My Immune System

by Michael Le Bien

Michael is interested in non-virtual reality, mega-flow experiences, drumming, martial arts, and ambient music composition.

Instructional Objective To teach children with immune system disorders about the parts of their immune system, and the treatments to expect from the doctor. This will help them understand their disease and feel more comfortable being around doctors, taking intravenous drugs and antibiotics.


Time Requirement The first person to reach 100 points and a board free of infections wins. This would take approximately 1/2 - 1 hour.


Learner Description The game is for children between 6 and 15, with immune system problems affecting their B-cells and T-cells. The board contains the areas most commonly affected by infections in people with auto immune diseases.


Rules The game is to be played by two people (the child and a parent.) At the beginning of the game, both players receive immune system cards. These consist of IgG, IgA, IgM, phagocytes, B-cells, killer T-cells, helper T-cells, and suppressor T-cells. They receive two of each.

To start the game, the first player chooses a Problem card and reads it to the second player. The card will indicate where a germ, virus or bacteria will be placed on their board. The second player must determine what the immune system will do, to receive 10 points. If they are correct, then they can put the correct immune piece on the part of the body that the card is addressing. For example, if the Problem card says that a germ has invaded the sinuses, player two puts a germ piece in the sinus area on their board. To receive 10 points, player two must then answer the problem by putting a phagocyte piece (in this example) next to the germ. This does not get rid of the germ.

At this point, player two gets to choose a Help card. If the Help card takes care of a problem already on the board for that player (the sinus), then they can play that Help card. When the Help card is played, the invading germ and the immune piece in the corresponding area, are removed and the Help card is placed on the bottom of the deck. The player cannot reclaim the immune piece. However, they can buy immune pieces for 10 points per piece. If the Help card cannot be played, the infection on the board stays where it is. The Help card is put on the bottom of the deck and player one takes a turn. If the problem card is not answered correctly, that player does not get to choose a Help card and the next player takes their turn.

There are only a few different immune system responses to the Problem questions. Once these are learned, the child will easily get 10 points per problem. The game is intended to give the child a sense of control over the problems that happen on their board.

There are multiple Help cards for each problem, so that players do not have to wait until the end of the Help deck to find the one they need. Anxiety about their board is kept at a minimum so the child doesn't feel discouraged. However, a little anxiety is maintained by the fact that they may have several infections going on at once until they get a Help card that answers one of the problems they have.