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Pandemic Iberia Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Pandemic isn’t as lighthearted of a game as it used to be, but if you have been with us from the beginning you know this game is quite special to us, so when Pandemic Iberia became available again we had to get our hands on a copy, since many argue it’s one of the best versions of the game.

Pandemic Iberia Board Game Review

Pandemic Iberia Review

8.5 out of 10
Pandemic Iberia Review A Pair of Meeples

Is it Good For Two Players? : Great for two

Overall Pandemic Iberia makes a lot of improvements over the original, and even if the new art and color scheme might not be some people’s favorite, we think in terms of gameplay it is a step up though, especially with the included variants.  If you are looking to add your first Pandemic game to your collection, in our opinion Pandemic Iberia is a great place to start, probably the best.

Theme: 8/10
Replayability: 8/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 0/10
Fun: 6/10

Husband’s Rating
9 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
8 out of 10

Pros

More of a historical theme as opposed to a modern one

Requires more strategy in terms of traveling than the original

Included variants that increase variety and replayability

Cons

Colors and art a bit more muted than the original

Still prone to quarterbacking and one player making all the decisions

Components could be a little better

Game Experience:

We have the original Pandemic with almost all the expansions and have played it countless times because it was the game that got us into the hobby!  You can see our full review of the original game here, but ever since we discovered that many praised Pandemic Iberia as one of the best Pandemic games released we’ve been on the lookout for it ever since.

When we were first trying to add it to our collection though,  copies were ridiculously expensive, because the game was supposed to be a limited one-time print run. Due to it being well-received and quite popular Z-man Games decided to do a reprint bringing the prices back down to a normal level.  

We were pretty excited to add Iberia to our collection so once it arrived we sat down to play it right away.  Initially, we were a little iffy on the new art and colors, my wife thought the game looked pretty whereas I prefer the color scheme of the original.  Our visual preferences aside though, at first glance we were quite intrigued by the new aspects of this version of the game.  

Pandemic Iberia Epidemic Card
Definitely more of a historic look and feel to Pandemic Iberia

Pandemic Iberia at its core plays just like the original, but the new changes breathe some fresh air into its cooperative game system.  The biggest difference is how much harder it is to traverse the game board.  In the original, players can discard cards to fly from place to place, but since Pandemic Iberia takes place in the 19th century that’s not an option.  

My wife and I no longer traveled the entire world by air like some luxurious jet setters who fight disease like a pair of superheroes, discarding cards left and right to teleport from city to city instantaneously. Instead, in Iberia we had to move slowly from place to place, taking the train when we could.

In Iberia players now have the option to build railroads to help get around instead.  If you had to build railroads and take the slow train in real life you would be rather annoyed but this is a very welcome change to the Pandemic game system.  This adds a new dimension to the game because players will have to look closely at where the disease is and predict where things could and will get worse throughout the game, so they can effectively make quick and easy travel routes between problem areas.  

Pandemic Iberia vs Pandemic

The other biggest difference in Iberia is that diseases can no longer be cured and eradicated like in the original.  This doesn’t make a crazy huge difference in terms of gameplay but does make it so the game stays equally difficult right up to the end since players can no longer remove all cubes from a city with just one action after it has been cured (researched in Iberia).  

There are a few more minor changes to the core gameplay but other than that Pandemic Iberia is still a Pandemic game and if you’re familiar and comfortable with the original you’ll feel right at home with this one too.

What’s great about this version of Pandemic though is that it includes some additional ways to play the game.  This includes the influx of patients challenge and the historical diseases challenge.  This allows for a lot of replayability without players needing to go purchase additional expansions.

Pandemic Iberia Rules Summary

If you’re reading this review it’s pretty likely you’re already familiar with the Pandemic game system so we won’t get into detail about how to play this iteration of the game, and instead, just look at Iberia’s differences from the original.  If you do want a more detailed description of how to play you can see our review of the original to get an overview of the core mechanics.

Pandemic Iberia vs Pandemic

We touched on some of the main differences already but we’ll go over them a bit more in depth here.  Below are some of the biggest changes you will see in Pandemic Iberia compared to the original.

