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Charlestown residents create board game inspired by community

January 7, 2021

Judy Plymyer has always loved board games. She grew up playing classics like Clue, Monopoly, Life, and Candyland with her older brother. So, with more time on her hands during the height of the pandemic, Judy, a retired attorney who resides at Charlestown, a senior living community managed by Erickson Living in Catonsville, Md., decided to explore her creative side and set out to develop her own board game.

“My husband and I moved here from Anne Arundel County in June 2017,” says Judy. “Charlestown's campus and the history of the community is what attracted me. I'm a map person from having lived many, many places throughout my life. I just fell in love with the campus map that the sales office uses. When COVID-19 hit I decided it would be fun to make a game, so not only residents but families could figure out the campus better.”

Charlestown Chase is based on the Hasbro board game Clue. Up to eight players (Captain Crimson, Nana Navy, Lieutenant Lime, Professor Peach, Ms. Maple, Lady Lavender, Pastor Pink, and Colonel Coffee) travel throughout Charlestown's campus past well-known landmarks, including Charlestown's nature trail, bocce courts, Lake Charles, the Treasure Sale (Charlestown's quarterly resale extravaganza), and Our Lady of the Angels Chapel, trying to deduce which three cards are inside the Secret envelope.

A player wins by correctly guessing all three cards: the resident, lost object, and location. “Instead of ‘Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe in the library,' we have ‘Professor Pete, who left his wallet at the Treasure Sale,'” says Judy. “The other fun thing is there are stumbling blocks. If you land your pawn on an ‘Oops' block, you have to pick up an ‘Oops' card. They say silly things like, ‘Security just called. Your cat is out on a ledge outside of your apartment. Return to your apartment immediately and have a chat with your feline about feline civil rights.' Or ‘somebody called and said there's the exact blouse you wanted over at the Treasure Sale. Get over there right away.'”

Teamwork makes the dream work

Judy explored various options when it came to selecting the game board. To stay within budget, she opted for a heavy card stock that was printed and then laminated. “Some game boards are canvas or heavy plastic, but they are pretty expensive and you have to go through a manufacturer. I didn't want to do that because I wanted to keep the price low. Printing it on the card stock also allowed me to cut the board into two halves. You just clip the two halves together and when you aren't playing you can take it apart and it fits nicely on a bookshelf.”

Judy drew the artwork for the cards and game board. She enlisted the help of her Charlestown neighbors to help with other odds and ends, including Carol Davisson, who did the lettering.

“I had a whole team of people who helped me cut out hundreds and hundreds of cards,” says Judy. “Some helped me make the lost objects like tiny tote bags, purses, and eyeglasses. Others helped with quality control and went through every game bag to make sure all of the pieces, cards, dice, etc. were in each bag.”

From start to finish, a total of 100 games were constructed over four months. The games were sold for $20 each, with proceeds from the sale of the games going to Charlestown's Benevolent Care Fund. The fund assists Charlestown residents who experience unforeseen financial hardship by providing needed assistance to ensure they have a home for life at the community.

“Residents like Judy who are using their creativity and artistic talents (especially during a worldwide pandemic) are amazing,” says Charlestown Philanthropy Director Patti Santoni. “Supporting Benevolent Care is a neighbors-helping-neighbors initiative. This effort is a true representation of that!” Santoni says, “It warms my heart to know that residents care so much, about one another and the stability of the ‘home for life' promise, that they take it upon themselves to make a difference and fundraise for this great cause. Several other clubs also donate all of their proceeds to benefit Benevolent Care. It's part of our mission at Charlestown, to share our gifts to create a community that celebrates life!”

Designing and developing board games isn't Judy's only venture. She also spends her free time quilting and making protective face masks.

“I've done five quilts this year and 436 face masks so far. I developed one that has a clear mouth window for teachers and people who are hard of hearing,” says Judy. “I'm a retired lawyer so it's been a lot of fun using the other side of my brain.”

To learn more about the vibrant community life at Charlestown, please visit or call 866-977-7260.

About Charlestown: Charlestown, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 110-acre campus in Catonsville, Maryland. The community is located in Baltimore County and is home to more than 2,000 residents who are supported by a team of more than 1,200 employees. Additional information about Charlestown can be found at

Photo: Retired lawyer and Charlestown resident Judy Plymyer designed and produced a new board game, Charlestown Chase, which raised money for Charlestown's Benevolent Care Fund. Photo courtesy of Judy Plymyer.

Written by Danielle Rexrode