This realistic board game inspires deep awe for emergency room doctors

This realistic board game inspires deep awe for emergency room doctors

Out of the way! A ranting man is wheeled into the hospital emergency room, strapped to a stretcher. He is bleeding profusely and is clearly drunk. In the new game Medical Mysteries it is up to the players (one to four) to ensure that patients survive the night. It is a serious game in which you gain realistic medical knowledge.

First we have to train. In the ‘New York Emergency Room’, nurse Judy shows the four test players how it works in a test round.

This is very necessary to become familiar with all the materials. There is an envelope full of information for each patient: a description of the intake interview, a card with the electronic patient file, with things such as blood pressure and known allergies. A stack of numbered game cards with stories, clues and results. And a booklet with codes.

In addition, there are five information sheets about all the tests you can do, the specialists you can consult, and the medications and treatments you can give. A complete medical study in one envelope.

In four blocks of two hours each, you have to stabilize the patient from midnight onwards. You can take three actions in each block. These can be questions that you ask the patient – via a code that you have to look up in the code book, you get the number of the card on which his answer is stated. In the same way you can do tests, consult an expert or administer a medicine – then you have to look up which medicine on the information sheet, taking into account, for example, allergies that are listed on the status card.

We have the first patient stable at 3.40 am. We are not allowed to continue after that but have to write the final report. After the epilogue we count the points. The patient survives the night. That was the goal, but it turns out we overlooked one thing. That sows confusion: have we done it right or not?

Act so quickly

The game inspires great awe for emergency room doctors – who have all that knowledge at hand, pay such close attention to details, and act so quickly! And you learn something else: 30 percent of people have not one but two spleens.

For some doctors in the team, one game is enough. The medical misery, the complicated terms – mitral valve stenosis! – and they don’t find looking up codes and cards very exciting or fun. And they lack an element of competition. It’s a shame that it’s done so quickly, more than half of the cards go back in the box unused.

But there are four patients, with increasing difficulty. Your medical reviewer continues playing solo. The second patient is also stable after 2.40 hours with a fluid infusion and antibiotics – it is not possible to investigate further. Once again many cards go into the box unused. Then comes the most difficult one: the drunken bleeding man. An emergency operation unleashes a successive series of cards, at 7.20 am he is finally stable.

Medical Mysteries is entertaining for those who enjoy investigating medicines and diseases – and for those who do not jump to conclusions.

Sympathetic: at the launch, Rotterdam developer Identity Games donated an amount of 15,000 euros to the Erasmus MC Sophia Children’s Hospital.