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POX: Save the People - Board Game Box Shot

POX: Save the People

| Published: 2011
11 24 5

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POX: SAVE THE PEOPLE is a new board game challenging 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, and they worked: kids today don’t worry about getting polio, for example. But due to suspicions about vaccines and links to other diseases, more parents are refusing to immunize their children, and this could lead to a national health crisis.

Parents mistakenly believe that vaccines aren’t necessary any more, or that children develop immunity to these diseases automatically through time. These myths lead to disaster. Whooping cough is back, for example, for the U.S. has lost what is called “herd immunity” to this disease as the percent of vaccinated people is lowering, allowing ways for contagion to spread among the populace.

User Reviews (5)

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Miniature Painter
Rosetta Stone
Advanced Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
122 of 132 gamers found this helpful
“Save the people! A simple yet entertaining puzzle game.”

Let’s get this out of the way. This game is pretty simple. Simple does not necessarily equate bad, however. There is fun to be had here, and there is more than one way to have it.

POX, what is it?

POX is a cooperative puzzle game for 1-4 players. The premise is that there is a disease that is trying to kill the good people of your neighborhood. You have the ability to vaccinate or cure the members of your neighborhood. The choices you make are affected by random card draws as the infection spreads. Your ultimate goal is to give the infection nowhere to go, essentially containing it. Doing so wins the game. You lose if too many people die from the infection. The number of deaths for a loss are determined by the difficulty setting you choose, from one death to five.

What is in the box?

Cracking open the box, you will find 95 plastic chips in red, blue and black, 28 cards, the game board and the instructions. I don’t have much to say one way or the other about quality of components.

What do you do?

Shuffle the cards and set up the first red and yellow chips as described in the rules. You draw a card to determine how the infection spreads. Some cards will indicate that any open spaces oriented a certain direction from any red chip becomes red, or, infected. Some indicate that spaces of player’s choice that are not touching any other chip become infected.

Depending on how the infection spreads, the player has options of how to proceed. In the most common case (infection spreads) the player may either place three blue chips on any person (space) unoccupied by any chip. You have now vaccinated these people and they cannot become sick, meaning that an “infection spreads” card cannot infect that space. You may instead choose to cure and vaccinate one infected person, changing a red space into a blue.

The other instance (outbreak) only gives you the option to vaccinate one person that turn. Outbreak cards can be difficult to deal with both because infected people show up outside of the quarantine zone you are working on and because you only get to vaccinate one person that turn.

If at any time any infected person is surrounded on all four sides by infected people, that person dies, marked with a black chip. There are also yellow chips indicating vulnerable people (the infirm or elderly, for example) If these people are infected, they die immediately (no need to be surrounded) If you meet the death threshold determined by your chosen difficulty, the team has lost. If the players manage surround the infection completely with vaccinated people, giving the infection nowhere to spread, the team wins.


As I said at the beginning, the premise is pretty simple. Games will last around 15 to 20 minutes, and setup is minimal. This makes for a pretty decent filler. The players have to work together or all fail. You never know what way the infection is going to spread, and an inopportune outbreak card can occasionally ruin a good thing the team may have going. A certain amount of luck certainly plays into this as a result. However, a good team thinking a couple of steps ahead should be able to win more often than not. There isn’t any reason why the younger kids can’t play, even as young as six, but the older folks will have to let them know if they won. There isn’t anything here that really knocks my socks off, but I have spent $25.00 on worse.

The game’s homepage touts that they are using this game as a vehicle to show the importance of vaccination. I can get behind that. I does show, in a simplistic way, how vaccination can stop the spread of disease. To me though, it is primarily a light coop puzzle game. Nothing wrong with that at all.

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Went to Gen Con 2012
126 of 138 gamers found this helpful
“Fantastic game with an educational twist”

I found this game at GenCon 2011 thanks to the Cheese Weasel Conquest Games. I happily purchased the game after playing a life sized demo version of it. The game itself is extremely easy to learn, but takes a good while to truly master, giving it a tremendous amount of replay value, as well as making it a fantastic play for boardgamers of all ages and skill levels. A typical game will take 5-30 minutes in my experience, and can be played individually or with a group of people working cooperatively.

The goal of the game is very simple: contain a disease that is spreading among the populace. The playing surface is a giant grid of people. On each turn, players will draw a card that directs how the disease spreads (usually in a certain direction, with a few twists). The same card will allow the player to immunize or cure certain people. If a person becomes completely surrounded by diseased people, that person dies. Too many deaths, and the players lose, with the number of people allowed to die specified by the difficulty level. The game is won, however, if the players manage to completely surround the disease with immunized people, as then the disease can no longer spread among the populace.

For me, I really enjoy the educational side of the game. The game is a beautiful visual aid in teaching people of all ages the dangers of not vaccinating. I truly believe the creators of the game have found the ultimate way in which to relay that point in a simple, fun, and, most importantly, easy way to understand.

All in all, the game deserves at least a 9/10.

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4 Beta 1.0 Tester Beta 2.0 Tester
Amateur Advisor
122 of 173 gamers found this helpful
“The epitome of simple, abstract coop strategy.”

POX is a very easy to pick up game, and a challenge for hardcore and casual gamers alike. I’ve seen players 7 to 65 years old enjoy POX. It takes a few games for most people to start winning, and after that quite a few more to play on the highest difficulty. Game like this convince me that coop board games are no less viable than competitive ones, but POX does have the classic problem that experienced players take control when playing with inexperienced ones.

I’ve heard POX compared to Pandemic. In concept, POX is like a barebones, abstract Pandemic, but in gameplay they are completely different games.

In addition, the cylindrical packaging and playmat board are really novel for a board game.


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111 of 199 gamers found this helpful
“Challenging, entertaining, and educational”

I’ve played this game several times. While I might not be particularly good at POX, it’s always been really entertaining and a great game to play with friends. It’s also pretty easy to learn. As an added bonus, the mission of the game is promote immunization among players, which is a message from which everyone can benefit. All in all, two thumbs up!

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68 of 177 gamers found this helpful

Extremely fun!


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