A World of Warcraft Pandemic board game is on the way and will adapt the Wrath of the Lich King DLC. Due for a November 2021 launch, it'll cost $59.99 and is available to pre-order from developer Z-Man Games or the Blizzard Gear Store (other retailers are likely to follow shortly).
As explained via a new YouTube trailer and an early look at the game's rulebook, this World of Warcraft Pandemic hybrid pits you against Arthas the Lich King as one of seven heroes. Their ranks include classic WoW figures like Sylvanas Windrunner, Thrall, Jaina Proudmoor, and Muradin Bronzebeard. More importantly, each one features a special ability that sets them apart.
World of Warcraft Pandemic - here's how it works
Although the gameplay seems broadly similar to the original Pandemic board game thanks to undead monsters that replace disease tokens, fresh mechanics like quests and dice-based combat are also being thrown into the mix for Wrath of the Lich King. These give players a more active role in clearing the board.
It makes turn-by-turn gameplay more dangerous, too. Your foe can now strike back, and some enemies - abominations, to be specific - will actively chase your character across the board. These require three strikes in one turn to kill, so being a lone wolf is even deadlier than it was in the first Pandemic.
Alongside combat dice, your hero's abilities are dictated by specific cards like Attack, Defend, or Heal. Because you can only ever have seven of these cards in total at any time, this adds an interesting wrinkle to proceedings; should you collect aggressive ones to clear the field or prioritise Heal cards in case you get overwhelmed? That seems to be where a lot of the board game's revised strategy comes into play.
Quests are equally interesting. These represent bosses you'll have to defeat in order to reach the Lich King himself, and they provide special bonuses upon completion. It sounds like you'll need those benefits; throughout the game, the Lich King "exerts his malevolent influence over the matching region, adding negative effects when the heroes fight and quest there." This only stops when you enter the fortress of Icecrown Citadel (which is a physical cardboard token, by the way) to fight him directly. As you might have guessed, doing so is your one chance of winning the game.
We'll have to wait for more details, but considering its predecessor's place at the top of our best board games guide, this crossover is one to watch.
Get up to speed on Pandemic with 64% off the original game
Before the crossover comes out, you can familiarise yourself with the board game it's based on for 64% less than normal thanks to this Amazon deal. If you want a quick introduction to the series, it's also worth checking out the more bitesize Pandemic Hot Zone: North America.