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I’m Sorry. It’s All My Fault. COVID-19, 2020, Everything

June 3, 2021

Okay, my fault shared with the late, great Robin Williams.

This is a board game called Pandemic. (Yeah, we used to do this stuff for fun!) Pandemic is fun because unlike most games, it’s a cooperative game. You either all win together, or you all lose together. You each take on a separate role: Researcher, Dispatcher, Medic, etc. Each role is important to the game. You have to work together to combat viruses and prevent outbreaks.

This particular version of the Pandemic game is a little different. It’s still cooperative, but it’s also designed to be played as a series of games. Each time you play the game represents a new month. You either win or lose each month and that changes the setting for the next month. The more you win, the harder it gets. When you lose, the game gives you a little extra help the following month.

My sons and I started playing the legacy version a couple of years ago. We did very well for the first few months. We won the game for January, February, March and April. But, in May we lost. And it was at that point we quit playing. We didn’t rage-quit. We all intend to continue playing. . .eventually. One son went on a mission. One son is in college in Logan, Utah, a few hours away.

We didn’t pause because we lost. At least I don’t think we did.

I’m reminded of the original Jumanji movie with Robin Williams. The game gets suspended and the problems continued until the game could be completed. My son suggested that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t have stopped the game in the middle of a pandemic.

As the world has made it’s way through the COVID-19 pandemic, one major difference between the game and real life has become evident.

During the game, each player works in concert with the other players. The group, as a whole decides on the best course of action and then executes it. The team acts rationally and cohesively. What we’ve seen in society’s response to the COVID pandemic, is that not everyone even agrees there is a pandemic. Responses have been at times coordinated and at other times disjointed and disorganized.

At times people have even worked against their own self-interest. They have refused to wear masks. They have deliberately exposed themselves to COVID positive situations. Game designers assumed that in a pandemic, everyone would work together to try to beat the virus.

Reality is not nearly as clean-cut as fantasy.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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