

Everyone wins as soon as cures to all four diseases are discovered. Everyone immediately loses if the outbreak marker reaches the last space of the outbreak track. If you are unable to place the number of disease cubes actually needed on the board. Or if a player cannot draw two-player cards after doing his actions.

Pandemic Game on the Market

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The game Pandemic is on the market in many versions. The one that I refer to in this article I link to here:

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