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September 7, 2008

Pandemic: The Game
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:54 PM * 70 comments

There’s a nifty little free Flash game out there: Pandemic II. In this game, you’re a disease that’s trying to take over the world and wipe out humanity.

Gameplay is simple and straight-forward, all based on mouse-clicks. Your first choice is what class of bug you’re going to be: Parasite, Bacterium, or Virus. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. One is more infectious, another is less likely to be affected by the environment, and so on.

After that, you’re told where in the world your disease originates., given its starting set of symptoms, and given reign. Your goal is to infect and kill everyone on the planet before public health officials devise an effective vaccine and before governments can take political action.

After people notice your disease (and spectacular symptoms like hemorrhagic fevers, while they kill people quickly, get folks’ attention pretty fast too) they’ll start closing borders, handing out bottled water, burning corpses, and devising cures.

As time goes on, and more and more folks are infected, you’ll earn Evolution Points with which you can buy drug resistance, new routes of transmission, and better effects. Sneezing will spread your disease, but it isn’t very deadly. A combination of diarrhea and kidney failure, on the other hand….

The simulation side has a few problems — no one ever recovers or develops immunities, for example. The playability side has one glaring flaw: Roll 1D6. On 1, you get Madagascar and you win. On 2-6, you don’t get Madagascar, and you lose. Madagascar has no borders for the disease to cross. It has no airports to move the disease in quickly. It only has one shipyard, where a plague ship might, possibly, put in — and the authorities there are pretty quick to shut that shipyard. If they close that one shipyard before the disease reaches their shores, you can’t possibly win. Once closed, borders, airports, and shipyards never re-open. Perhaps there’s a non-obvious way to increase the chances that Madagascar will get infected early, but if so I haven’t found it.

One other annoyance. The music. Fortunately you can turn it off from inside the game.

You can find tutorials on playing Pandemic II here and here. YouTube is also full of videos describing how to hack the game.


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Comments on Pandemic: The Game:
#1 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:29 PM:

(goes off to be a virus - they get all the best PR)

#2 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:46 PM:

I have a joke under construction in my basement about how games like this are dangerous because they teach diseases to more effectively kill us. Unfortunately, it's still in the planning stages, so I can't share it with all of you. It'll be really funny, though...

#3 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 04:52 PM:

A health channel here seems to be showing a marathon on epidemics this evening. We just had "Smallpox in Stockholm", and now it's e.coli. ML or TV? Decisions, decisions.... :)

#4 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Why do the Democrats want the diseases to win?

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:06 PM:

My suspicion is that you might get Madagascar by making a disease that spreads, but doesn't have obvious effects, and then you mutate it to the killer.

#6 ::: Richard Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:09 PM:

@5-Dave:

No, I tried that. Bought down all symptoms and bought all infection methods, and nothing.

#7 ::: Kutsuwamushi ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:13 PM:

I have had this game running while doing homework for days.

I've managed to get Madagascar a couple of times, but I've never won the game. What seems to work is starting as a parasite (lowest visibility) and then making your disease as infectious and as heat resistance as possible before purchasing the visible symptoms.

Actually, this is my main problem with the game- this strategy seems to work the best under most circumstances, which makes repeat play boring. I've taken to trying to recreate real diseases, which makes it even harder to win but is more interesting.

There is also the issue that the responses don't always make sense. Regions will shut down their borders and enforce curfews over a disease whose only symptom is a cough, if you wait too long to act.

#8 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:20 PM:

Hmm. Well, I can tell you that Types I and II of the Monmothma virus have both managed to get all over the place -- excepting those darned island nations -- but trying to ramp up lethality before the vaccine shows up is tough.

Let's try that again, pesky humans.

#9 ::: Richard Campbell ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:21 PM:

I even started in South Africa and did nothing but buy infection methods on a symptomless bacteria, but Madagascar still closed the shipyard before I could get there.

