Thursday, 24 January 2013

Old school gaming in foreign lands

And the Geordie has landed! Huzzah I hear you all cry. Well, I can’t hear you, but I know you must be because as everyone knows, I rock and you've all felt my absence…  yeah definitely…

I've had many things happening, including having to go to Turkey for a week or so. I know tough isn't it? Being me isn't all cheese toasties and Roses!

Whilst in this awesome country I was sat in a lovely open bar on the beach when the Turkish man who was keeping my belly full grinned and vanished. Something in my demeanor had given him a hint that I was a dice obsessed freak. Maybe it was the absent minded fondling going on in my pants...

No, not that! I always have a few dice in my pocket at any given time and they must be fussed over constantly lest they let me down on the war torn table top. It’s true.
When he returned he reverently placed a wooden box in front of me, carefully opened it (cue Gregorian chant music type chanty stuff) and as he did so it creaked with that creak that promises awesome. Inside were two wooden dice (yes you can get wooden dice, older tech earlier generation type stuff but work just the same as our modern ones) and a set of domino sized blocks hinged to the side of the box with numbers 1-9 on them.

Would you believe that this perpetual food consuming Northerner actually put his food down? I did! I was that intrigued. What is it? What do I do? Would I be able to adapt my dice style to these old school random chance cubes in the box? No matter, I had to play!

So I played my first game of kutusunu kapatın - shut the box in English. Although the name he told me sounded more like “shite backs” and I assumed it was shut box in Turkish when pronounced properly… Clearly not. he told me it was an English game. I had never seen it before, but now there was no way I could avoid conquering this simple, childlike game. D'oh!

The object of the game is simple, but not easy. I'll just post the rules from Wikipedia to save me having to explain them!

At the start of the game all levers or tiles are cleared, showing all the numerals 1 through 9. On a player's turn, they roll the pair of dice and then cover or "shut" certain numbers that equal the total of their dice roll. For example, a roll totaling 5 allows the player to shut either 1 and 4, 2 and 3, or just 5.

The player then rolls the dice again, aiming to shut out more numbers. This continues until the player cannot shut any available numbers, at which point they score one point per number covered. If the player manages to cover all the numbers in the game, they have "Shut the Box". Otherwise play passes to the next player, and after everyone takes a set number of turns the highest score wins.

This may sound easy, but you can only knock down up to two at a time. As you knock them down it gets harder. You are also presented with the choice of what number to knock. If you role a 5 and a 4, do you then knock the 9 down or the 5 and the 4? If you go for the 5 and 4 then you have lost one of your average numbers (4) on a two dice roll and face the difficulty of rolling 9 again. Of course it gets harder as the more successful you are. Which numbers to get rid of? which ones to keep for further rolls?

You're sat there thinking it's easy, but even a spawny dice manipulating luck god like me was toppled by this beast of a game. In two sittings I played roughly 89 times. I won three times. Just three. Much to the joy of my wife and mother in-law and the amusement of the Turk (who I now believe was St Nick himself come to test me)

It’s very, very addictive. Great for time between games, with mates ‘n’ beer etc. Presented to me as a solo game, you could easily play against your friends to see who gets further. But be warned they won’t be your mates for long and you may end up on the run from the law! I challenge all of you to do better than me!

1 comment:

  1. lol, im an turkish and i have something to say you...