Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp

Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp is a recent release to get the Gold Banner treatment from Victory Point Games. For anyone unfamiliar, Victory Point Games is a smaller publisher who does its own printing. In the past, they have relied on their moto, "The Gameplay's the Thing!" to excuse bagged games and pretty underwhelming component quality. Victory Point has since upgraded their printing facilities, however, and the games released in their Gold Banner line come in a box and include high quality components that I absolutely love.

With all that out of the way, is Infection's gameplay "the thing?"

First, Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp is a solo game. With that short sentence, I suspect many of you are immediately turned off, and a few of you may be a bit more interested. I have to say, that although the prospect of solo gaming has always intrigued me, I don't have a game in my collection that I regularly go back to play by myself. So I am always on the lookout for that game that I'm able to pull out when I have the itch to play something, but no one else is around.

In Infection, the player is in charge of a lab that is trying to find a cure for a disease (either a viral or bacterial infection - which is on the reverse side of the board) that is ravaging the world and could spell the end for mankind.

Each turn of Infection consists of 4 phases.

During the Status Report Phase, an event card is drawn, which may cause positive or (more likely) negative effects.

The next phase is the Player Action phase. During this phase, players will spend their resources to research molecules of the disease in order to create a cure.

Next, the player rolls a d6 to see if the disease can be contained, or if it spreads to infect more of the population - and moves the player closer to losing the game.

The final phase, Clean Up, consists simply of setting everything up for the following round.

The bacteria is depicted to the left. In order to research each molecule of the bacteria, players have to purchase proteins that match the ones pictured on the research board (pictured on the right). Once a player has purchased all of the necessary proteins, the molecules that match the letter and have at least 3 sides open can be removed. In this case, the B molecules would all be able to be removed.

The players can also spend their money on scientists or equipment cards to help them work on a cure. 

These cards help players in various ways, like making containment rolls easier or allowing players to purchase more than 2 proteins a turn.

They can be pretty expensive, but used correctly, they can be the difference between victory and defeat.

The game ends when either the death toll rises too high, when all the molecule protein tokens are on the board and none can be drawn, or when all of the spaces on the virus or bacteria board are occupied.

The first con I have for Infection is that the game can be really hard. I played the game several times, and I absolutely lost more times than I won (far more). While this is something I don't care for too much in games, this certainly won't be a con for everyone.

The second thing I wanted to mention is that sometimes when playing Infection, I felt that the randomness of the game could really swing the direction of a game. Every game, 5 lab cards are removed from the game. I played one game where all 5 of those cards were person cards. Of course, adjusting one's play to adapt to each game's conditions is an important factor for replayability. I have also played games where I have failed every Containment roll, even when using the abilities of scientists and equipment. While this is certainly thematic, and something that is possible when dice are involved, it wasn't fun.

My favorite thing about Infection is probably how "puzzle-y" it is. The game definitely creates a tense, interesting experience. On a player's turn, there are a few actions to choose from, and the decisions usually revolve around risk and risk management. "Do I spend money now to get this card now? Do I use this card now and to help with my Containment roll? Should I buy a second copy of this equipment card, which is super expensive but makes it even more effective? Which molecule should I dedicate this protein to - one that requires more but will give me a bigger benefit later, or the smaller one?"

Another positive for Infection is that despite how much I lost, the game often ended close to me succeeding, with a high stakes Containment roll. This makes the game feel all the more thematic and really helps to keep the game exciting.

One last thing I would like to mention is that even though the game box says that the game plays with 1 player, playing this game with 2 or even 3 people is certainly feasible. Players could take turns being in charge of the lab, or players could all collaborate and play each turn as a team.

Overall, I would give Infection a 7.0. It is a solid solitaire game,with easy setup and rules, interesting decisions, a compelling theme, and great components. Even if you don't care for solitaire games, I think this one is worth taking a look at.

Jim would like to thank Victory Point Games for providing a copy of Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp for review.


  1. Nice review of my game, Josh. :)

    I wanted the game to be one where you lost more than you won, so that when you did win, you usually felt it was a hard won victory.

    As for the bad die rolls for the containment check, I have posted an unofficial variant on the BGG for viral side that uses Overtime Without Pay (OWP) tokens to mitigate bad rolls:

    As for playing with other players, I have had quite a number of people tell me that they have played Infection with their spouse or their kids--it's just fun to collaborate on what decisions to make.

    John "That Cowboy Guy" Gibson

    1. You're welcome!! However, Jim is actually the one that reviewed your game. ; )

    2. Oops. I didn't catch that it was Jim that did the review.

      ~waves at Jim~

      Great review, Jim.

  2. My boardgame Infection will become an app.

    Victory Point Games is teaming up with Hunted Cow Studios to develop and publish digital versions of some of VPG’s most popular titles, including Infection. Check out the Victory Point Games website for the press release.