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World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King will be adapted into a Pandemic board game

A new trailer teases elaborate plastic miniatures

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King is the inspiration for the next iteration of Pandemic, the hit cooperative board game series. Publisher Z-Man Games made the announcement Wednesday with a splashy teaser trailer on YouTube, which we’ve embedded above.

Wrath of the Lich King is the second expansion for World of Warcraft, and it was released in 2008. In it, players advanced from level 68 to 80 while exploring the frozen region of Northrend and doing battle against the undead. The tabletop game Pandemic was released in 2007. Designed by Matt Leacock, the cooperative game pits players against a quartet of deadly viruses ravaging the human population of Earth. It’s up to players to find the cures before time runs out.

A fuzzy image of the game board, with several different sizes of miniatures scattered around popular WoW locations. Image: Z-Man Games/Blizzard Entertainment

Details on how this new version of Pandemic will work are scant, but the teaser trailer holds some clues. The board consists of the region of Northrend, with locations such as Thunderfall, Shadow Vault, The Avalanche, and the Icecrown Citadel. Plastic miniatures dot the board, with larger-size figures for heroes like Sylvanas Windrunner and others. There are also smaller miniatures, which may represent the creeping hordes of the Lich King’s forces.

Fans will of course remember that, back in 2005, World of Warcraft itself featured an in-game pandemic that got out of hand due to a programming oversight. Called the Corrupted Blood incident, it ravaged the game for weeks, infecting thousands and killing off many low-level characters before developers could get it under control. The outbreak even prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to inquire about it. A similar, yet far less infectious, in-game disease was sparked intentionally by developers in the lead up to the launch of Wrath of the Lich King.

This isn’t the first time that Pandemic has been adapted into other settings. The series leapt forward to a post-human future in Pandemic Legacy Season 2, jumped through time for Pandemic: Fall of Rome and Pandemic: Iberia, and bumped up against unspeakable horrors in Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu. There’s also a new, expandable system of smaller footprint Pandemic games called Hot Zone.

No pricing or release date was mentioned, but you can expect to hear more as the tabletop industry kicks off the long-overdue convention circuit. Gen Con, the United States’ largest tabletop gaming convention, returns to Indianapolis in September, and the Essen Game Fair (Essen Spiel), Europe’s largest convention, begins in October.

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