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Can You Play Pandemic by Yourself?

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Is Pandemic your favorite board game and wonder if you can play solo? Pandemic is a cooperative board game and requires team play to treat infections around the world by finding resources for cures. 

Players must work together to save humanity. But if you have no additional players to game with, playing Pandemic alone may seem impossible.

Can you play pandemic by yourself? Yes, you can play Pandemic on your own with the same rules. 

Simply use three roles and take turns as you play normal. All three roles will be played from your hand of seven cards, however you put cards into the “Archive” to surpass the hand limit. 

There are various editions for Pandemic extensions. However, there is no solo version that are designed for a single role. 

Be creative and start with 2 roles and play as if there are 2 players at the game. The more players you handle as single player, the more difficult the game will become.

If you are having difficulty to play the original Pandemic board game by yourself, there is expansion game called Pandemic in the Lab that already includes a solo player that you can comfortably enjoy.

In this article, we will go over rules and tips to play the original Pandemic by yourself. Answer below are frequently asked questions about playing Pandemic board game by yourself.

Is pandemic hard to play by yourself?

No, it is not hard to play as the rules are simple and it comes with an easy to follow instruction manual. Playing with 2 players is much easier with 4 players. 

It can take a bit of time, but can also become more tough with larger groups of people to play with. 

At the beginning of the game, the 3 cube cities are top priority to start working as a team. With 2 players or solo, it’s easier to get the cards as they are not spread over more players. 

This board game lets you become a member of the disease control team where you have to develop cures, prevent the outbreak of disease, and control it before the deadly diseases spreads. It is depicted by Yellow, Red, Blue and Black cards that contaminate the human world. 

If you are taking up multiple roles, each of the roles has special abilities to enhance the team’s chances.

Tips to play pandemic alone

Most board gamers feel it is really hard and impossible to play Pandemic by yourself. More than 2 players tends to weight the game difficulty to the next notch, and that is why playing Pandemic alone can be great start to get familiar to really enjoy the game later on. 

There are roles and techniques to find a cure and save humanity while 4 types of diseases are spreading over the world in this board game. If you are starting to play alone to get to learn more about this game, here are useful tips for you to apply.

Important tips to know to play pandemic by yourself:

  • Take up the game either as a solo player or play multiple roles.
  • Enhance the social aspect to enjoy playing it alone.
  • Find the cure by being a member of the disease control team. By playing multiple roles, you get to think of a different person handling the pandemic.
  • Ensure the play is within the time so that you do not run out of dice and lose.
  • Win as a team and lose as a team.
  • Prepare paper and pen to note the development of each member. For example, you can be playing the role as a quarantine specialist, dispatcher or medical team.
  • Use actions to get from one hot spot to another simultaneously treating diseases and setting a research network to find a cure.
  • Hold all color cards in your hands or take a role and allot one color to that role when playing solo. The maximum you can play solo is up to 3 roles, so choose wisely.
  • Take role cards with a special ability. As a single role, you will only have one ability at a time. Think in the role to develop an efficient strategy.
  • Keep the extra cards on hand in the “Archive.”

Pandemic can be a great one-person game. 

The recommended multi-player perspective does not change the essential nature of the game. The only difference between solo and multiple player is the social aspect where you can share ideas with each other. 

So, if you are looking to play Pandemic by yourself, use the tips shared above to enjoy the gameplay.

Pandemic Single Player Rules

When playing solo mode of Pandemic, the rules are the same, however you can play up to 3 roles per game taking turns one after another as if 3 players exist. Choose the roles wisely to get the maximum benefit of the capabilities. 

As a beginner, start with 2 roles to make comfortable gameplay.

Here are Pandemic solo game rules for you to be aware of:

  • The cards should be held in the Archive if you are unable to hold them in your hands or go above the hand limit.
  • The solo rules and roles are adjusted to all the expansions.
  • Play multiple roles either 2 or 3 roles per game with identical rules of the original version.
  • Mix the epidemic cards and roles to enhance the complexity of the game.
  • Avoid using special cards in the beginning and try to hit the hotspots early.

