Panther Creek Student Designs COVID Board Game

Time spent in isolation last summer gave one Cary high school student an idea for how to channel the boredom of the pandemic into a fun strategic board game.

Casey Blackert, a senior at Panther Creek High School, created “COVID 19: A Race to the Vaccine” in August as a game to keep her family entertained at home. The game quickly became a family favorite, and she realized it might bring others positivity during a difficult time, too.

Casey Blackert, a senior at Panther Creek High School, created “COVID 19: A Race to the Vaccine” to entertain her family. Now she is selling the game online.

“There’s a lot of negativity in the world with COVID, but the positive aspect is that we can bring our families together. You’re getting closer with them, because you’re quarantined inside,” Blackert said. “You should enjoy the aspect of being with your family, so I thought that a COVID game would be the perfect way to get families to be together and have a souvenir for after it goes away.”

With the help of a company called The Game Crafter, Blackert recently started publishing the board game, which can be purchased and added to your own game collection for $29.99 on her website,

As the name suggests, the goal of the game is to be the first player to maneuver around the board and successfully vaccinate all of your pawns. Blackert designed it to mirror the real world, with obstacles like catching the virus or infecting others standing in the way of the ultimate goal.

“I wanted to make it have some sort of strategy aspect, but I also wanted it to be some sort of way to educate people,” Blackert said. “That’s why I brought in the idea of having the race to the vaccine, so everyone’s family wants to get vaccinated first. It follows the whole way that COVID is happening right now, so if you catch COVID, and you’re near someone, then they can catch COVID, too, and then you’d have to go home and quarantine.”

No one can die in the game, which is designed for players of all ages, Blackert says. The game is her first to be published, but the 17-year-old has been interested in designing board games since she was a small child.

Until recently, Blackert said she kept her board games hidden outside of her family. It was her family who urged her to make her interest public by publishing the game for others to enjoy.

“I thought it was kind of weird,” Blackert said. “But when I did this with my family, they were so impressed and they thought that it was something that really could bring light to a time like this.”

To date, Blackert has sold almost 70 copies of the COVID board game. She is also selling “Mr. Dapples Needs Apples” on her website, a game she designed when she was 8.

Blackert was recently accepted to N.C. State and plans to study graphic design in hopes of one day landing a job at a board game company like Hasbro or Mattel.

“I could actually use my board game as part of my portfolio,” Blackert said. “Hopefully, that could work out one day and I could land a job. That would be awesome.”

1 Comment

  • Jen Sullivan says:

    So impressive and what a way to bring some joy and family togetherness during a tough time. Can’t wait to see what Casey does in the future. Thanks for sharing the article about her and her creativity.

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