A World-Class Team
Preview the 7 specialists you can play in Pandemic: Rapid Response
Martina stood in a circle of her new colleagues and surveyed the room. These were the six professionals she would be serving with, responding to crises all over the world. It was a daunting prospect, but she didn’t show it. She was stoic in the face of an emergency—a natural choice for director.
“Welcome team. We need to get in the air soon, but we have to learn to work together. Tell me your names and specialties,” she said. This wasn’t summer camp, but if they were going to work quickly and effectively, they’d better get to know each other. A tall man with dreadlocks standing just to Martina’s right went first.
“Hi, I’m Ian.” He gave everyone a small wave and held up one of the aluminum cans they’d be using to package some of the supplies. “I optimize waste systems. I’ve been doing consultant and educator work for a while now, so I’m eager to do something more hands-on.”
“Thanks, Ian,” said Martina. “Glad to have you on the team.”
Next around the circle was Soojin Sohn. “I’m Soojin, a civil engineer. I’ve worked on all sorts of planes, civilian and military, but nothing like this one. It’s an exciting new puzzle.”
They continued around the circle until all seven had introduced themselves: Adjoua the analyst, Antun the flight planner, Raquel the supply specialist, Rohan the technician, and the director herself.
“Martina Rivera, director.” She looked around the circle. “This could be the most high-stress job of your career, but you’re here for a reason. You were each chosen for your mastery in your respective field. People are counting on us, so let’s get to work!”
Natural disasters are affecting cities around the globe and they are in dire need of essentials like food, water, and medicine. Countries around the world have come together to create the Crisis Response Unit (the CRU), comprised of seven of the best representatives from various scientific disciplines, trained to respond to emergencies anytime, anywhere.
Set in the beloved Pandemic universe, Pandemic: Rapid Response is a real-time cooperative board game that challenges players to create supplies and deliver aid to cities around the world. You must coordinate quickly and work together to react to new disasters. Will you and your team be able to respond in time?
In the U.S., Pandemic: Rapid Response is available exclusively at Target. Outside the U.S., Pandemic: Rapid Response is available through standard board game retail channels.
Meet the Crew
In Pandemic: Rapid Response, each player will represent a member of the CRU, an elite team of specialists. You'll take turns individually, but you must work together to generate the supplies needed, fly to the location of the disaster, and drop the supplies before time runs out.
On your turn, you’ll roll your own set of dice and spend the different results to take actions. You can spend any dice to move your pawn from room to room, but flying the plane requires airplane results and generating supplies requires their corresponding supply results.
While any player can take any of these actions on their turn, particular roles are better at doing certain actions. Each role has a unique ability, so consider each character’s expertise and use their abilities to your advantage!
A fundamental part of the game is generating supplies. On their turn and while in a supply room, a player may assign dice to start up the necessary machinery. Each supply room requires the corresponding dice result to work (e.g., vaccine icons for the vaccine generator, water icons for the water generator), so utilizing your role’s abilities to get the exact dice you need will be a powerful strategy toward winning the game.
For instance, every player gets up to two rerolls on their turn, but Adjoua Soro, the Analyst, can reroll dice up to two additional times. More rerolls means more chances to get the results you need. Similarly, as the mechanical expert keeping the plane in the air, Engineer Soojin Sohn can turn any die with a plane to any other side, so take advantage of her special ability for more flexibility from the get-go.
When assigning dice to a supply room, you’ll place them on a designated track. Usually you’d have to place dice in specific quantities designated by grouped spaces on the track, such as on the power generator which requires 3 dice to start. But, if you’re playing as Raquel Cardoso the Supply Specialist, you can place dice on tracks as if they were not grouped.
For instance, in the example below, the Supply Specialist player assigns 2 of the 3 required dice for the track in the power supply room. Now, even though they weren't able to roll 3 power symbols in one turn, the next player to assign dice to the track will need only one matching die to start the machine.
As you generate supplies, you’ll also generate waste. If the waste track on your plane ever gets too high, you’ll lose the game, so having an efficient Recycler on your team could be key to your waste management strategy. When Ian Dominic generates supplies, he rolls one fewer die to generate waste. Plus, when activating the recycling room to reduce waste, he skips the first space on the track, keeping waste levels in check better than anyone on the team.
Once you’ve generated the supplies a city needs, you can make a drop from the cargo bay. But in order to deliver the supplies, you’ll need to fly the plane to the right city, and Antun Marinčić can navigate the jet streams better than anyone else. When spending a die to fly the airplane as the Flight Planner, you have the option to move an additional space, meaning you’ll spend less time getting to the next city that needs your aid.
Maybe your team has all the right supply crates and the plane is in the city that needs them, but no one is anywhere near the cargo bay to make the drop. The Technician Rohan Ray knows the plane’s layout like the back of his hand and can move 1 additional room anytime he spends a die to move. Take advantage of his special ability if you need to get somewhere fast.
But of course, what would a team be without its fearless leader? Martina Rivera, the Director, can place 1 of their dice in HQ on their turn, saving a particular die result for another member of the team. On any other player’s turn, they can spend that die as if it were their own—delegation at its finest.
You’ll use up to four roles in a single game of Pandemic: Rapid Response depending on your player count, so try different combinations to master new abilities and strategies.
A New Challenge
Is your veteran crew ready for the next challenge? Rapid Response has four levels of difficulty for you to choose from during setup. Each level adjusts the number of cities you’ll have to aid throughout the game, adding an extra time crunch after you’ve gotten the hang of generating supplies, making deliveries, and communicating effectively as a team.
Alternatively, you can introduce crisis cards for greater variety. Crisis cards add new challenges that might be one-time effects or last a whole turn of the timer, but you’d better be prepared to handle that unexpected snag!
To add crisis cards to your game, shuffle them into a crisis deck during setup. When the timer runs out, in addition to placing a new city card with unique supply needs, you’ll also draw the top card of the crisis deck and resolve its effect.
Maybe the plane hits a patch of turbulence and it becomes harder to move around to different rooms, or a city calls in for an urgent delivery of water. If a city needs an urgent delivery, you’ll have to make that supply drop first, adding an extra hurdle to jump as you race against the clock. With three different types of crisis cards (immediate, temporary, and delivery), your team will face new challenges with each game.
Even a seasoned crew will face unforeseen obstacles—work quickly and effectively as a team to overcome the odds and respond in time!