Game Time #2

To rise up to the challenge of not curling into a Vapo-Rub-coated fetal position for the rest of the pandemic, I’ve given myself the assignment of playing and laughing every day for the month of December.

* * *

Today, my husband and I played a COVID-19 card game. Here’s a review of the game we made up in case you would also like to play your way through the rest of the pandemic.

Game Time #2

PANDEMIC DAY: 9,000,532 (give or take)

GAME:  COVID-19 card game (similar to 21 and Blackjack)

PLAYERS: 2 to Many Strangers from Other Households. For the larger, Trumpian multi-household version, add more decks of cards (using  cards from your grandparents’ house with sticky stuff on them is acceptable for this larger game since COVID-19 is a hoax in this version and you don’t have to worry about viruses sticking to the cards).


–52-card deck plus two Jokers with COVID-19

–COVID-19 game card for each player

–19 red poker chips—also known as droplets—for each player (even though coronavirus is actually too small to have any color, but hey, clearly a lot of Americans don’t believe in science, so let’s say COVID-19 is red)

–plastic gloves


–Corona or Coronita beer that you have to take a shot of each time you lose a round against the dealer

–Jose Cuervo margarita shots (optional, if you also want to celebrate the wall that never got built the past four years)

–Shot glasses (or needles) to administer your shots


–The practice of card counting is encouraged to help elevate the clearly lacking critical thinking ability of many Americans.

–Players take turns being the dealer for seven rounds. Since cards will be handled by all players, gloves are highly recommended.

–Each player tries to beat the dealer by getting as close to 19 points without going over 19.

–Aces are worth 1 or 11 points, as determined by the player; Jack, Queen, King are worth 10; other cards are worth their stated value. If you’re dealt a COVID-19 Joker, who, incidentally, failed to wear a face mask where you go in public, you’re dead and eliminated from that round of play. Since there are plenty of evangelicals currently praying for America (and praying that scientific facts aren’t real), you will be miraculously resurrected for the next round of play.

–The dealer shuffles the cards and chooses a player with gloves on to cut the deck.

–Before dealing, all players place one poker chip droplet in front of them.

–In counter-clockwise movement (because time is now meaningless), all players and the dealer are dealt one card that is turned face up. The dealer then deals another card face up to each player, and one card dealt down to the dealer.

–Players will be competing against the dealer in each round of play. Players who lose against the dealer in each round must place the droplet on their COVID-19 playing card. Players who beat the dealer discard their droplet in the community spread pile in each round. The player who covers their COVID-19 card with nineteen droplets has reached their maximum viral load and is dead and out of the game. If a player succeeds at getting rid of all their droplets during the game before their COVID card is full, they are immune to COVID-19 and no longer have to bet with droplets but can continue playing to rub it in to the other players that they can live as if life is normal. If a player encounters a COVID Joker, one droplet gets added to their COVID card before they die for the round. Players who go over 19 with their playing cards in a round acquire the entire community spread pile of droplets and must place them on their COVID card. If both the dealer and a player go over 19, both lose because life isn’t fair during a pandemic, and they split the droplets in the community spread. If multiple players go over 19 in a round, they must split the community spread and place the droplets on their COVID card.

–The dealer asks each player if they want to sit on the total of the cards they have been dealt or if they want another “hit,” which is another card. If a hit is desired, instead of tapping the table with two fingers as was done in pre-pandemic times, because surfaces might harbor coronavirus for an unknown amount of time, the player must cough into their elbow to indicate the desire for a hit.

–The dealer decides whether they want another card, then turns up their face-down card to reveal their total.

–The dealer wins if they have the closest to 19 without going over and players must put the droplet in front of them on their COVID-19 board. If a player beats the amount in the dealer’s hand without going over 19, they get to add their droplet chips to the community spread pile. The dealer loses if any player is closer to 19 without going over and must place a droplet on their COVID card.

–After the dealer does seven rounds (and you reminisce about how there were once seven days in a week during pre-pandemic times), shuffle and cut cards again and have the next dealer deal cards for seven rounds.

–Game play continues until all players have either died from a full viral load or become immune by discarding all their droplets.

RESULTS:      Julie – survived; Julie’s Husband – died from a maximum viral load

COMMENTS: My husband and I played the alcoholic version of COVID-19 with Coronarita and Jose Cuervo margarita shots. The amount of laughter increased as shots were administered. Shuffling and dealing cards while wearing plastic gloves was slippery business, but better safe than sorry is what I always say (I have literally always said that daily since the pandemic began). I suggest playing the non-alcoholic version if you’re playing with children under five or if your goal is to sharpen critical thinking skills. Basic math became hard after several Coronarita shots.



© 2020 by Julie A. Ryan. All rights reserved.
No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Julie A. Ryan.

Comments are closed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