It was at the height of the pandemic when a family from Wiesbaden invented a Corona board game of all things. With a stand at SPIEL'21, the Schwaderlapp family has now brought the work to the games capital. Not the only success, as they say: In the meantime, “Corona – Going into business with zeal” has sold thousands of copies. Even more: It is a success that caused a sensation worldwide. 

The board game Corona - Going into business with zeal arose from an obsession. It was a family project that could have failed at any time. The swather laps wouldn't have cared, they say. As a family, at least one would have achieved everything through the development process: had fun, created solidarity, survived the lockdown. In any case, the Corona board game is back - actually it was never gone. On the contrary. The idea made its way around the globe - from Wiesbaden to New York and Jerusalem to Essen - to the world's largest trade fair for parlor games.

Corona board game: from prototype to media phenomenon

When the corona virus was particularly rampant, the special time began for the Wiesbaden family. After all, you don't invent a board game overnight and it doesn't happen by itself. The four sisters Sarah, Stella, Lara and Rebecca spent many hours designing and testing games - at times two hours a day. Ideas were collected, cards were made, topics were thought out. The last ones come - the game's title is there - from the Corona cosmos: What was and is current can be found on the gaming table. The lockdown, for example, or the home office time. Many absurdities from everyday pandemic life are portrayed in a playful way. The goal of the game is also reflected in this: You have to do the shopping for a neighbor who cannot leave the house due to the quarantine. In the end, this is as easy or difficult on the board game table as it was in reality at the time of the hard lockdown: Don't hoard, is the motto of the board game. It's about solidarity. Who can buy what the neighbors really need wins.

A real board game was created from a first prototype in collaboration with an illustrator friend. In March 2020 the family had started their project together, around a year and a half later they had their own stand at the international game fair in Essen, and thus in a place where the target group meets like hardly any other. The hard work paid off in the end: The Schwaderlapps were able to sell around 10.000 copies of their board game, local trading partners were brought on board and online sales were boosted via their own website.

And the marketing? It was cleverly managed. A slogan: "If you can't hear Corona anymore, you just have to play it". There is hardly anyone who does not feel addressed by this. Families in particular asked about the board game, explained the Schwaderlapps at SPIEL'21. Psychologists would also sometimes use the work in their practices. And Corona has long since made it into the museum: The German Games Museum in Chemnitz is including the board game as a work of modern gaming history in its exhibition. The House of History in Bonn could also follow. Nationally, the Corona board game is a handmade success story. What else can top that? The leap into international business. The family explains that it is difficult because it is risky. However, there are interested parties from abroad: a Norwegian had recently asked. An English translation already exists – it was created on my own and more as a little sidekick for friends from the United States. They were promised a localized version. After all, promises have to be kept.

The board game has long since made the rounds in the media. In Germany and around the globe. Fox News and the New York Post in the US, the Jerusalem Post - many newspapers have written about it, TV stations and online channels have reported on it. The family passes on part of their success. Their last donation campaign for the benefit of the children in Uganda raised around 2.500 euros.

A success factor of the Corona board game could be its winking handling of the entire pandemic situation: The epidemic was and is serious, it can even break you. Approaching the topic with humor could be a way of processing. Joint, playful themed evenings with and around Corona are a grateful alternative to mere explanations, especially for families with children, that are difficult for the youngest to grasp anyway. Suddenly there are communal experiences despite contact restrictions, a confrontation with current topics of everyday life without getting bored. It is either cooperative or competitive at the gaming table: mom and dad against the children, that's a popular combination.

At SPIEL'21, the feedback on a Corona board game, of all things, was consistently positive, reveals the Schwaderlapp family. What if the pandemic continues to ease? Corona as a topic might even take a back seat at some point? Then you might have other ideas, maybe for a new game. Future music. Despite the success of the corona pandemic, the Wiesbadeners are sure of one thing: They do not want to experience another epidemic.

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