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Citizen Outbreak, a new trivia card game, captures the frustrations, curiosities and shared human experiences of the COVID-19 years — everything from the divisive pronouncements of Dr. Anthony Fauci to the madness of murder hornets.
The card game is the brainchild of two boyhood friends, now in their 40s.
They reconnected during the dark months of pandemic shutdowns in group chats, Zoom calls and text threads with their lives otherwise put on hold.
“We were just all living through this together virtually, realizing we were going through some crazy times, not just us but people around the world,” said Matthew Toboroff, 41, a New York City entrepreneur who created the game with buddy Rudy Gofman, 45, a N.J. real estate investor.
Added Toboroff, “I stepped back at one point and thought, ‘How is anybody going to remember all this stuff?’ Each moment was crazier than the next. ‘This is a game,’ I said to everyone.”
Citizen Outbreak quickly grew out of these conversations. The co-creators are currently taking orders for the game through the Citizen Outbreak homepage.
Trivia questions come in two categories: “Follow the Science” and “All Things Viral.”
The “Follow the Science” queries tackle the issues of biology and medical research that consumed the public for about two years.
“We were all suddenly experts in everything,” Toboroff said.
One of the “Follow the Science” questions reads, “According to studies, about 40% of COVID-19 patients reported losing which of their human senses?” It then lists four multiple-choice options.
“We were all suddenly experts in everything.”
“All Things Viral” cards are devoted to the constant stream of news trends and often hysteria that flashed across our TV screens during the pandemic — the hottest topics in the world one minute all but forgotten the next.
The question rekindle memories of everything from murder hornets to the gaudy “tax the rich” dress worn by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to the 2021 Met Gala.
“It continues to blow my mind how literally we just moved so fast from one crisis to the next,” said Toboroff.
“COVID was something that really did captivate us, even imprisoned some people. The entire world was in the same situation.”
Toboroff and Gofman cite their rekindled friendship and new game as positive developments to come out of the pandemic.
Players who pull a “Lockdown” card lose two turns; those who get a “Booster” card add two turns.
Toboroff and Gofman hope the game acts as a “good messenger” that transcends the divisiveness of the times.
“People dug in on everything,” said Toboroff.
“It was hard to have a conversation. We hope you put this game in the middle of the table and find that it’s provocative, stimulating and maybe even makes you laugh.”
Toboroff and Gofman cite their rekindled friendship and new game as positive developments to come out of the dark days of the pandemic.
The business partners were friends as teenagers, then grew apart as their careers and families took them on their own paths.
They reconnected just before COVID, but their relationship was cemented anew by long conversations at night in various social channels.
“We got super close again during the pandemic,” said Gofman. He even enlisted his daughter, Arianna, 14, to create the game’s breezy, colorful artwork.
“This box is our time capsule,” Toboroff said in a video promo for Citizen Outbreak, pointing to the box containing the game.
“You may have even forgotten some of the crazy stuff that happened the past few years,” he said. “It’s all in here.”