Another week where only one game got to the table, but that’s okay. My mom is coming to visit for a week, I’m sure we’ll get a whole bunch of games played while she’s here.

Pandemic: Rising Tide

I’ve played a few of the Pandemic series of games over the years. Pandemic: The Cure, Pandemic: On the Brink, Pandemic: Iberia, and Pandemic: Fall of Rome. While I like some more than others, every single entry has at least been entertaining and a good experience. One that has been languishing in my closet is Pandemic: Rising Tide, designed by Matt Leacock and Jeroen Douman.

Pandemic: Rising Tide is part of the Survival Series of Pandemic games. The Survival Series was an opportunity for the original designer, Matt Leacock to team up with a co-designer from the region where the Pandemic World Championship was taking place. Originally, the Survival Series of games were very limited run and difficult to get after the tournament was over. In 2019 the series evolved to become the Pandemic System of games and now include games like Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, and more to come.

In Pandemic: Rising Tide, players are striving to keep the Netherlands from being claimed by the ocean. Players take the roles of engineers and attempt to build modern hydraulic structures in strategic locations to control the flow of water and save the day.

The salient differences between Pandemic: Rising Tide and the original Pandemic game are that Pandemic: Rising Tide only has 1 “disease” cube; water, and only 2 ways in which the players can lose. If you run out of water cubes, and if the player deck runs out. The other major difference is how the water cubes flow across the land, if any region has 3 water cubes in it, every adjacent region that is unprotected by a dike gets 2 water cubes. Further to that, any region adjacent to a region that has 2 water cubes will get 1 water cube.

What remains the same is that you’re still cooperatively trying to save the day. You’re still trying to collect 5 cards of the same region, then turning them in to progress the victory conditions. Players still get 4 actions each turn, then draw 2 cards from the player deck (which may include Storm cards), then turn over a number of cards from a region deck that dictates where bad things are happening. When a Storm card is drawn, you take a card from the bottom of the region deck, make it catastrophically bad, then shuffle the region discard pile together and place it on top of the region deck.

I played Pandemic: Rising Tide solo, controlling three characters. At first, everything seemed to be going very well. Sure my dikes were breaking in the south west corner of the board, but that was inland. I focused my efforts in the north, building several ports (which allow players to move from any location to a port for a single action) and pumping stations (which automatically removes one cube of water before you draw any cards). Some water spilled over the land via the Zuiderzee, but my three characters stemmed the tide in Noordoostpolder and rebuilt the dikes. We even managed to build one of the major contruction projects, only 3 to go and we would win, no sweat!

Then the tide rose, a dike bordering the ocean snapped and water flooded the entire southern region. within just a few turns I ran out of water cubes and lost the game.

Pandemic: Rising Tide offers an interesting twist to the Pandemic formula. now that there’s only one ‘disease’ to fight, it’s easy to run out of cubes. Also, in every other game one of the major focuses is to clear the board of cubes. I didn’t realize just how important the dikes are to stemming the flow of water across the land.

I’m excited to play Pandemic: Rising Tide again. I really enjoy the unique take on the Pandemic game. In fact, I find it hard to go back to base Pandemic when Rising Tide and Fall of Rome exist. They just feel so much more flavourful that I find myself drawn to those boxes first.

And that’s all I played this week! See you next time!