Plague Inc board game has a single player option called Plaguebot, or you can play up to 4 players competitively. In the box is everything you'll need and it's presented really nicely. The 'Death Dice' in particular is very special.
You start the game as a Bacterial Plague with a single infected city. A single turn has 5 phases to it, handily listed on each players card mat and they're easy to follow. We found gameplay really flowed nicely, it all makes logical sense and the 5 phases can take seconds, especially during the beginning rounds of a game. It can also take 5 minutes, but it's worth it.
You keep 'score' by travelling along a strand of DNA using your own DNA counter, collecting 1 DNA Point for each country you control each round (plus any bonuses).
Next players pick a new Country Card and add it to those on the board, or discard it and also change your hand of Trait Cards for 5 fresh cards from the pack..
Now you can choose to spend DNA points to add traits to your plague. These bear glorious gifts such as +1 Infectivity due to coughing or useful skills such as spreading to birds and becoming airborne or developing a resistance to cold.
Using those traits you now infect countries with your own personal plague. Somewhat obviously you can infect new countries who are linked geographically or by transport, as long as they also have a climate which will not defeat your plague. To travel by air or water you need to be able to fly or float, to infect hot or cold countries your plague must have resistance to extreme temperatures.
Once a country is entirely infected, if you control it you get to roll the Death Dice. Obliterating an entire country gives bonuses to anyone with tokens on it, and the person in control also takes an event card which shakes things up a bit, snatching extra bonuses or hindering opponents.
The game ends with Sudden Death Mode and points are counted up to decide the winner.
A full game will take your evening up, but you can easily reduce game time by splitting the pack of Country cards and discarding some. We played 4 novice players with half a deck in around 100 minutes. Depending on how inexperienced or tactical players are, that could be much quicker or a little longer.
Although the suggested age is 14+, my 8 year old has played the app. and was really keen to play the game. Before we started I was a bit dubious as to how he'd cope, but I needn't have worried because he beat me first round. I did wonder about the 14+, so got advice from Ndemic
Phew - small parts... Plus he now understands how a single infected person can cause a global outbreak (or a girl in Mrs Smith's class with Chicken Pox can share it with half of Foundation Class). He knows what Hypothermia and Pustules are and he can tell you which continent half the world's countries are in. You can't tell me that's not useful.
We've been playing the main multiplayer game - Bacteria. On the reverse of the Bacteria game mats is a Virus edition, with different starting character traits to change gameplay. There is also a single player game, Plaguebot, where you face an artificial opponent.
The Plague Inc Board Game is great. We all loved it and we've played it multiple times. As with a real plague, there's just that chance a tiny unknown can suddenly turn up and wipe a country out. The balance of tactics, skill and luck is just perfect to really give anyone a chance to win. We genuinely all enjoyed it equally - aged 8, 23 or 45. Ndemic have done an excellent job.
Ndemic Creations Plague Inc Board Game is available to buy now rrp £33.99 from all good games stockists instore or online including Amazon. Suitable for 1-4 players aged around 14+. Younger players can play, but will have a disadvantage once more experienced gamers start to pick up on some of the more complex tactics and long-game manoeuvres.
Don't fail to read the small print on the bottom of some of the cards....some is informative, some is just plain old witty...
We were sent our copy of Plague Inc Board Game by Ndemic Creations for review.