#10 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:47 PM:

So you lose as soon as Madagascar shuts down its sea port? That's a serious game design flaw that could have been detected with just a few minutes of playtesting.

One possible fix would be a transmission method that can get to an island nation with all normal means closed.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:48 PM:

It's even more fun when countries start burning bodies before anyone has died.

I'd also like to see second-order problems, like famines, when food-exporting regions get depopulated.

The game cries out for a version 3.0.

#12 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:48 PM:

Bird migration, perhaps.

#13 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 05:49 PM:

I feel very included, Iceland is missing on the map.. *sigh*

Oh well, I guess we're safe then. Rulers of the post apocalyptic world!

#14 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:01 PM:

Now the writers among us know the location for their next post-apocalypse novel. Ain't nobody left but us Madagascans (Madgascogne's? Maybe a sword-and-sorcery novel in the spirit of The Phoenix Guards?).

#15 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:04 PM:

There's an evolution game coming out called Spore. Time has an interview with the author here.

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Is there some way to turn off the frickin' music? I can't make out the tutorial.

#17 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:13 PM:

Teresa, click "menu" at bottom left, then click "music."

#18 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:28 PM:

Earl, #10: And the obvious solution: zoonosis / birds. Is there a way to mutate your disease to use an animal carrier?

#19 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:34 PM:

I've played it about 15 times, and managed to infect Madagascar precisely once...

...and in that game, Greenland stayed safe. *sigh*

#20 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 06:55 PM:

Yeah, s'weird how countries get all panicked over a non-lethal, symptomless virus. Almost like they had inside knowledge....

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 07:28 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #14: Malagasys.

#22 ::: Rich ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 07:29 PM:

I have created an airborne parasite that I called "Phage Worms" (which is a horrifying concept really) that is symptomless that managed to infect everywhere but Mexico, and is surprisingly non-lethal. Oh well.

#23 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 07:44 PM:

I played this a little while back, and it's kind of cool. Oddly satisfying when it works, and I watch the world population slowly sink...

A friend also found this comic which seems to admirably summarise the health care policy of Madagascar.

Though occasionally the game killer's Indonesia instead.

#24 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 07:51 PM:

#15: I am deeply conflicted about Spore.

On one hand, it is the kind of sim I dreamed about when I first got into computer games and worldbuilding, and now it's HERE, and by ghods does it look lovely!

On the other hand, I'm afraid that it is the kind of sim I dreamed about when I first got into computer games and worldbuilding, and I could easily picture myself turning into a filthy recluse who plays it nonstop.

On the other, other hand, I'm afraid that is will turn out to be utterly lame.

#25 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:00 PM:

Once closed, borders, airports, and shipyards never re-open...

Yeah, Sure... Whoever put this together never heard of what Seattle did in 1918-1919. Mayor closed everything that people might gather at--theaters, museums, and so on--and the city didn't come down with the Spanish Flu but the business community got up on it's hind legs and SCREAMED until the mayor, in fear of losing the next election, caved. They opened up the town again and it was Hello, Pandemic! For some reason everyone around here knows the first part but not the second part.

#26 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:02 PM:

The first (what shouldn't have been too surprising) thing that happened with Spore, when folks were allowed to create their own creatures and share them on the 'Net, was the number of ... well, dancing Penisauri.

Search on Sporn to see what I mean. (Varies from "Not safe for work" to "Not SAFE for WORK!")

#27 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Earl Cooley@10: "That's a serious game design flaw that could have been detected with just a few minutes of playtesting."

It's pretty clear that the designer wasn't thinking about design flaws, in that sense, at all. It has more flaws than game. (There's only one decent strategy to maximize your score, it's a boring strategy to play, whether you win doesn't depend on what you do at all, you have no meaningful responses to most of the game events...) I would love to see a well-thought-out 3.0.

In the meantime, I can recommend "Endgame: Singularity" (http://www.emhsoft.com/singularity/) which has exactly the same premise except you're a *computer* virus trying to infect the Internet. Free download, not a Flash web game. I had a lot more fun playing this one; you have a lot more day-by-day decision-making, and the implied storyline has vavoom.