  • The new “Build Railroad Action”. Since players can no longer fly around the world to stop disease they will have to use actions to construct continuous sections of railroads across the map in order to travel efficiently and effectively.  Once constructed players can use one action to travel as far as they wish on one section of the railroad.  
  • “Move by ship” action.  Now players can discard cards in port cities to move to other corresponding port cities.
  • “Research a Disease”.  In Iberia players no longer cure diseases, they instead research them.  This means diseases aren’t easier to treat, can no longer be eradicated, and disease cubes will always continue to be placed on the board no matter what.  Players still win by researching all four diseases though.
  • New “Purify Water” action.  Players must discard cards to put water tokens in nearby regions.  This action slows the spread of disease by allowing players to discard placed water tokens instead of placing new disease cubes.
Pandemic Iberia Research Diseases

Other than new role and event cards, these are the main differences between the core gameplay of Pandemic Iberia and Pandemic.  On top of these changes though, Iberia also includes two new gameplay variations that allow for more variety and control of difficulty. 

  • “Influx of Patients Challenge”: tries to emulate how the sick would make their way to nearby hospitals to be treated, making the control of disease spread even more difficult.  Hospitals now have additional benefits but disease cubes will start moving towards them representing this influx of patients, and can often result in overrun hospitals and multiple outbreaks. This challenge ramps up the difficulty and tension as players watch cubes move closer and closer to hospitals.
  • “Historical Diseases Challenge”: Each disease now has its own unique characteristic altering the game and making it more difficult.  Players can choose to just use one at a time or can use all disease special abilities at once to make the game significantly harder.

Conclusion:

Pandemic Iberia is deserving of all the praise it has gotten as one of the best versions of Pandemic.  Even though the changes to the core gameplay aren’t numerous they make an impact by making the game less fiddly and adding new dimensions for players to think about. Traveling efficiently and effectively takes more strategy and improves upon one of the most important mechanisms of the original.

The new included variants add a lot of replayability and allow more unique ways to increase the difficulty of the game instead of just adding or removing epidemic cards.  To be able to modify the original Pandemic in a similar way requires additional expansion purchases so it’s nice that at least a few are included with Iberia.

Overall Pandemic Iberia makes a lot of improvements over the original, and even if the new art and color scheme might not be some people’s favorite, we think in terms of gameplay it is a step up from the original, especially with the included variants.  If you are looking to add your first Pandemic game to your collection, in our opinion Pandemic Iberia is a great place to start, probably the best.

Now if you already have Pandemic and most of its expansions, Iberia might not be as good of a buy.  This is because there is some crossover between the two, but the expansions for the original provide even more variety and modifications to the game if that’s what you are looking for.

Even so Iberia still has the unique railroad mechanisms that add an interesting aspect to the game so for the collectors, it might still be worth adding to your collection if this new movement style interests you.  

Is Pandemic Iberia Good For 2 Players?

Pandemic Iberia is a great game for two players.  It can still fall victim to one player taking control of all the decision-making just like in the original, but if you know your gaming partner and are comfortable playing with them and know what to expect this shouldn’t be a problem.  

Just like the Pandemic, Iberia provides a great cooperative gaming experience that is hard to beat.  The new railroad mechanism adds another aspect for players to discuss and figure out together. Excellent teamwork is required to effectively plan and coordinate the best routes to construct and use in order to succeed at researching all four diseases.

The multiple new roles and variable setup requires players to work together in different ways each game making it very replayable, even more so when you only have two players.  One of the great things about any version of Pandemic is that it is fairly easy to play two-handed too.  This means if players feel like they are missing out when playing at this player count, it isn’t too difficult to have each player use two different characters, my wife and I even play like this on occasion.

Pros:

  • More of a historical theme as opposed to a modern one, which is good considering the recent events that we don’t want to talk about anymore.
  • Requires more strategy in terms of traveling than the original.  Players have to plan railroads effectively to succeed.
  • The included variants provide more variety and replayability than the original base game.

Cons:

  • The colors and art are a bit more muted.  This can make some cards and symbols a little harder to see and read.
  • Still can lead to one player taking over and playing the game for everyone and making all the decisions.
  • The components aren’t as nice as in the original.  Wooden cubes as opposed to nice transparent plastic ones.

Pandemic Iberia Board Game | Historical Strategy Game | Family Board Game | Cooperative Board Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 45 Minutes | Made by Z-Man Games
Pandemic Iberia Board Game | Historical Strategy Game | Family Board Game | Cooperative Board Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 45 Minutes | Made by Z-Man Games
Pandemic Iberia Board Game | Historical Strategy Game | Family Board Game | Cooperative Board Game for Adults and Kids | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 45 Minutes | Made by Z-Man Games

We hope this Pandemic Iberia two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


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