87° Good Afternoon
87° Good Afternoon

L train shutdown board game is coming to help you through your commute

“Even a partial shutdown will be hell,” one of the game's co-creators said.

"Escape from HelL" was designed to help people

"Escape from HelL" was designed to help people cope with the L train shutdown. Photo Credit: Escape from HelL

If you’re dreading the upcoming (partial) L train shutdown, there’s now a board game designed to help you cope with your misery. 

The game, “Escape from HelL” was designed by two Brooklynites who, like many others, were not looking forward to when the L train was scheduled to stop running to and from Manhattan. Though Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said a full shutdown is not necessary anymore, “even a partial shutdown will be hell,” game co-creator Gil Arevalo, 36, said.

The alternative shutdown plan would take 15 to 20 months, but service suspensions would be limited to nights and weekends, according to Cuomo and the MTA. Critical repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel, which was damaged during superstorm Sandy in 2012, will be made during that time.

“We like to think [Cuomo] got wind of the game today,” Arevalo said after the governor announced the new plan.

Arevalo and his friend Hunter Fine came up with the idea for the game three months ago in a Williamsburg coffee shop. The goal is to be the first player to get from Williamsburg to Manhattan, but there are plenty of setbacks along the way.

Players roll a die to see how many spaces to move on the board, which has a design similar to “Candy Land,” and the trouble comes when they roll or land on “Draw Card.”

About 70 percent of the cards tell you to move backward for reasons like “Your bicycle, like your body, is slowly falling apart and you need to get it fixed” or “You finally got on the JMZ, but your subway car only has one person on it. And it smells like a toilet.”

“They’re all fairly relatable to anyone who has lived in Brooklyn and had to deal with the MTA,” Arevalo said.

The other cards instruct you to stay where you are or move forward. Some even have tips on how to manage the shutdown, Arevalo said. 

The game isn't meant to criticize the MTA, and the creators don't have a solution to avoid any shutdown at all, Arevalo said.

“We’re just here to help people find a little humor and a little fun in the situation,” he said.

Arevalo and Fine set up a Kickstarter for their game that has garnered more than $5,000 in donations as of Thursday afternoon. People can donate for the next 15 days, and a pledge amount of $26 (plus $10 for shipping) secures one of the board games.

The duo is expecting to have the games made and delivered in February. They also hope to set up a pop-up store, but they haven’t finalized a location or time yet. 


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos