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Subject: Does this idea have potential? (Drugs and Bugs) rss

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Patrick Woodburn
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I have a very rough idea for a board game which would double as revision for medical, nursing, and pharmacy students. (Please don't run away!)

It would involve being in charge of a small medical facility for treating communicable diseases somewhere with very limited supplies, staff etc (drawing cards for drugs, staff, and so forth from a deck). You gain VPs by treating patients (worth different VPs based on the challenge), or by helping other doctors treat theirs. Each doctor is dealt two cards face up each turn, one for a patient, the other for a bug which that patient has, e.g.:

Patient: Bob
Description: Bob is a regular guy.
Health: 3
VPs: 1

Condition: Syphilis
Transmission: STD
Treatment: Penicillin
Timer: 5
Out of time condition: The patient's health score drops by 1 and they leave if you cannot treat them within five turns.
VP bonus: 1

(Patients who leave count as "dissatisfied"; patients whose health drops to 0 are "dead").

(You might need a large dice pool to represent the timer effect).

Players take turns, and if they can't treat patients themselves, they can negotiate with other players to help them. After two doctors collaborate via "consultation" in this way, the player who helped may claim the bug and/or patient card for VPs depending on the negotiation. Players can also sabotage other players with a variety of "bad stuff" cards (from a visitor to another facility puking everywhere and giving staff and patients there norovirus, to funding cuts, to "hypersensitivity reaction", "drug resistance" and "patient refusal" cards which can scupper various treatments, to patients catching bugs off each other etc.)

At the end of the game, you add up your score (VPs for treated patients and bugs - VPs for dissatisfied patients - 2x VPs for dead patients) and whoever has the highest (or least negative) score wins.

An alternative ruleset for the same cards etc. could be a speed game, where patients are flipped up face up in turn and players have to play an appropriate treatment card from their (large) hand before any other player can.

What do you think? Too morbid? Too insensitive? Too lacking in novel mechanics? Too much of a rip-off of Munchkin visavis how the negotiation between players works? Or does it have something?
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I saw pale kings and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried—‘La Belle Dame sans Merci Hath thee in thrall!’
The title makes it sound more like coming off heroin.

As for the idea it's self, I tend to be wary of anything that makes the game feel *too* much like 'work'. For me, this topic is even harder (public health emergency management) but even without that background, it might feel too much like the tasks are rote and work-like without enough escapism, YMMV.
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