Pandemic is not the first cooperative game that came out on the market, but likely the most well known. Still with new board gamers coming into the hobby regularly, we are always excited to introduce one of the modern board game classics. Players are trying to save the world from four different diseases that are ravaging the planet. If you can find the cure to all of the diseases before too much time has past or too many have died then the players win.
On each of your turns you get four actions. How to spend those actions are completely up to the player. Although one of the complaints about Pandemic is that some players can far too often try to tell the other players what to do on their turns. The decision of what to do on your turn is divided between keeping the diseases under control and work on finding cures. Also once you find a cure it can be tempting to eradicate a disease from the board - a good choice but it does spend valuable time.
Each player has a special power that further aids in decision making. For example: the medic is better at treating diseases than the other players and the researcher needs a smaller set of cards to discover a cure. There are quite a few roles and each of the expansions added additional characters to change the way the game plays and strategies you might employ.
The way the diseases attack the board is by random cards drawn from the deck, although each time an epidemic strikes the cards already drawn will be put on top of the deck. This means you will have some notion of what towns are at risk on future turns. But that also means any towns you had been ignoring since they were safe at the time can now be put in danger. You can’t have too many towns become overwhelmed with a disease or the players lose the game
The classic game of pandemic is lots of fun - which would be why an older game can remain popular. There have been lots of expansions as well adding new quirks to the game. Also there have been games that reimplemented the game mechanics. Pandemic: the Cure is a dice version of the game, Pandemic Iberia changes the setting and deals with treating disease before modern medicine. The most popular version of the game has been the 2016 Pandemic Legacy. While maintaining most of the aspects of the classic game, you play through a campaign where events during each game will alter future games permanently.
If you enjoy working with your friends to beat the game, you will enjoy a playthrough of Pandemic. And if it winds up being your first foray into the world of cooperative games we would be happy to recommend a great many more games that took lessons from the design choices of Pandemic and possibly even improved them!