Submitted Article

Local sculptor, Fran Usher, decided that her homegrown “Game of Immunity” must be thoroughly shared with the Islanders around her. The idea of the Library was suggested. Fran then offered a hand-made prototype of her community game to the Gabriola Library to be loaned out (or played on site). The Library was very willing to make this happen.

Inspired by the difficult isolation of these last years, with her children spread across the country, Fran developed a classic race-for-home kind of game based on the principles of the pandemic. Her children each had their own game, and the entire family played on televiewer conference calls.

The game of Immunity relies on the use of co-operation, resistance, resilience and isolation while making use of the terminology we have all come to understand.  This feel good game is full of irony and humour and the parallels to real life are startling.

The game can be played by 4 or 6 players called hosts who work together in bubbles of two.  Each host is given 5 viruses which move several days at a time based on the prescription cards they are dealt. The object of the game is to move your 5 viruses from quarantine around the day track to the safety of Immunity (home field). If a host’s virus lands on another host’s virus, it incurs a setback and has to return to quarantine. As in the real pandemic, you can help your bubble partner out through careful co ordination of moves.

The first bubble to have all of their 10 viruses in their respective Immunity fields, wins the game. A game can be completed in about 90 minutes.

The game of Immunity was first introduced to Gabriolans as the centre piece in Fran’s Interactive Art Installation: The Game of Immunity at the Arts and Heritage Centre in February of this year. It was popularly received and Fran was asked to host a games day one month later. Many have asked for a copy of the game, and so she is presently working on an inexpensive way of reproducing the game. But for now, the prototype is for the public to enjoy in the form of a Library sign out.

Game of Immunity creator Fran Usher with Kendra Runnalls, Customer Service Librarian at the Gabriola Library, where the game will be available to sign out.
Sarah Holmes photo

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