While the thread is going around, I should also mention the unrelated board game "Pandemic". Exactly the same premise except you are humans trying to stop the spread of the disease. (Four diseases, in fact.) Recommended. Plus I can say that I've played it, well, in the same room as Jim Macdonald.

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Plus I can say that I've played it, well, in the same room as Jim Macdonald.

Indeed you did, and it was to my great sorrow that time constraints meant I couldn't join it.

It was while looking for that game that I found this one.

#29 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:19 PM:

#24 - I'm playing Spore, and while I don't think it lives up to all the promise it has, it is still a very fine game indeed. So far, that is: I have yet to play at the end phases of the game, but evolving my critters from a water-based cell to a land-based creature to a tribe of stone-aged, four-eyed lizards has been great fun. Tomorrow I'm going to try and play through what happens to the Aredii now that they are a Civilization.

So I don't think that you need to worry; it IS good, very good, but I doubt it will bury you in a dark room creating creatures. But maybe the really addictive bit is yet to come...

#26 As to the Sporn, yeah, in the Tribe phase, one rival tribe was such - and one of the main food animals my tribe hunted were, unfortunately, the nearby nest of Penismen. Oh well.

#30 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 08:48 PM:

I was able to wipe out the world with McCain's Tapeworm. After contracting the tapeworm everyone died of depression and insanity.
The final score was 628721. I'm finding it best to boost the Drug resistance immediately then slowly work through the environmental resistances until level II. Then start adding transmission types. Wait until everyone and everybody is infected until moving up the symptoms tiers.

#31 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 10:09 PM:

Jim Macdonald (#28): I can bring my copy around to Arisia and/or Boskone next year, so if you want to plan a time to play at either, just let me know.

#32 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 10:14 PM:

I got a much worse score, 67710, but the world was wiped out.

Bacteria. I managed to get the islands, then I got lethal, and disrupted the vaccine making; somehow.

I agree that it's not that interactive, but once or twice, to figure out the mechanics is ok.

#33 ::: whomever1 ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:19 PM:

And does anyone here care for the board game (http://boardgamegeek.com/game/30549), or is everyone here too freaked out to share breathing air with their fellow primates?

#34 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2008, 11:25 PM:

Terry it appears that at some population percentage threshold the hospitals get shut down. The rate at which the vaccine is produced is dependent on the number of active hospitals. If you destroy all hospitals the vaccine production rate states indefinite as the expected timeline.

I had one scenario start in Madagascar and it almost didn't make it out. The islands all seem to be extremely problematic in destroying.

#35 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:46 AM:

Project Journal: Day 79

The smug bastards in Greenland and Madagascar have closed their shipyards at last, days and days and days after Type IV of my lovely Monmothma virus had already arrived. New Zealand still hasn't. But it's everywhere now, so what would be the point?

Even without making it strong enough to infect the water-distribution system, it's everywhere. But I suppose that was the key: just enough resistance to be able to travel, but not enough resistance to attract attention.

I have been watching for some while now, from my shining and lovely and utterly self-sufficient orbital platform. Even with Type IV presenting as an utterly asymptomatic infection -- the merest tenderness in the lymph nodes -- I have watched panic spread like a cleansing flame. Governments fall to chaos; the hospital systems wink out, one by one. There are only three left. The vaccine project will take another 837 days, by my calculations.

Oh. My mistake. One left, now. Brave little Greenland.

My tiny minions have warmed up their voices, readying the aspects of themselves that will make humanity sick instead of merely jumpy. (Jumpy and selfish. And also cruel. But of course I had nothing to do with the latter two.)

And I've waited long enough, now. It's showtime. Time to sing the song of encephalitis.

I almost feel sorry for everyone.