The general rule to play Pandemic board game is that you have 3 rounds to find a cure for at least of one disease. So, once you completed two rounds, take a break and plan out your remaining turns. 

As a solo player, strategizing in-between the rounds can help you regain thoughts and make you smarter to solve the problem.

How to play Pandemic alone?

The objective of the pandemic game is to discover the disease cure for all four diseases. With 2 players, it is quite easy to go around the game quicker with less cards spread out, which is why Pandemic board game is perfect to play alone. 

The players lose when:

  • There are insufficient disease cubes left as needed.
  • When 8 outbreaks occur worldwide.
  • If there are insufficient player cards remain on the deck.
  • Not enough disease cubes are left when needed.

Each player has special abilities with each role to enhance the chances of a team. Single player can play multiple roles such as:

  • Medic: Removes all cubes and prevents placing disease cubes of cured diseases in its location.
  • Operations expert: Build a research station without using a City card and can move a research station to any city by discarding any City card. 
  • Scientist: Needs only 4 City cards of the same disease color to Discover a Cure for that specific disease. 
  • Dispatcher: Can move any pawn or move another player’s pawn. 
  • Researcher: During the Share Knowledge action, Researcher can give City card to other player in the same city. 
  • Quarantine Specialist: Prevents both outbreaks and the placement of disease cubes in the city.
  • Contingency Planner: Take an Event card from Player Discard Pile and replace it on Role card. 

If you are playing Pandemic by yourself, take turns and try out different combinations of roles 2 at a time to strategize the game for next time when you play with a larger group.

There are 3 expansions in the Pandemic game:

  • On the brink: This expansion lets you add a fifth player with an optional challenge. 
  • In the lab: It is the second expansion for Pandemic where it allows you to move the pawns in a laboratory. There are four new roles, new Virulent Strain events and a Worldwide Panic Mutation scenario. Also, you can play to compete individually or as a team.
  • State of Emergency: There are 3 new challenge on this expansion including Hinterlands, Emergency Events, and Superbug Challenge. The goal of this game is to eradicate the superbug disease to win. 

The expansion board games include added new roles, adjustments for player additions, rule expansions/challenge kits, and special events for anyone who enjoyed playing Pandemic.

The Pandemic game board includes:

  • 48 cities
  • 2 decks of cards-Infection and player cards
  • Player cards: City name cards, Event cards- played anytime and Epidemic cards 
  • Infection cards: a card with city and color of the disease.
  • 24 cubes of 4 colors representing a disease
  • 6 research stations
  • Pawn per role


The cities are populated with infection cards on the board from 1 to 3 cubes. The player takes 4 actions with a blend of 8 possible actions. 

Once the action is taken, a player draws two of the player cards. If one of them is an epidemic card, the infection rate marks one space, the card is placed back and shuffled. 

Then, the cure has to be obtained to save the city.

How to play Pandemic by yourself

Single Player Pandemic Board Game: Conclusion

With groups of family or friends, Pandemic board game lets you work together as a team to travel across the globe to treat infections while finding resources for cures. There are roles that you can use as individual strength to win this game. 

It is pretty exciting and thrilling to play Pandemic as a group. If you are wondering if it is possible to play this game by yourself, you are not alone. 

Playing Pandemic by yourself does not require special skills or extra tools.

The objective of playing pandemic alone is to select roles that work together to avoid the spread of 4 of the deadly diseases and obtain a cure before the occurrence of a pandemic. It is recommended to start with 2 roles to play with instead of selecting 4 roles where it can become confusing to handle all by yourself. 

For solo players, the rules and roles stays the same as original multiplayer. 

Try to avoid using special cards in the beginning of the game and hit the hotspots of pandemic in early stage of the gameplay. It will help you to strategize and be able to place cards in Archive if you have limit in holding the cards in hand. 

Playing Pandemic as group improves the social aspect compared to playing board games alone. But as single player, you can be able to study each role and strategize the game a lot more by taking time on the second round. 

Follow the tips to play pandemic alone so you master the Pandemic board game by yourself! 

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