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Matthew Baldwin’s 2008 Good Gift Game round-up is worth a look – some great games and fun reviews!

“In this game we are all epidemiologists, trying to synthesize vaccines to four deadly diseases that are rapidly spreading across the globe…” My God, can you even imagine a less-enticing introduction to a board game? It sounds so soporific that you’d expect to find pillows and PJs in the box. And yet Pandemic, perhaps the best family game of 2008, has exactly this premise: Travel the world, conduct research, and cure the virulent contagions that threaten mankind. As a cooperative game, Pandemic has the players working as a team, winning or losing as a group. And, like any good medical thriller, the tension in Pandemic builds geometrically: Halfway through you’ll be high-fiving each other over your presumed victory; 15 minutes later you’ll be sweating bullets as the situation grows increasingly dire. Despite a theme that screams “biochem exam!” Pandemic is the everyone-who-plays-it-loves-it game of the year.