Micro-Combat: de la idea al juego

Micro-Combat: From the Idea to the Game

04.9.2019
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I never imagined that participating in the development of a game of cards would turn out to be so rewarding or take such a place in my career. I am referring to Micro-Combat®, a game of cards conceived and developed by ISGlobal’s Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative with the aim of teaching the young (and not so young!) how microorganisms are transmitted, prevented and treated. And what is better than learning by playing, right?

Micro-Combat® is a game of cards conceived and developed by ISGlobal’s Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative with the aim of teaching the young (and not so young!) how microorganisms are transmitted, prevented and treated

My role in this adventure started when the project was already underway. The idea of helping develop an attractive educational tool was quite challenging. In addition, it was my first exposure to the world of education and board games – quite far from the focus of my work, which was basic research.

Thus, I joined the project with much enthusiasm and some apprehension in 2017, about one year after the idea first came up. It was the moment of validating the design of the cards, from the characters to the pathogens, treatments, etc. Obtaining proposals that were “scientifically acceptable” while creative enough to entice future players was a positive but complex task, as evidenced by the long email chains between the designer (Albert Torrents) and our team.

Once this stage was completed, we were lucky to receive financial support from the European Health Forum Gastein together with the European Centre for Disease Control, with which we produced a first edition of the game to test with students and professors from seven schools in different European countries. Analysis of the participant’s feedback revealed that the game was actually very good. In some schools, students played with it during recess!

Analysis of the participant’s feedback revealed that the game was actually very good. In some schools, students played with it during recess!

This gave us the motivation to add another twist to the game, with the collaboration of the ‘Laboratori de Jocs’ Association, and convert it into its current version: a collaborative game with more educational content than the original version.  

In November 2018, we presented the 2.0 version of Micro-Combat at the well-known DAU festival in Barcelona, and organised a session with trainers and teachers. The game was a success. Since then, we have used it in multiple occasions to foster knowledge of microbiology and transmit key messages on the proper and responsible use of antibiotics or the importance of vaccination, among others.

But the story does not end here. The cherry on the cake arrived on July of this year, when we received the fantastic news that our ‘prodigal son’ had received the prize for the “Best Initiative for Communication and Raising Awareness about Antibiotic Resistance”, awarded by the National Antibiotic Resistance Plan of the Spanish Agency of Medicines. 

We have used the game in multiple occasions to foster knowledge of microbiology and transmit key messages on the proper and responsible use of antibiotics or the importance of vaccination, among others

Today, Micro-Combat® has come of age and is starting its own journey: it is now commercially available through El Troquel, and will be able to reach households, schools, civic centres, playgrounds, and more, to start new adventures and help build a society that is informed, educated and aware of microorganisms, the threat of antibiotic misuse, and the importance of preventing infectious diseases.

Thanks to the Micro-Combat team for making it possible!

More information

You can buy here the Micro-Combat® game