It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, I’m talking about
When we were codifying today’s strip, Gabriel was worried that people (you, presumably) wouldn’t understand that the story was in fact true. I said that we could begin the comic with “True Story,” which is the customary procedure for tales of an ambiguous authenticity. But he countered, and rightly, with the assertion that the strip is itself a realm of thoroughly questionable provenance, and insertion into that space subjects any claim to the devolving effects of its “Whopper Field.”
So, let me be clear, in my zone of marginally increased veracity: TRUE.
For Christmas this year, I gave the gift of Crokinole. It’s a board game in the “action” or “dexterity” vein, which means that unlike most games that have risen to prominence in the global Eurogame revolution, at no point does one amass wheat.
It’s “like” a lot of games: it’s a round version of shuffleboard, for example, provided that there is also a basket, like basketball. Maybe it’s more like Darts On A Flat Plane, with concentric values of five, ten, fifteen, and twenty for the center hole. People shoot for the center until an opponent’s piece is on the board, at which point every shot needs to contact an enemy piece or get thrown into the literal garbage. Not really, but you might feel that way. Because pieces must come in contact with one another, and because their position on the field determines their value, the board becomes a fractious nation state in which escalating recriminations are the norm. You can play it 1v1, but in the 2v2 Team Mode I so crave, each player only has six shots total, which invests each “input” with tremendous import. The rules don’t really contain the game. The game is about trying to manage the dynamic outcomes generated by simple rules.
There is a lot to like about Crokinole, which is (at its core) a game about trick shots with brutal penalties for failure. But it’s also a game that isn’t impossible to build completely from scratch if you know somebody who is into wood. Plus, because the game is like a hundred and thirty-six years old, everyone owns it. I’m not a free culture champion, or anything of the kind; still, the idea that this joy engine belongs to every person warms a body deep down.