It was Thursday evening’s ”boardgame night” again at Skuggspel in Visby. Normally there are about 10-15 people going in and out on Thursdays from 17:00 but today there were only 5 people and one left around 18:00. So I thought this week there will be no boardgame night. I was kind of ready to leave but instead of leaving, I took out my Ogoola Karuta games from my bag and layed them on the table. Then suddenly a young man named Marc who is studying games at the university in Visby (to become a programmer ) suddently wanted to try the ”Ogoola Karuta”! I had both the English and the Swedish karutas with me so I asked him ”Which one do you want to play? The English karuta or the Swedish?” Then to my surprise, he wanted to play the English karuta!
I tried to explain the game as simple as possible, inspired by another game player at Skuggspel named Vilhelm. Vilhelm played Ogoola Karuta with us two weeks ago and he could explain the game to others in a totally different way as we did. So this is how I explained the game:
”This is a game about listening! A part of what you are going to hear will be the information on the cards you see here. You listen carefully and locate the matching card being read and ”take it” as soon as you find the matching card. Be fast! The one who takes the most cards will win”
Just when I was about to start to play with Marc, Magnus (a boardgame lover who is working on Gotland) came in and asked if he could also play, so I was happy to give him my place and become the game master! It was so fun to watch them fight to win! They were playing karuta almost as wild as the Japanese, kyogi karuta geeks. It was exciting for both the players and the watchers. So another young man popped up to play. This man is Taurus. Taurus then played with Marc, then invited or even insisted that Simon (another young student at the game department) play against him. Simon was veeery very skeptic about the game. He thought that this would be a boring game. But to our surprise and also to his surprise, the game was extremely exciting and fun! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The intensity and focus. It was like when the kids at Atheneskolan were screaming when they played the game. Simon said that he could not imagine that this game would be fun until he played it himself. He was really surprised. Simon also said that what he thought would be the most boring part of the game, for example to try to analyse the meaning of the poem so that he could find the matching poem, or listen to the rhymes to find the matching poem was actually the coolest part. And that really surprised him- he said. I could see that he really meant it and that really made my day.
The young men at Skuggspel really helped me see that I am doing this because it makes me really happy to see people enjoy playing the game- having a great time, laughing and screaming. It really gives me joy to my whole existence. Yes!