COVID LAND: The Classic Game of Sweet Survival
Stephanie Hayes | Can you travel the Peppermint Forest and make it to safety?
In 2020, it's Covid Land.
In 2020, it's Covid Land. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]
Published Jul. 14, 2020

Welcome to Covid Land, a confectionery maze of whimsy and temptation. This game is designed for two to four players, ages 3 through politician.

Objective: Using simple instructions and a little luck, be the first player to reach the King’s Kovid Kastle, where the positive infection rate is below 5 percent. But take heed. Contradictions (and calories!) are lurking around every corner.

Start on the red square. Draw a card and move your game piece to that color.

You’ve chosen blue. Head up a creek without a paddle to Nana Nutt’s House. She has yummy peanuts for you and a pamphlet about controlling the spread of the novel coronavirus from the Covid Land Department of Health. Avoid the Three C’s, she says: closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. Seems simple enough.

Journey on to the Peppermint Forest, where a guy with a fancy haircut holds a ridiculously large starlight mint. He’s the Candy Chancellor, and he controls the schools.

Halls of learning must open, he says. What about the Three C’s, you ask? You unfurl a scroll of 64 more questions. Hearing nothing, you draw a peanut card and head back four spaces as he licks his mint.

Beware. Cases recently topped 15,000 in one day, and you are heading toward the menacing Licorice Lagoon, ruled by the Dastardly Denier and his pencil-thin mustache. Anise flavoring and misinformation are the law of the land.

You encounter droves of gingerbread people eating gum drops at The Chocolate Bar, laughing and breathing in nutmeg particles. It is allowed, because the bar derives more than 50 percent of revenue from chocolate, not gumdrops. The Gumdrop Bar across the Rock Candy River is closed.

Get out of there, fast. Draw a soft serve card and skip ahead to Lollipop Palace, where the Pudding Pie Pixie awaits. If you look at it, she tells you, the numbers aren’t bad at all. Covid Land is doing everything right. She takes you deep into a morass of Spinning Suckers, spinning, spinning, spinning…

Quick! Draw a card! A green square puts you closer to Kovid Kastle. But not before a stop at the Frosted Palace, where a beautiful princess lovingly places tiny masks on jelly beans. “There are zero cases in New Zealand,” she says with a far-off look.

You beat your opponent to the Kastle, where the jolly King greets you with an elbow tap. He welcomes you into the Gumball Bubble, where you will have to quarantine for 14 days before starting this game all over again.

Related: Read more columns from Stephanie Hayes

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