For most board games, the play-time on the box is a suggestion that is often exceeded. Pandemic: Rapid Response bucks this trend, delivering a consistent 20 minutes of frantic fun.

Part of the Pandemic series of games, Rapid Response sees up to four players playing a group of elite scientist and technicians, tasked with delivering supplies to nations across the world.

The game sets itself apart from others in the cooperative genre by focusing heavily on real-time decision making. The game utilises a two-minute hourglass, with players trying to achieve as much as possible across their turns before the timer runs out.

Each turn sees a player rolling a set of six customised dice which determine what actions they can take. By spending dice, players can move around the experimental plane the game is set on and activate the machinery aboard it.

Players will have to juggle limited cargo space, deadly waste, and a ticking clock if they aim to succeed.

Speed is of the essence though, only one player can act at once, and everyone is constrained by the same two-minute timer. The faster each person completes their turn, the more the team will be able to accomplish before the timer runs out, and the next series of complications gets added.

The frantic gameplay will see your group of friends juggling the need to fly the plane to its destination, create supplies, and disposing of waste. With more cities in need of help and additional crisises occurring every two minutes, Rapid Response puts your teamwork and coordination to the test.

The components of Pandemic Rapid Response are simple but well made, with a board representing the interior of the plane, with the cities of the world along the border. The game uses a set of four pawns, one plane miniature, and 24 custom 6-sided dice, each one printed with the various resources used in the game in bright colours. Outside of the detailed miniature of the plane, the rest of the pawns don’t have much in the way of detail, making handling them in the fast-paced gameplay easier.

Each city calls for a different kind of aid, with some requiring more supplies than others.

While Pandemic: Rapid Response is excellent for shorter gaming sessions, it is by no means a lesser game. With variable difficulty, the game provides a challenge with every game and success is never guaranteed. Replayability is high, with each game seeing the players rushing to save different cities with their own needs and assuming the roles of different characters, each with their own unique abilities. If you’re looking for an easy to set-up board game which will provide fast and frantic fun, Pandemic Rapid Response should definitely be on your wishlist.

~ Shane