“Pox: Save the People” is a board game developed by Dartmouth College to educate people about the importance of immunization. The sleek design and clever concept set “Pox” apart from other (groan) “educational games.” The object is to work with fellow players to stop the spread of a deadly disease. Each chip on the board represents a person in a community: Red chips are infected, blue chips are vaccinated and black chips are dead. Dartmouth digital humanities professor Mary Flanagan created Tiltfactor, a design laboratory that develops games to “investigate ideas and issues.” Tiltfactor’s other games include “Layoff,” about the bank bailouts of 2009, and “In the Village,” about malaria prevention.
As a doctor for homeless kids in Phoenix, Randy Christensen has seen some upsetting things, so his memoir is a tough but inspiring read. In 2000, Christensen transformed an old Winnebago into a traveling hospital called the Crews’n Healthmobile (street name: “Big Blue”). He treated 7,000 children in his first decade as medical director of the Healthmobile. There’s Mary, a 17-year-old who had been sexually abused; Matthew, who had a foot infection, bronchitis and self-inflicted cuts on his arms; and the dozens of children affected by Hurricane Katrina whom Christensen saw when he drove Big Blue to Louisiana. “If I had learned anything on the van, it was to listen to kids,” he writes.