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How To Play Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (6 Minute Guide)

How To Play Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (6 Minute Guide)


Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is an expansion of the original game Pandemic with a similar set of rules. This is a co-operative campaign game for 2-4 players that consists of 12-24 sessions called “months” before finishing the story, depending on how far each group of players advances through the game. Unlike other games, the actions taken in each part of Pandemic Legacy will carry over to the next game.

If you don’t own Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 already, check it out here on Amazon.



To begin, you will first read the Mission Briefing. If you are playing a month for the first time, you will draw cards from the Legacy Deck until you get one that says “STOP”. After reading the mission briefing, you will integrate any new cards into the game as needed. Other components of the game include the Legacy Deck, which will tell you what happens over the course of the game’s 12 months, a game calendar to record your progress, and eight packages that you will open periodically throughout the game.

To continue setup, place the board in the middle of all players and place all structures (only research stations at first) somewhere near it. Create supply piles of cubes separated by color and place a research station in each city with a starting research station sticker.

Place the outbreaks marker on the 0 space on the Outbreaks Track and place the 4 cure markers “vial” side up in the indicated disease tracking space. All objective cards should be placed in the objectives area. The infection rate marker goes on the “2” space that is furthest to the left on the Infection Rate Track. Shuffle all of the Infection cards together and flip only 3 of them over onto the table. Place 3 disease cubes of matching color on each of the cities indicated on the cards. Continue to flip over 3 more cards and put only 1 disease cube on each of those for a total of 18 disease cubes. These 9 cards will be placed face up on the Infection Discard Pile, and the remaining unused Infection cards will now be the Infection Deck.

All players will now decide which Funded Event cards will go into the Player Deck. This deck can have as many of these cards as the current funding level (which will be 4 for the first game). Shuffle these cards together with the City cards and deal them out to all players as their starting hands. The number of cards given to each player will depend on the number of players in the game. Players should keep their hands face up on the table at all times.

Separate the rest of the player cards into 5 piles facing down, as close to equal as possible. Then shuffle 1 Epidemic card into each pile and leave them facing down. These piles will be stacked to form the Player Deck, with the smallest piles at the bottom.

Each player should now select a character depending on the special abilities they would like to play with and their corresponding player color. They will receive the matching Reference card and player pawn and place the pawns at any one research station. For the first game, players will all start in Atlanta. Any excess character cards and pieces can be put away.

Immediately following setup, players would use any winning bonus that was earned from playing a previous month. However, for the first game there will be no bonus.


The object of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is for all players to work together and help each other to fulfill the necessary objectives and make it through each month.

Player Actions

Each player’s turn is completed in a process of 3 steps:

Actions: Players can select any combination of actions and complete up to 4 per turn. They can also do the same action several times, as long as it adds up to 4. Movement actions include traveling by car/ferry or taking a direct, charter, or shuttle flight and usually require discarding a city card to get to another city. Players are also able to build a structure, treat disease, share knowledge, and discover a cure as part of the action phase.

Draw: After completing the 4 actions, the player will draw 2 cards from the top of the Player Deck. If you draw any Epidemic Cards, move the infection rate marker forward, infect the indicated cities with disease cubes, reshuffle the infection discard pile, and place them on top of the Infection Deck.

Infect Cities: During this phase, flip over the number of Infection Cards matching the current infection rate from the Infection Deck. Do this one at a time and infect the city indicated on each car. To infect a city, you will place 1 disease cube of matching color onto the board in its space. If it already has 3 cubes, an outbreak of the disease will take place in the city and you will discard this card to the Infection Discard Pile. In the event of an outbreak, you will move the outbreaks marker forward 1 space on the Outbreaks Track and increase the panic level of that city. All characters standing in a city during an outbreak receive a scar.

Each player’s turn ends after they have infected all cities as necessary and discarded the Infection cards. The cycle of play continues clockwise around the table.

How to End the Game

The players win the game when they meet all of the necessary objectives. When this happens, the game will end regardless of what is happening. The players lose the game if the outbreaks marker reaches the last space on the track, there are less than 2 cards to draw after a player’s action phase, or you are unable to place the number of disease cubes needed on the board.

Versions of the Game

Extended versions of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 include the French Blue Edition, French Red Edition, Chinese Blue and Red Editions, and Czech Blue and Red Editions.

How the Game Changes Depending on the Number of Players

When dealing out the Player Cards at the beginning of the game, the number of cards in each hand depends on how many players are in the game. For a 2 player game, each person will get 4 cards, 3 players will get 3 cards, and players will get 2 cards each in a 4 player game.

Common House Rules

When selecting the first player of the game, it is a common practice to place all the character pawns in the middle after they have been chosen and blindly select someone to start the game.


Time to play: 60 Minutes

Alternative titles of the game: Pandemic Legacy: Saison 1, Pandemic Legacy: 1. Evad

Manufacturer suggested player age: 13+

Community suggested player age: 12+

List of expansions: Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk, Clank!:  Expedition Leader, Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse, Clank!: Wand of Time

Community rating: 7.8/10

Popularity: Rank 2

Difficulty: Moderate

Designer Credits: Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock

Published year: 2015

Link to official game site:

Awards: 2018 Kennerspiel des Jahres Recommended, 2017 Mensa Select Winner, 2016 Golden Geek Most Innovative Board Game Nominee

If you like this game you’ll also like:

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, Pandemic, Pandemic: Iberia

If you don’t like this game, you should try:

Galaxy Trucker, Arkham Horror, Risk