POX: Save the People
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that POX: Save the People is a strategy-based board game app that puts players in the role of infectious disease specialists trying to contain an outbreak of a deadly disease. Based on a board game with the same name and intended for one to four players, POX is an interesting way to help kids learn about infectious disease and the importance of vaccinations; they use strategy skills based on instructions that force players to either protect or infect certain game pieces that represent people. Players also can read a brief primer on vaccines and the "dire consequences of failing to vaccinate." There's no graphic violence, but "people" do die in the game.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- meeting challenges together
Health & Fitness
- preventing sickness
Engagement, Approach, Support
Due to its grim subject matter, this engrossing game has a serious tone that adds an unusually high sense of importance to a strategy game. After playing, kids likely will be more engaged with information about vaccines.
Built-in learning includes practicing decision-making and, if playing with others, collaboration and teamwork. Kids also will learn through reading the brief information on vaccines provided by the app.
Settings help adapt gameplay to appropriate skill level and number of players, while the tutorial clearly explains the purpose of each move. The developer offers lesson plans for middle- and high-school students on its website.
What's it about?
Choose the number of players and the difficulty level, then watch the step-by-step tutorial. Protect people by vaccinating the healthy game pieces (they turn blue when vaccinated) and curing the sick (red) ones. Yellow pieces are already vulnerable and cannot be vaccinated; if they become infected, they die immediately and turn black. When prompted, choose which person becomes newly infected. The game is won when the infection is contained or lost when too many die. Engrossing strategy and health-policy-education game.
Is it any good?
POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE is an engrossing strategy game, despite the rather grim circumstances under which the action takes place. Although people are represented by game pieces that don't look realistic at all, there's an eerie feel to the gameplay (perhaps increased by the sad background music, which can be turned off) that makes the decisions and results feel strangely urgent, dire, and important. It may be a bit too spooky for younger players, but POX is an imaginative way to get older kids thinking about public health, vaccines, and disease containment while they exercise strategic-thinking skills.
Families can talk about...
Play the game with your kid and use it as a discussion starter about collaboration and social teamwork to help keep an entire community healthy.
Turn off the background music if it's too distracting or spooky.