Cary student creates 'Race to the Vaccine' board game during pandemic

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Think back over the past 10 months as we all quietly cheered on scientists scrambling to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

A Cary teenager has captured that feeling in a board game in which participants race to be the first to get to the vaccine. It's called: COVID-19: A Race to the Vaccine.

Casey Blackert, a senior at Panther Creek High School, hopes that as we continue to isolate in our homes in the coming months, her game will both entertain and educate.

"Everyone has a family of four pawns," the 17-year old told said. "And their goal is to make it halfway around the board in either direction to get to the vaccine in the center of the board."

Casey has been designing board games since she was little when spent a lot of time in her room because of medical issue.

"She would be creative in a small space and she would make board games with paper clips and markers and construction paper, and we'd all play so that she would, you know have time with all of us," her mom, Nanci Blackert said.

But since then Casey has studied graphic arts in her years at Panther Creek.

So this time around, she approached board game design like a pro.

"This is the first time that I'm actually publishing a game and selling a game," Casey said. "And I've done it through graphic design on my computer."

Casey is well aware that the pandemic has left a trail of death in its wake and she was careful not to trivialize that.

"I definitely know that there's, you know, all sorts of hurt and sadness in the world right now," she said.

So she wanted to bring families together for fellowship around the most positive aspect of the pandemic -- the quest for a vaccine.

"No one dies in the game. It's just like, you have to go quarantine once you get COVID," Casey said, pointing out that the game even educates by highlighting the dangers of getting the virus.

"If you cross paths with someone that has COVID then you can catch it. And so that's why you go home and quarantine afterwards to promote safety," Casey said.

Casey has also designed another game she sells on her website with the word 'quaranteen' spelled to denote her age.

The games are somewhat expensive, because they're being manufactured in small quantities.

So she's not making a profit.

Instead she's investing in her future with exposure.

"I would love to pursue this as a career one day you know maybe work for Mattel or Hasbro," Casey said.

In the meantime she plans to keep designing games for family fun beyond the pandemic.
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