I've played a couple of Pandemic games with 2, 3 and 4 players.

From my point of view, the game should be harder with only 2 players since it will be more difficult to get a medic and both players will have to stay virtually close to each other most of the time in order to share knowledge, therefore cover less ground.

On the other hand, with more players, obviously the deck will run out faster.

From my experience our group WIN/LOSE ratio is very similar and does not depend that much on the player count.

Is it really harder with fewer players?

6 Answers 6


Actually, I've found that it's easier with fewer players. My husband and I play two-player games with six epidemics and win about half our games, but when we play with two other (competent) players five epidemics gives us that win rate and six is hard.

While, with fewer players, you have fewer roles in the game, that's offset by not having so many other actions between your turns (that can completely change the board and thus your plans). Some roles work better the more turns that role gets, e.g. dumpster-diving abilities and once-per-turn special actions. You'll run through the deck at the same rate no matter how many players there are.

The medic is not necessary, and sometimes having that role in a two-player game is counter-productive. Remember tha the goal is curing diseases; it's easy for the medic to get so pre-occupied with the board that he doesn't contribute enough to cures. Medic as one of four roles is great; medic as one of two requires restraint.

In our games we deal two roles to each player and let the player choose one (consultation is allowed). That hasn't hurt our two-player games even though the medic will only be an option about a third of the time.

  • 6
    +1 I agree with all your points and I strongly agree with you paragraph about the medic. The crux of the game is the logistics of card swapping, not cube clearing.
    – Chris Kent
    Commented Nov 17, 2013 at 0:52
  • You run through the deck at the same rate (meaning there are the same total number of turns), but each player gets fewer turns when there are more players in the game.
    – mmathis
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 18:36
  • @mmathis yes, that's what I was trying to say with the part about more turns per role. How can I make that clearer? Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 18:39

One of the biggest factors that makes it easier with fewer players is that you can organise the cards you need to get together much more quickly - the 5 cards you need for a cure will be distributed between 2 hands rather than 3 or 4, and if you have the right combination of roles/event cards you can transfer those cards in 1 or 2 player-turns (and hence only having to worry about the infector and epidemics twice) instead of needing to co-ordinate across 3, 4 or more turns.

  • +1 THIS. The logistics of card management, i.e. to get to 5 cards of a color considering 7-card hand limit, is the primary reason while 2-player gameplay is significantly easier IMHO.
    – posdef
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 11:34

The main thing you lose with fewer players is maximum hand size, so you cannot hold as many cards at once. This can make it harder to get the cures if the right colours don't come up. However, it is generally easier to avoid outbreaks, since you only have 2 people you will tend to have the right person's turn faster after an epidemic. With 2 people you will need to choose your roles manually I think, since some roles, EG Dispatcher, are pretty worthless with only 2 people and some EG Medic are practically mandatory.

You get the same number of player turns regardless of the number of players, since the starting cards is 2 for 4 players and 4 for 2 players. Trading cards seems about the same difficulty with 2 people as you have less turns to wait at the trading location, but less options for meeting up. Research stations make meeting up pretty easy as long as you can both build them near where you are. Or a Charter flight out of a city you hold will let you meet up anywhere to swap that second card.


So far my wife and I have only played two player games. Both times we eradicated the yellow disease and it gave us the breathing room to focus on finding the rest of the cures. The trick is to make liberal use of your special ability and don't forget about research station to research station travel. That ends up being the most effective way to get around the board without having to discard crucial cards.

  • 1
    This answer doesn't seem to address the question; gameplay difficulty based on number of players
    – posdef
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 11:35

I do agree 2 players is a lot easy to handle and get round to doubling up moves (special abilite) quicker. The medic and dispatcher is actually a very fast combination and once one virus is eradicated the game becomes much easier and at a very fast pace as the epidemic (stage 3) is not as effective by just shuffling the discard infection card back on top. But the issue with 2 players is having to discard cards that you may need early before finding cure (7 card limit).


I played it exactly once. There were four of us and I had the role that lets other people take an extra move. By me basically coordinating the entire group we won easily. Once this strategy was obvious, no one wanted to play such an easily beat game any more...

So while my answer is that it's easier with more people, the real answer is that it's easier with more coordination.

  • 7
    If you've played exactly once, you really don't have any comparison point.
    – bwarner
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 13:20
  • I didn't mean my answer to have been based on my one time. I meant it to be based on the other players many times of never beating it previously and then finding it too easy after seeing the strategy I used.
    – Eben
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 19:47
  • 1
    No role lets other players take extra moves. The Dispatcher can use one of their actions to move another player, but that is not an "extra move". So this is all based on playing the game incorrectly :) Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 16:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .