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The Big Lockdown

A lot of people have been playing board and card games in Covid coronavirus lockdown but a few inventive folk have been using the time to design games of their own. In The Big Lockdown, David Cooper and Madeleine Frank have devised a card game that offers some light-hearted mimicry of the lockdown merry-go-round which has seen panic buying of pasta and massive stockpiling of toilet rolls.

Published by Porthos Games, The Big Lockdown is an easy-to-play 2-4 player game that uses three decks of cards. One deck represents supplies: food, toilet paper and sanitising gel. There are also separate Indoors and Outdoors decks. Players all start off Indoors in relatively safe social isolation. While Indoors, you draw cards from the Indoors deck, but you're more likely to deplete rather than add to your supplies when drawing from that deck. If you run out of supplies you'll have to go Outdoors. That means drawing from the Outdoors deck. On the plus side, this deck is more likely to give you ways of adding to your supplies, including by stealing from other players, but there's also higher risk of you getting infected... Players willing to push their luck can voluntarily ignore lockdown and choose to go Outdoors on their next turn in hope of boosting their supplies.

Players take three actions every turn drawing and/or playing cards. Most cards you can stockpile - having the most valuable stockpile is how you win the game - but when you draw an Impact card you have to immediately follow its effect. Among the Impact cards are those that expose you to infection. If you draw one of those, you can discard an infection protection card to shield you from its effect but if you don't have one then your fate is determined by the turn of the next card, where you'll have a roughly 50:50 chance (slightly higher Outdoors) of succumbing to the disease and being eliminated from the game.

Tho' player elimination can be a big negative factor in a game, it's not a problem if the game is as short and snappy as The Big Lockdown. Almost all of our Board's Eye View plays took no more than 10-15 minutes - making this a timely filler-length game.

As we write, the rollout of Covid vaccines is on the immediate horizon. Hopefully, the Covid nightmare will soon be over. That doesn't tho' mean curtains for this game. You don't need to actually be in lockdown to play The Big Lockdown and, who knows, those who click here to back this game on Kickstarter may treat it as a suitable momento mori of the 2020 experience.

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