POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE
POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE® is a new board game that challenges 1-4 players to stop the spread of a deadly disease. Not only is the game fun, but through play, players understand group immunity and the need to vaccinate.
Many public health groups need to better promote immunizations in order to continue to prevent vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccinations against deadly diseases such as diphtheria, polio, and whooping cough were standard public health measures: kids today don’t worry about getting polio, for example. Due to suspicions about vaccines and links to other diseases, more parents refuse to immunize their children, which could lead to a national health crisis. Parents have misconceptions about vaccination. For example, some parents believe that vaccines are no longer necessary. This belief may stem from the idea that children develop immunity to diseases automatically through time, which is simply not true; these myths can lead to disaster. For example, whooping cough has reemerged in the United States. As the percentage of people vaccinated against whooping cough has decreased, the U.S. has lost “herd immunity” to whooping cough, thus allowing ways for contagion to spread among the populace.
- 50 blue (vaccine) chips
- 40 red (infection) chips
- 5 black (death) chips
- 20 spread cards
- 8 outbreak cards
- game mat
- how to play
- ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
- Villamagna, Dana. “POX: Save the People – Engrossing strategy game offers lessons in public health.” Graphite.org.
- Chen, Jessica. “Tiltfactor Laboratory Releases iPad Version of Game POX: Save the People.” Dartmouth Now, November 11, 2011.
- Giles, Emilie. “Pox: Save the People. An interview with Mary Flanagan.” Furtherfield.org, October 3, 2011.
- “Just Need to Write.” Sarah Darkmagic, August 25, 2011.
- Wittwer, Jim. “After Gen Con 2011 – The Loot!” BoardGaming.com, August 12, 2011.
- Hoffmann, Leah. “Games and Learning: Seven Questions for Mary Flanagan.” Communications of the ACM, July 5, 2011.
- “Web Extras: The game of life.” Dartmouth Medicine, Summer 2011.
- Saslow, Rachel. “Immunization: Gaming disease.” The Washington Post, April 26, 2011.
- “Video Wednesday.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 19, 2011.
- Plenda, Melanie. “POX: Play the game, save the people.” New Hampshire Union Leader, April 8, 2011, B1.
- “The Game of POX.” (archived) New Hampshire Business Review, April 8, 2011, 36.
- Ganley, Rick. “POX: The Board Game.” New Hampshire Public Radio, Morning Edition, April 4, 2011.
- “Game Developed at Dartmouth Helps Players Understand Infectious Disease Control.” HealthNewsDigest.com, April 4, 2011.
- “Lost in Translation: Comparing the Impact of an Analog and Digital Version of a Public Health Game on Players’ Perceptions, Attitudes, and Cognitions.” International Journal of Games and Computer Mediated Simulations. Vol 5, Issue 3, 2013.
- Flanagan, Mary, Seidman, Max, Belman, Jonathan, Punjasthitkul, Sukdith, Downs, Zara, Ayoob, Mike, Driscoll, Alicia, and Downs, Martin. “Preventing a POX Among the People? Community-based Game Design for ‘Herd Immunity.’” Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. Hilversum: The Netherlands, 14-17 September 2011.
Help! How do I play this game?
For an easy introduction to POX, try using the interactive walkthrough to lead you through your first few games!
Can I cure the red spaces where the infection begins?
Yes. Those spaces should be treated like normal infected people after the start of the game.
Do the different types of spaces matter for anything except Outbreak cards?
Can a yellow space (vulnerable person) be chosen to become infected for an Outbreak card?
No. Vulnerable people can never be chosen for an Outbreak card.
Does an infected person surrounded by infected and dead people die?
Yes. An infected person not touching any healthy or immune people dies.
Does that mean an infected person on a corner dies extremely easily?
Yes. An infected person on a corner only needs to be surrounded by two infected people to die.
Do dead people spread the disease?
No. Dead people are not contagious in POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE.
What happens if there are no valid places to put an outbreak?
If you can’t place the outbreak, then you don’t. Then, because no new infections occurred, you vaccinate two people instead of the usual one.
If no new infections occur from a Spread card, may I pick the “vaccinate” and “cure” options once each?
Yes! When no new infections occur on a turn you get the benefit of the card twice. So for a spread you may: vaccinate six, or cure two, or cure one and vaccinate three.
- Designers: Mary Flanagan, Zara Downs
- Dartmouth Student Designer: Max Seidman
- Tiltfactor Intern: Mike Ayoob, USC Student
- Dartmouth Student Game Testers: Alicia Driscoll, Max Seidman
- General Support and Project Coordination: Sukdith Punjasthitkul
- Game Programming (POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE digital): Zara Downs, Cecile Williams, Max Seidman
- Assessment: Jonathan Belman
- External Consultants: Martin Downs, Director of Public Health Programs, Mascoma Valley Health Initiative; Edward Ihejirika, Mascoma Valley Health Initiative