I love playing Pandemic, but the one of the biggest holdups for me is how you can only play 4 players. However, in the box there are 7 roles! (Scientist, Researcher, Medic, Quarantine Specialist, Dispatcher, Operations expert, Contingency planner).

Has anyone had experience or would like to hypothesize playing with 5, 6, or all 7 players at once? If so, what additional rules do you incorporate (if any) to keep the integrity of the game (i.e. starting cards, number of actions, etc.)?

I'm aware that there are only so many city cards to use so 7 players would really make you be super sensitive in how you use the cards. And I'm sure there are other things to consider also.

I'm just very curious to know what all of your experiences are! Thank you for your time.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of How can I play Pandemic with 6 players?
    – Tom77
    May 18, 2014 at 7:35
  • i dont think this qualifies as a duplicate. the other question specifically references playing the "Through the brink" expansion - which allows 5 players - with 6 players. This question is exploring whether the vanilla game can be played with more than 4 players, and if so, how many extra players it can support
    – Patters
    May 19, 2014 at 8:38

4 Answers 4


The On the Brink expansion does allow for five player games . I believe the only rule change in On the Brink that would affect this is only shuffling two event cards per player into the deck. I'm not sure if this would affect only playing with the base game (the expansion includes many more event cards which makes this necessary), I can't remember how many event cards there were with just the base game.

The main issue you face with playing with more people is the game's built-in time limit (when you run out of city cards). I've never tried altering the rules to better accommodate more players.

I can't remember where I saw it posted. But I believe the creators of the game said that they limited the number of players to such a small number as playtesters didn't find it to be fun having to wait so long between turns. If a player traveled to a city to treat diseases on their next turn. A game with five other players meant that ten more infection cards would be played before they had a change to clear anything up.

  • 1
    This. Because the only thing you can do out of turn is play an Event, it gets really boring, and the special actions of each Role also get diluted because there are a fixed number of player turns to be had. In 6-player, 12 cards would be dealt from a deck of 48 cities + 5 events, then 5 Epidemics are shuffled in, leaving a draw deck of 46 cards. Two cards drawn per player turn = 23 player turns = not quite 4 turns per player, or 16 actions. Even if only half of those actions were movement, a Medic could only cure 8 cities in the entire game.
    – KeithS
    Aug 27, 2014 at 21:26

I tend to play pandemic with 8 players, but then in teams of two. Because it's a cooperative game, everyone always feels included, even if they have to share their turn :) Like this, there are only 4 players in the game, but 8 people sharing their strategies, which makes for a lot of discussion! (and fun)

More than 4 players, while it can be done, will definitely increase difficulty!


I have played Pandemic with some friends countless times and I think that attempting to play the game with more players (>4) without some serious game modifications would result in unwieldy gameplay which is kind of not the point of the game. I have seriously thought about ways to allow for more players but they all entailed increasing deck sizes as well as decreasing the number of cards drawn per turn. The key to any such modification would be to reduce the duration of each player's turn of play without crippling the game, no easy task.


You could play with 7 people but you'd have to do 6 card limt. Reshuffle all the player cards as needed but all 7 infection cards to insure ot would be constant threat of death. There would be no time limit but 8 outbreaks and you die

  • That would break the game, make it almost impossible to lose. With 6 players you would always have someone near a diseased area, to treat it or build a research station . Also, for each of the 4 diseases you could have two players collecting that color's cards for a cure, so no need to meet to exchange cards, you know you'll get the cure eventually. Especially if you had Operations Expert + Dispatcher you could keep rebuilding research labs as needed, so Medic/Containment Specialist could fly in and treat.
    – smci
    Apr 17, 2020 at 4:49

You must log in to answer this question.

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