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I've recently bought Pandemic and I'm going to play it for the first time tomorrow. Having read the rules I wasn't quite sure how to interpret:

The player who was most recently sick goes first.

Does this mean the person who most recently vomited? Or just generally ill? What about long-term / chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes?

Given that it's a co-operative game, does it actually matter who starts?

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It means the person who has most recently been a victim of bioterrorism. – The Chaz 2.0 Feb 24 '12 at 14:59
Roll a dice. Six makes you sick. If more than one people is sick, reroll. – Oltarus Feb 24 '12 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

They mean (infected) since the game is about infectious diseases (viruses probably, but possibly also bacteria), not physically ill such to induce vomitting. Long term conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, or alcoholism are not what they are referring to.

It doesn't actually matter who goes first (because of the games co-operative nature), unless the cards that each person has in hand is open information to other players.

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I agree with user1873 on what they were getting at.

As a general answer for most board games, what they're usually getting at is to choose the start player randomly. Many games, like Pandemic, use a thematic method to do so. I think Pandemic's actually works well, since that will change over time with a static group; Ticket to Ride uses something like "the most well-traveled player", which is less likely to change if you always play with the same people.

I generally try to keep a die around even if no games I'm playing use one to determine start player. That way, even if there are some interpretation disagreements over the start player rule (which I'm certain was not intentional), we can still determine it randomly and relatively quickly.

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You can always use a system that involve the current game.. for pandemic, although is really not that important who plays first, We usually pick city cards before the whole deal, and the southest one go first... – gbianchi Feb 29 '12 at 15:10
Just as a side-note.. Start Player (a card game from Ted Alspach) is specifically designed to determine the starting player of any other board game. – Erik Burigo Apr 5 '12 at 13:19

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