The New Zealand COVID-19 related lockdown has continued on with daily case counts continuing to rise until just yesterday, with 83 new cases bringing the total then to 511. This was starting to be a bit of a concern. With almost two weeks of a rather strict lockdown behind us, the case count should’ve started to see a rather dramatic decline.

On the strictness — it probably is worth spending a moment on that, as to my knowledge this isn’t the case elsewhere. It certainly wasn’t the case in Sydney. A ‘Level 4’ lockdown in NZ essentially puts everyone into home isolation. There is no fast food, not even contactless deliveries. You can go out around your home for exercise in the local neighbourhood or to purchase groceries from the supermarket and that is about it, other than visiting medical professionals if absolutely required.

There’s little question (normally) that it’s effective, but it’s also incredibly difficult. I’m quite an introvert, but this is something else again. For those in difficult home situations or who simply charge their batteries by being around a range of people… Well, their mental health can struggle.

I’ve heard from numerous colleagues and team members that for whatever reason, this lockdown was really hitting them hard. Far harder than any of the previous ones.

So it’s good then, that today, finally we saw the reduction of new daily cases we’d been holding our breath for. There were 55 new cases (566 total in the community). Still too many to let us go free though of course, with New Zealand electing to take on an elimination strategy.

Today’s decision from Government probably came as no surprise then, that there would be a further two weeks of Level 4 lockdown for Auckland. Not a surprise, but no easier to handle even so.

Enter Quiplash! It’s one of the Jackbox Party games and it comes in various flavours these days. I picked it up standalone on Steam and it became officially the first Steam game I’ve played with a work colleague whom I didn’t also know outside of a work context. I shared screen of the game itself over Teams — our company’s virtual meeting platform of choice — and the game lets everyone join from any internet connected device with a browser.

It’s a quick and fun game to play — you can get up to 8 main players in a single round, but can optionally also enable an audience if you have more people than that. Audience can vote their favourites and affect the game that way.

Favourite what? Well- it’s sort of a Cards Against Humanity style game. You get the prompt half at least, but then filling in the blanks is done by you typing in what you like, rather than having to select another card. Every player is provided with two prompts per round to provide answers to. Not every player will receive the same prompts, but one other player will — and then your answers are put head to head in a voting round. Right up until the last round where everyone goes up against everyone else with the same prompt. :)

Depending on who you’re playing with — the answers can very quickly go off the rails! And that’s even with the optional family friendly mode turned on to disable some of the more risque questions in the first place.

Some example prompts I remember from today’s session:

  • What doesn’t feel good to have in your mouth for an hour?
  • In two words, create a new state slogan for Texas.
  • What business or service most definitely should not include a drive-through option?

Although, you know what? It wasn’t really about the questions- or the game. It was more about the fun, doing something a little unexpected. Taking the normal focus off of product roadmaps, enhancing ways of working, development plans and the other general business that occupies our team meetings and inserting instead a bit of a release valve.

Sure, we had a bit of a chat about the COVID situation. Hard not to, given today was decision day and all. We acknowledged how the weekend just been seemed to have been glomped in with just any other day. How plans for the near- to mid-term future were still in jeopardy. Particularly any that involved travel outside of Auckland to visit family and the like.

So anything that can cut through all this and insert a few laughs, as teammates pushed the boundaries of good taste, learning what type of humour would garner the most votes from the audience, is well worth it.


This was posted during Blaugust 2021, the annual blogging event hosted by Belghast. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year-round!