#36 ::: [Astroturf deleted] ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 01:36 AM:

Astroturf from 12.201.61.114

#37 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:03 AM:

Curses, damn and blast thrice! I fire it up for the first time, and it starts me off in Madagascar ... and despite having no symptoms and being nonlethal, my disease is already famous. How the hell does that work?

Oh well - allons-y!


#39 ::: Sharon M sees off-topic astroturf ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:33 AM:

At comment #36, the off-topic astroturf is. It's not like there aren't a bunch of on-topic threads, easy to find. Sheesh.

#40 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:24 AM:

Fun game! Minor quibble - should that not be martial law?

Curse you, Madagascar!

#41 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:44 AM:

Mwahh hah haaaaa! Creeping Featurism, with its depression and encephalitis, has triumphed! No vaccine can save them.

The spelling and grammar mistakes indicate it was made in a hurry (so does Madagascar, actually - although seeing its population reduced to zero makes you feel just that much better ...), but it's the perfect antidote to a Bad Day.

Wipe them out. All of them.

#42 ::: Tangelo ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:56 AM:

My first disease, Pyrolitic Diarrhea, was a massive failure. The world caught on too soon (I suspect the symptoms may have been hard to miss), and only a few regions were successfully depopulated.

My second effort, Lolcat Snuggles, successfully snuggled everyone except Madagascar.

Player decision-making only matters for a limited window at the beginning of play. The only viable course of action is to curtail early symptoms, ramp up resistances/communicability, and hope that it randomly lands on all the island regions before they raise shields and go to red alert. Cute, but very limited.

#43 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 04:08 AM:

Well, I nailed Madagascar.

But not Australia and Japan.

#44 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 07:25 AM:

Best I could manage was all-but-Madagascar, with a quiet bacterial infection that causes cysts and kidney failure.

I think that what the game needs are mechanisms equivalent to the initial panic of plagues, where public health measures meant to limit infection convince some of the people that the area is doomed, causing them to flee to other areas and so carry the plague with them; and also the later panic, where sufficient mortality causes an unravelling of the social fabric, and survivors flee to other areas that haven't yet reached the post-apocalyptic stage.

#45 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 08:04 AM:

There's something strange about the lethality; I was piling on symptoms and the lethality bar was showing it, but had zero deaths for a long time until I all of a sudden got over 600 million deaths in the space of a couple of days. Yay apocalypse!

I was still thwarted by Madagascar's prescient port closing, well before that.

#46 ::: Tangelo ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 08:32 AM:

Yeah, lethality is a wee bit funky. My Lolcat Snuggles had only one symptom (fever) and it didn't kill one single person until more than 50% of the world was infected. At that point, I added fatigue and vomiting, and 133 million people died the next day. Eat your heart out, Spanish Flu.

Determined to have one last crack at it, I conceived a disease called Hydrocyanic Farts. I made it a parasite, immediately removed -all- symptoms, and boosted its resistances/communicability as fast as possible. That one made it to all the island nations before 100k people worldwide were infected. Then once the benign version of the disease had landed everywhere, I started turning the screws with killer symptoms. And so I got 'em all, but it took a long, long time, and my final score was actually lower than that of my earlier failures.

#47 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 11:53 AM:

I am as entertained by the disease names I'm seeing as I ever was by the game itself. (Mine was something dull like "Snorflitis".)

What a 3.0 version needs, off the top of my head, is:

Non-absolute mechanics. Right now nobody is immune, nobody gets better, nobody is a symptomless carrier, nobody gets through a closed border. Change all of those to probabilities.

Also, right now, nobody is born and nobody dies in a car accident. I realize these things are not what the game is about, but seeing the accurate-to-the-ones-place demographic figures scroll by with *only* the disease affecting them is bad for the disbelief-suspension. I'd rather see rounded (or percentage) figures, and accept that the goal of the game is to reduce the population of each zone *near* zero.

...which would also cut down on the boring phase where there are 100 people and you're waiting for them to die one by one. (It's using exponential decay, more or less, which means the deaths slow down as the population declines. Tweak that, please -- it's both boring *and* unrealistic.)

