Strange as it may seem, even in the unbearable cold and desolation of the Ice Coasts, it seems that people need a distraction from their everyday lives. A game that was invented by the women has spread to where the men are using it as a way to gamble. A simple game, using the tools and materials of leather workers, pits two or four people against one another in a race around a "board". It is a simple game that is played while the women continue to work.
|Picture description. Diagram of the Remusian Awl Game, showing the hide playing board and the few items needed for playing the game. Diagram by Altario, adjusted by Artimidor Federkiel.|
History. This game started as a pastime for women who were gathered and working on leather products. In the beginning, it was not much more than a piece of scrap leather with hole going in a circle around the outside. Through time, the special area were added, the Tundra and the Channels, and the rules were elaborated on. Later, men learned the game and began placing wagers. They might place a set wager in which the winner takes all, or they might agree to place a wager dependent on the number of holes lost by. The game is a cultural favourite of most of the Ice Tribes, though it is not known much outside these parts.
This diagram gives a rudimentary view of the game board and playing pieces. The
average leather board would be about 2-3
fores square. On the sketch
you see the Dry Riverbeds, the Tundras and the Channels, as well as the Awl
Stone in the center. The Horsehead Awl and the Throwing Stick are also
Equipment. The playing board is a large piece of worked leather, painted, with holes in it, usually laid out on the ground, about 2-3 fores square. The awls are normally plain wooden leather-working awls, but some wealthier women have special awls carved out of more exotic materials as bone or ivory. This is true of the throwing sticks, as most are wooden, but some are bone or ivory.
Game Set-Up. A game can be made for two or four players. Two players start out at each of the Channels facing each other if two are playing. If four people are playing, then the next two players start at each of the Frozen Channels.
Rules. Each of the players throws a set of four throwing sticks at the awl stone in the center of the hide. These sticks are flat on one side, and rounded on the other. One of the sticks has a special mark on it. For each stick that is face up, the player moves that many holes in the direction of his starting arrow, placing the awl in the corresponding hole. If the special marked stick falls flat side up, then the player is allowed one extra throw. No extra throws are allowed on the ensuing bonus throw. A player who "fell into the open channel", or landed on another player's awl has to start over. A player who landed in the Frozen Channel must lay the awl on its side, and must skip the next turn. Those who "get lost in the Ice Fields" also lay their awl down in those areas, but do not move until their throw results in the marked stick being flat side up. They do not get the bonus throw in this case. The first person to pass their Open Channel or Frozen Channel wins the game.