The game PATHOGENESIS is an excellent deck building game for teaching human-pathogen interactions. Kickstarter project funding ends IN LESS THAN 24 HRS! Get yours now.

Games are such a fun, active-learning way to teach science and science concepts! The game PATHOGENESIS is an incredible new addition to any game closet from community center and classroom to home.  It’s strategic and interesting while being scientifically accurate. I’m so in awe of how much thought and care clearly went into the concept, development, and design of the game PATHOGENESIS to create something fun, but educational. It’s obvious that one of the co-designers teaches immunology at a community college.

PATHOGENESIS teaches how our three tiered immune system works to defeat bacterial pathogens. You are the pathogens trying to invade the human body and defeat one of three different body areas: respiratory, gut, or tissue. You build a hand of pathogens with different abilities and attack the body site(s) each turn. As you attack, you gain damage tokens with the winner being the person who collects the most damage tokens when a body site(s) is defeated.

There’s much to love about PATHOGENESIS. Here’s my top 3.

1) GOOD, solid science of human immunology and bacterial interactions – even the role of the beneficial microbiome in relation to human health. I loved that you first have to break through the barrier cards before getting into the immune system methods that the body uses to defend itself. The two stage immune system mechanisms are also awesome. One time, I had built up my pathogen thinking it would survive the body’s initial immune system defense, but was not ready for the “big guns” the body brought out with the 2nd stage immune system. All my pathogens were killed.

2) MANY ways to play the game. You can do an individual game or multi-player. The multi-player can be competitive or collaborative. BRILLIANT move on the designers part. This makes the game so much more flexible for classrooms as well as household play.

3) Excellent pathogenic mechanisms to strengthen your pathogen. Siderophores, Type Three and Four Secretion Systems, and more – oh my! What a fabulous way to teach about the armament of pathogens!

The only downside to the game is the instructions. It took both me and my husband several reads through the instruction packet to start game play. The videos on the Kickstarter site were helpful, but what was most helpful was a review by Board Game Brawl. After watching that and then going back to the start-up videos, we figured out how to play. Once we got started we LOVED it! The science was great and the strategy needed for playing was exciting.

PATHOGENESIS has exceeded all of its Kickstarter goals and for good reason – this is an incredible game and amazing way to learn about immunology and bacterial pathogenesis. I could EASILY see this game being an amazing way to flip a classroom. After introductory lectures or assigned reading outside of class on the basics of the immune system, class time could be spent GAMING! While that may sound odd, what is fabulous is that playing this game pulls many facts together into a way that helps someone understand the complexities of the immune system. I look forward to hearing how different people use this game in their classrooms! To get your individual copy – or even institutional bundles of the game – go to Kickstarter NOW! Pledges close 10/28 at 10:59 am. I certainly bought my copy!!


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Disclaimer: The developers of the game let me borrow a prototype of the game. I’m not receiving any compensation for this review and purchased a copy of the game for my family.
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