The Making of Immunity
Leonel has been fascinated with how the immune system protects us from disease since he was a child and watched "Once Upon a Time... Life". He would often recreate battles between phagocytes and bacteria with his toys, and when his younger brother discovered the series, they made new make-believe games about immunology.
Eventually, in 2017, Leonel found Kurtzgesagt's videos about the immune system.
Wishing that everyone could experience his fascination for immunology and have fun while learning about it, he decided to make a board game out of it. This is how.
Leonel starts from Kurzgesagt's videos, which simplify the immune system complexity by using colours to represent cell functions.
He begins doing rough sketches of card layouts and basic game mechanics.
Also trying to relate their model to real science.
Leonel didn't just want to create a game about immunology.
He wanted to turn immunology into a game.
During this year he methodically studied different aspects of immunology and turned them into core game mechanics.
He revisits the cell-cell interaction maps, trying to fully understand Kurzgesagt's scheme.
As Leonel played with his younger siblings he quickly made up new rules to replace those that didn't work.
The goal of the game changes: bacteria win by causing damage.
Most current game mechanics are born now.
Now that most actions done by bacteria and the immune system during a real infection can be done in the game, it is time to ensure that doing them is fun and challenging. Leonel also started considering the potential of the game for expansions with other "bad guys".
Complement and antibodies reworked to make them simpler. Playtesting with his siblings starts to highlight imbalances on team strength, and several tweaks on interactions and rules are introduced to solve this, quite succesfully.
Leonel is starts his 2nd year of university.
Conveying Mechanics Through Design
During the next major stage of game development, no new core mechanics were added. Instead, Leonel focused on adding the last bits of science he wanted to include and ensured that information about possible actions, their consequences and the state of the cards could be derived from visual clues.
Lymph node design improved to include more advanced science.
Now there are two types of antibodies (G and M), and immune memory, which previously was game-breaking is finally fixed.
Leonel will soon start playtesting with professors to finish making the mechanics scientifically accurate, while also playtesting with board game players to ensure the game is fun and balanced.
Further steps include finding a graphic designer to make quality designs, producing full boxes that can be sent to other playtesters and game reviewers for extra feedback and promotion, starting online marketing with the help of his youtube channel and my contacts on the fields of scientific outreach, board game design and education, and launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to finally produce the game, possibly in collaboration with established educational boardgame maker John Coveyou.