Bigger change of design: allow multiple diseases. Rather than firing off one (and having to manipulate its symptoms in a very stylized way to infect *everybody*), you should start one plague with a small number of points. It will be weak and not kill very many people; but it gets you points with which you launch a *second*, more virulent disease. And so on.

This gives you a more traditional resource-building game -- you're not absolutely screwed by the first vaccine, you just have to make sure you've got your second disease out by the time the first one is cured. If you can get more points each cycle than you spend, you make progress and eventually win. If you mishandle things or overspend, the CDC catches up with you and cures your last extant disease before you've built up enough points to make anything worse than 24-hour sneeze-warts.

#48 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Bruce @25

re Seattle during the Pandemic Flu -- I don't suppose you remember your sources? My partner is fascinated by the Great Flu, and lives in Seattle...and there's always another birthday/anniversay/gosh-you're-wonderful gift giving occasion coming up.

#49 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 12:59 PM:

My screen under my OS is apparently darker than the designers had planned for- with everything turned as light as possible, closing any windows in Pandemic is still a fun and exiting game of find-the-x for me. Quite nice aside from that, though.

My cute little parasitic Akkerworm started in Madagascar (I cheated by restarting whenever the game tried to start anywhere else), took about two months to get everywhere, and then more than half a year to infect everyone and kill everyone off. Even Marshall Law himself couldn't stop it, but it got a bit boring towards the end.

Andrew Plotkin @47, are you sure about noone getting born? I had the impression that populations increased sometimes.

#50 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 02:15 PM:

I didn't see populations go up when I played (which was several weeks ago). I could be wrong.

#51 ::: BuffySquirrel ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 03:23 PM:

The maggie thatcher parasite managed to get everyone but Madagascar. They must have precogs.

#52 ::: Avedaggio ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 04:09 PM:

Am I the only one who became dreadfully depressed while playing this game, and ended up changing the symptoms to be very noticeable and rooted for the people finding a cure, and who ended up closing the window before even a quarter of the world's population had bitten the dust?

*shuffles feet*

I kept remembering scenes from the movie "28 Weeks Later", about which I still have nightmares.

I think I'll try again when I'm not feeling quite to philanthropic. :D

#53 ::: Walter Jon Williams ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Hmmm. Old news.

I designed a similar game back in the Seventies. One side played the epidemic, the other the epidemiologists.

It was called POX AND DOCS.

#54 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 05:15 PM:

I thought that was Theodore Geisel?

#55 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 05:16 PM:

In reality diseases are under evolutionary pressure to be non-lethal, thereby lasting as long as possible by not killing their host. So in that sense the game is not realistic.

#56 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 06:24 PM:

A disease with a fifty-year incubation period whose only symptom was congestive heart failure in year fifty ... would be darned hard to detect. And probably very widespread.

(While syphilis does seem to have gotten less lethal over the years (or super-reactions got bred out of Europe very fast), smallpox never did learn to be less deadly.)

#57 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 07:23 PM:

I managed to wipe out everyone but Madagascar and Greenland (approx. 19 million folks) in less than a year. How is that not a success? In virus terms, at least.

Sure, it's not a win in the game, but this kind of result in real life would be the stuff of horror films, wouldn't it?

#58 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Avedaggio -

I was actually quite heartened. While it's formulaically possible in the context of the game to wipe everybody out (and I was having a very bad day, so it was cathartic as well), the game mechanics reassured me that circumstances would have to be improbably, nay freakishly, abnormal for such a critter to actually develop in vivo.

Your disease would have to develop multiple ways of transmission, hella-powerful resistances to everything and have an awful lot of luck - before it exhibited any CDC-alerting symptoms - to even have a chance. Of course, panic and other human behaviour might well help the transmission, and that wasn't built into the game, but then, neither was antibody production or non-lethal exposure, so I'm prepared to call that even.

