Most board games have a winner, with everyone else being a loser, but Pandemic was one of the first games to change that paradigm. Pandemic is a cooperative game, with the players (from one to four) working together to stop four plagues that have broken out simultaneously. Everybody either wins or loses, making it a game with few hurt feelings and almost always a good time for everyone. It totally rocked the gaming world when it came out five years ago, and the On the Brink expansion only added to the fun.
Z-Man Games is planning a re-release of Pandemic come February. While sometimes new editions mean a host of new rules, the publishers realize that Pandemic is a game that needs little improvement. The new edition will instead feature new artwork, along with a couple of new character classes to add variety to an already well-designed gam, which even has its own Facebook page.
Boardgames that could be played solitaire used to be more popular years ago, but cooperative games are just an extension of the idea, with the added bonus of the social fun of a “normal” boardgame. There are quite a few other cooperative games around now, like Atlantis Rising and Defenders of the Realm. It’s definitely a fun way to play a boardgame, with none of the stress of, say, bankrupting your own child in Monopoly.