Wiesbaden (Germany): At a loose end during Germany's first lockdown, four sisters decided to put their long hours indoors to good use, and invented a pandemic-themed board game that is selling by the thousands.
"Corona" can be played by up to four players, who compete to buy all the groceries on a shopping list for an elderly neighbour who is shielding against the virus.
The players collect and swap game cards, and the winner is whoever delivers all the items first. Hurdles along the way include encountering the virus, which sends you into quarantine, or finding that hoarders have already snapped up all the pasta or toilet paper.
"The basic principle is one of solidarity," 20-year-old Sarah Schwaderlapp told Reuters TV from the family home in Wiesbaden. "Each of the players can decide to cooperate with the others or make thing harder for them by blocking their path with viruses."
Despite, or probably because of, the covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has been an impressive year for board games as families around the world spent more time indoors. 'Pandemic', a popular co-op, role-playing board game first released 12 years ago, saw a surge in demand earlier this year. US toy and boardgame maker Hasbro reported an increase in demand for its board games 'Jenga', 'Twister' and 'Scrabble'. In October, a new cooperative game, 'Darkest Dungeon: The Board Game' raised more than $1 million on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter in just 24 hours.
The sisters worked on the game most evenings during the spring lockdown, gradually incorporating more elements as they heard news broadcasts about the pandemic. "That was the case with hoarding. We saw [news] about the balcony concerts in Italy and turned that into a playing card too," added Sarah's sister Rebecca.
Impressed with his daughters' efforts, Benedikt Schwaderlapp decided to commercialise the game by hiring an artist to design cards, board and box. So far he's sold 2,000 copies, and signed up a toy store as a secondary distributor, for his daughters.
"Because the game has been so popular it's been quite a challenge for our family-based operation, packing and posting 500 games within a very short period," he said. "Demand has been massive from across Germany."