All in all, heartening. But if things get hairy, I'm moving to New Zealand. :)

#59 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2008, 07:59 PM:

The one time I started in Madagascar, I managed to wipe out everyone but the 47,000-odd folks in Greenland (despite their having serious droughts). The people I felt sorry for were in the two ships which kept bouncing around in the Atlantic Ocean with no place to settle; at least one of them might have tried to crash the ban in Greenland!

#60 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 12:35 AM:

sherrold: there was a good overview in the Sunday Seattle Times/Seattle P.I. when the Bird Flu worries were at their height. Can't remember the sources cited--you might do an online search at the websites for both papers and see what hits you get.

#61 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 05:28 AM:

I can't speak to the case fatality rate of the first smallpox viruses, but the recent ones (that is, the ones during the historical period) weren't wipeouts in the populations it co-evolved with. Wikipedia's bit on prognosis from its page on smallpox:

The overall case-fatality rate for ordinary-type smallpox is about 30%, but varies by pock distribution: ordinary type-confluent is fatal about 50–75% of the time, ordinary-type semi-confluent about 25–50% of the time, in cases where the rash is discrete the case-fatality rate is less than 10%.

An example of a virus that never evolved low lethality in humans is rabies. It just sits there out there in its reservoir of bats and skunks and such, occasionally sighing wistfully over an old autographed photo of Stephen King...

#62 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 06:00 AM:

I tended to call my disease "Daleks" for tolerably obvious reasons.

I definitely have seen populations increasing. In fact, in one of my games when I was just starting out, the infected population kept going down for no readily apparent reason...people seemed to be getting better faster than I was getting new infections. But total population was going up as well.

#63 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 09:27 AM:

Madagascar is so 50/50/90:

You have a 50/50 chance of getting Madagascar...90% of the time you don't.

#64 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2008, 01:34 PM:

David Goldfarb @62:
Perhaps when the disease isn't all that drug- or environment resistant yet, the game sometimes decides that a lot of people get better on their own.

James Macdonald @ 11:
I'd also like to see second-order problems, like famines, when food-exporting regions get depopulated.

Aside from that, I think there's a fair chance that, if some kind of disaster would wipe out half of mankind, the social, economic and political fallout would lead to tensions and conflicts that would eventually become so serious that some politicians, somewhere would press the red button and wipe out the other half.

#65 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2008, 04:52 PM:

So I just had a game in which I managed to infect every region of the world...except one. Nope: I made it to Madagascar. The region that managed to close their borders, airports, and shipyards in time to stay clean was, of all places, India.

#66 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2008, 05:07 PM:

I got everything except for Argentina once, but on that map, Argentina is still easier to shut off than India.

By the way, do the natural disasters do anything aside from showing up as news?

#67 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2008, 01:57 PM:

Well, I finally managed to wipe out all of humanity. It is good to have acomplished something so significant!

Here are the notes I made on how the game went:


Parasite, started in Peru, evolved to have w sweating, nausea and cysts, (sold a few high-visibility symptoms, like blindness) level 1 for cold, heat and moisture, level 2 for drugs, rodent and airborne transmission, until all nations infected, and first vaccine attempt failed. Then started piling on the lethal symptoms. Madagascar was one of the first 5 regions it spread to. 36950 points.

#68 ::: Tangurena ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 04:48 PM:

After today's spam clearing thread/mission, I was wandering through some old threads and found this one. Having discovered Pandemic this past week, I've also found that the sea traffic to Madagascar comes from New Zealand, so if you start in NZ/Australia, you are likely to infect Madagascar before the borders close.

Like Theresa, I've found that cysts makes the disease almost invisible while remaining infectious enough to spread.

#69 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 11:10 PM:

Y'all will be happy to know that there's a Pandemic III now.

#70 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2011, 01:23 AM:

Although it looks like that's just a placeholder site; right now you can play Pandemic 2 there, but not 3.

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