Is it possible play the base version of Pandemic with one person?

One thing I've consider is you could just play for four players with open hands.

  • 2
    It seems trivially true that you can play as multiple players, and also fairly clear that the rules don't allow for truly having only one player - is there something in particular you're trying to find out?
    – Cascabel
    Jul 11, 2014 at 3:03
  • (Sorry, the base rules, anyway. In the Lab does have the solo variant.)
    – Cascabel
    Jul 11, 2014 at 4:11

4 Answers 4


Yes, for basically any no-hidden-information co-op game, including Pandemic, you can play by yourself, acting as the appropriate number of players. I'd probably play as four, as you said, since I think the game is pretty good with four, but you could certainly try it with three or two if you prefer.

I don't think the open hands are really a big deal. You can already tell everyone all the cards in your hand all the time in the normal game, so it's not really a big leap to just play with open hands. A lot of people just play with open hands despite the rules, because they want to just play the game, not waste time constantly asking everyone what's in their hands. If you find that it makes it a little easier, just add an epidemic card.

If you have the In the Lab expansion, there's also an actual solo version of the game, using a single role and the CDC (which has its own special actions), which can be combined with whichever other variants you like (except the bio-terrorist, of course). Up to you whether you prefer that or playing as multiple roles, but if you're looking at only the base game, you don't have much choice.

  • 1
    fwiw - we always play with open hands, since it's a coop game
    – warren
    Jul 15, 2014 at 17:32
  • @warren Yes, I believe I referred to that in my answer.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 15, 2014 at 19:11
  • I was more indicating that's how we play :)
    – warren
    Jul 15, 2014 at 20:15
  • 1
    @warren it is actually more of a challenge to collaborate without playing with open hands. Try it sometime :)
    – posdef
    Apr 16, 2015 at 11:41
  • 1
    "For basically any co-op game"... well, only the ones that don't require hidden information. Hanabi doesn't work well with a single player, and hidden traitor games like Shadows over Camelot or Battlestar Galactica are problematic as well. May 31, 2018 at 13:06

The iOS version of Pandemic is an excellent solo game. The basic version plays identically to the standard 2013 board game, I believe: you play each of the four investigators in turn, each being able see everyone's cards. There's an in-app purchase to get the option of playing with the On The Brink expansion.

In some ways it's a bit smoother to play than the physical board game edition: setup is automatic, the interface is well designed, you can see the number of cards/cubes left at a glance, unavailable actions are greyed out, etc.

  • 1
    If you mentioned how it works (does it have you play as multiple investigators? are there rules modifications?) this would be an actual answer. Otherwise as you suggest it might've been better as just as comment.
    – Cascabel
    Jun 9, 2015 at 16:17
  • @Jefromi good point. I've edited it to be more descriptive. Jun 11, 2015 at 2:39
  • Is "investigators" the term the game uses for the player characters? May 31, 2018 at 19:45
  • @Acccumulation no, not sure why I wrote "investigators", but it's not in the official rules - they are just referred to as "players" and "roles". Jun 2, 2018 at 0:10

Pandemic is essentially a one-person game. From a game theory perspective, the participation of multiple people is superfluous window dressing that doesn't change the essential nature of the game. The difference between solo and multiple players is the social aspect and more people to bounce ideas off of.


A little late to the party, but I've had good fun with "Infection Express", which is a 1-2 player print-and-play game heavily inspired by Pandemic.

There are multiple versions, the first two being a little more random since they are based on dice, while version 3 is based on a standard 52-card deck.

  • Downvoters, please leave a comment describing what you don't like about my answer - only then can I improve it and future answers. Thank you May 31, 2018 at 16:10
  • I downvoted because the question was asking about solo Pandemic. Not asking for recommendations of similar games. May 31, 2018 at 16:23
  • I was searching for the same answer OP did, and found this to be close enough for me. The game is essentially created to be a solo-playable and travel-friendly clone of Pandemic, which could be what OP and future visitors actually need. Anyways, I appreciate your explanation, and please don't hold back with comments in the future, especially when down-voting ;-) Jun 4, 2018 at 13:02
  • I have upvoted this because while the answer does not literally address the question it is nevertheless helpful. I also came here searching for single-player Pandemic but now fully intend to look at Infection Express. I think that the downvote was unnecessarily harsh.
    – Mike Gleen
    Jun 13, 2020 at 12:19

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