Veer V Kashyap was on holiday in Bengaluru with his paternal grandparents, when the lockdown struck. Bored with looking for something to do, besides playing all the regular board games and a guitar, he tried to engage with his father, who, annoyed, asked him to figure out his own game. A few days later Veer showed him the results of an idea that had come to him: a game that reflected the time of quarantine, hand sanitiser use, social distancing, maks wearing, and more. “On the TV, everyone was speaking about the Coronavirus,” says the 10-year-old, who studies in Army Public School, Delhi.
His father, Commander Vinayaka, pleasantly surprised at his son’s creation, helped Veer draw the game on cardboard, shaped in the way the magnified virus was often represented in the media. His 5-year-old sister, Sindhu, helped fill in the colours.
The board has 56 spaces and starts and ends with ‘Home’, the idea being that a person who leaves home, must follow all regulations, before coming back. On the way, if they sneeze, they must wash hands, literally, and miss a few turns. They may even land on a space that asks the player to perform a yoga pose, to boost immunity. “He had five or six rules, and we helped him develop them,” says the father. As time passed and new regulations and guidelines came into play, they were added in. “COVID warriors came later, so we put that into the game, where you have to clap your hands when you land on that square,” says Veer.
The rudimentary game was tested at home, with the whole family, including the grandparents, participating. They then reached out to Venkata Reddy, founder-CEO of Teck Team Solutions, a company that works in the robotics and embedded systems space, developing prototypes and products from children’s ideas. Venkata had been a student of Veer’s mother, Sangeetha HC in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, were she had taught the engineering course.
“Two months ago, she shared the YouTube video and brief on the game. I thought it was a nice idea, to educate children about COVID-19, and I suggested to ma’am that we design and develop it,” says Venkata, whose company now handles the marketing, manufacturing and distribution of the board game.
Besides the board, dice, and coins, the rule book also has a list of symptoms, precautions, and COVID-19 warriors (doctors, police, vegetable vendors and other essential supplies). “The idea is that many years from now, people will look back to know our reality today,” says Commander Vinayaka, adding that as someone from the Indian Navy, the world of game development was new. The game has a copyright for the design and rules, with the name trademarked.
Venkata and his team have also developed the app, but are waiting for Government clearances on that.
Corona Yuga, available on Amazon.in; ₹300, suitable for ages 5+; more information at Coronayuga.com