Asmodee and developer Z-Man have officially announced a brand new installment in the Pandemic: Hot Zone series, Pandemic: Hot Zone - Europe.
As the name implies, the game is a co-op experience where you and up to three other players work together to find cures and treatments for three different infectious diseases plaguing Europe. This will be the second game in the Hot Zone series and is a shorter and more portable version of the main Pandemic series. A game can last about thirty minutes at most and the game pieces are built to be compact and easily set up.
In addition to a brand new Europe map, the game includes a new "Hemisphere" mode which allows you to combine the game with Pandemic: Hot Zone - North America for an even greater challenge. These "Hemisphere" rules can be downloaded in a PDF on Z-Man Games' website. Pandemic: Hot Zone - Europe is also compatible with cards and pieces from other Pandemic: Hot Zone titles so feel free to mix and match for your own custom challenges. Finally, this new game includes Mutation cards which can drastically change the difficulty of the game.
Of course, the irony of making a game of this nature during the COVID-19 pandemic is not lost at all on series creator Matt Leacock and Z-Man's Head of Studio Steve Kimball. They cover the difficulties and sensitivity challenges that arose when developing this game, not just the logistical hurdles of production but the framing and word choice in an extensive blog post. For some players out there, suffering through a pandemic carries a lot more tragedy and hardship than others, and it's a good thing the developers recognize and address these hardships with concerted mindful design.
Pandemic: Hot Zone - Europe will be available for purchase on July 9th at the suggested retail price of $19.99. There is also a downloadable PDF version available here.