Wyrmwood Gaming, makers of high-quality gaming accessories and game tables, has been forced to lay off off nearly its entire staff amid the outbreak of coronavirus. Nevertheless, it’s going forward with a popular and irreverent YouTube series called Wyrmlife. What was once a way to connect with its fanbase has become a window inside the realities of trying to keep a small business alive during a pandemic.
The streaming series, which began airing in September 2018, just began its 4th season last week. Episode 1 was titled “We Laid Off Everyone.”
The Massachusetts-based company began life as a tiny boutique woodworking studio, which used Kickstarter to create fund the creation of dice vaults, rolling trays, and dice towers. Since then it’s grown into a business with dozens of employees. Now it feels like it’s just barely holding on.
Cameras were rolling when co-founder Douglas Costello announced that Wyrmwood would be ceasing normal operations in light of new social distancing requirements. Episode two takes the show on the road with a bold plan to use a skeleton crew to keep projects moving in remote, personal workshops around Massachusetts. The latest line of products is called The Homebrew Collection, and a portion of the proceeds on some items will go toward COVID-19 relief efforts.
“As a company, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our employees and our community to take all the precautions we can to avoid spreading the disease ourselves,” Wyrmwood said in a statement on its website. “But at this time, many of us are turning to the gaming community for normalcy and comfort — even if we’re changing how we come together, we’re still coming together. Wyrmwood feels a responsibility to continue our role in this community as much as possible.”
Now featured in the Homebrew Collection is the Shield of Protection. Each shield is crafted by one of our craftsmen in their home, and made from a random wood of Wyrmwood. A portion of each sale will be diverted to fund COVID-19 relief efforts. https://t.co/w14FXEplAo pic.twitter.com/FkMz3JljvF— Wyrmwood (@WyrmwoodGaming) March 31, 2020
The team is also making plans to support local medical workers. Episode 2 ends with plans to manufacture and sell, at cost, a specially designed plastic shield that could help prevent healthcare workers from coming into contact with the virus.
For more on Wyrmlife, you can also follow the show on Twitter.
Update (4:50 p.m. ET): Wyrmwood has updated its COVID-19 website with additional information about an effort to manufacture personal protective equipment, called an intubation shield, during the pandemic.