Pandemic Iberia hardly had time to be unpacked before it was hitting the table.
Jonathan, Diego and myself met up last night, just 24 hours after the game had arrived, to try and stop the spread of various diseases across Spain.
Firstly Pandemic Iberia is a lovely looking game. I really do like the design of the board, the graphic design of the cards, the tokens. It’s just beautiful. It really has that historical, Spanish feel. It’s easily one of the best looking games of the year.
Our game last night was just a basic setup, 4 epidemic cards (or I thought there were 4, more on that later). Our logic was it’s a learning game, and we knew there were new mechanics in the game. Ok it’s Pandemic, we had a good base knowledge to work from. And having played it, we could easily have raised the difficulty level, despite the new stuff.
In the basic game of Pandemic Iberia the majority of the setup is just the same as standard Pandemic. However they do spice it up with mixing event cards into the player deck. Which seems to be the first of the ideas that have come across from Pandemic Legacy. But that isn’t even the biggest impact. Instead of everyone starting in the same city of Atlanta or the Spanish equivalent, each player gets to choose their starting city from one of the starting player cards in their hand. Which is fantastic I really liked that.
The next idea taken from Legacy is the idea of the quarantine token. But in Iberia its called purified water, and instead of just protecting a single city, it protects the cities in an area. A nice touch.
Rail tracks are a new idea for this game, and boy do they impact it hugely. Once you have laid down some track movement between cities on the track laid becomes a single move action. So the ability to get around the board becomes very very fast indeed after a few turns.
The ports marked by an anchor also allow fast movement around the map as long as you have a card in your hand matching the colour of the port you want to go to. So with the right cards and well planned train tracks you can get around Spain very very fast indeed to take on those outbreaks.
Ok I like these touches, but they did seem to make the game easier. Would I be saying that if we had played with four or more epidemic cards? Maybe.
We were playing with three epidemic cards. When I was counting the cards out to place into the player deck, I only had five. So I assumed that I had already got one in the player deck. An assumption that was to prove wrong. At the end of the game there were only three epidemic cards in the players deck. No missing card in there. My copy of Iberia had only come with five epidemic cards not the full six. Thanks to the awesome graphic design, I can’t take one of the epidemic cards from my played copy of Legacy and use that instead.
So I do have a call raised with Z-Man for the missing epidemic card, plus a replacement red microscope token.
It is very cool that the game comes out of the box with two expansions! We definitely want to play with the patient flow rules, which sees the cubes migrate towards hospitals to get cured! Plus the historical illnesses looks interesting as well. So I like that there are options to vary the game a little, which adds to the replayability.
Graphically, and production wise I think this is miles better than ‘classic’ Pandemic.
This is a great addition to the Pandemic family, and possible gone straight to the top as my favourite version of the game.
If Z-Man hold true to their word, if you haven’t got this game already, and you want it, then be prepared to pay the eBay silly money that people will no doubt be wanting for this. Why? Z-Man said Pandemic Iberia will not be reprinted. This “limited” run was it. If you see a copy for the rrp then snap it up.