Christmas is swiftly approaching which means soon enough precisely half of my family will be gathered round the kitchen table for some disastrous card and board games. There will be tears and tantrums, and probably more than one sore loser.
The other family members will sit in the next room rolling their eyes while sipping Glühwein and listening to us come very close to bashing each other's heads in. At least one of them will mutter something along the lines of "Told you so", or "Same procedure as every year, James".
We probably won't touch another game until next year's Christmas.
"Mensch ärgere dich nicht" is a classic - both in Germany and in my home. I can always find someone who'll join in for a game or two. Though probably just one.
The name of the game roughly translates to "Man, don't get annoyed", or "Dude, don't worry".
Players compete to be the first to travel their pieces around the board. But since it's not quite as simple as that and can call for one or the other outburst, the best tactic is to simply stay cool and to not get annoyed, dude!
I've been told there are similar versions all around the globe called things like parcheesi, Ludo, Sorry! and Trouble. So I am confident you will get the instructions fairly quickly!
Though I think I'm going to stick to calling it "Chill, dude!".
Or, since I am in a festive mood, why not play "Santa, ärgere dich nicht", or "Santa, take a chill pill".
Check out how I made this - if I may say - perfect holiday version of this classic game below.
I can't wait to see these darling little game pieces flying across the room in frustration on Christmas day!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
for the game pieces:
- air drying modelling clay, white
- acrylic paint: white, red, green, orange, black, brown
- paint brush
for the game board:
- cork board
- exacto knife
- paper and pencil, or template below
- transfer paper
- masking tape
- permanent marker, black
- a dice
Step 1: Start by making the game pieces.
For the snowmen, roll out the modelling clay into a larger and a smaller ball. Play around with the size of your pieces, my snowmen ended up being about 1,6cm tall. Stack the smaller ball on top of the larger one and let dry. Paint black eyes and a little orange triangle for the carrot nose onto the top ball. Use a skewer for help as most paint brushes don't have a tip small enough. Add a few black buttons to the larger ball on the bottom.
For the trees, start with a larger ball, then shape it into a slightly rounded cone. Roll out a second, smaller ball and flatten it slightly for the tree trunk. Stick the two pieces together. (Note: Most clays will stick together without much force. Some might require you to add a teeny tiny drop of water to soften the clay. If necessary, add some glue after the pieces have dried.) Once dry, paint with green and brown acrylic paint using a small paint brush.
For the candy canes, simply roll out the clay and bend into a cane shape. Let dry and add red stripes with a skewer dipped in paint.
Roll out a larger ball and shape into a rounded cone for Santa's hats. Add a tiny ball on top for the bobble. Paint the base of the hat with red paint.
Always make sure to lightly press down the game pieces onto the working surface before letting them dry to create an even bottom. This way the pieces will be able to stand upright. Adjust with a nail file after they've dried if necessary.
Step 2: Once you have finished the game pieces, create a grid or print off the template above. Make sure it is large enough for the game pieces to stand nicely on the fields. Cut a cork board down to size using a ruler and an exacto knife. Mine ended up being 20,5 x 20,5cm.
Step 3: Paint the board with white acrylic paint. Don't forget about the sides and let dry.
Step 4: Add transfer paper to the board face-down and top with the grid template. Fixate with a few strips of masking tape. Using a pencil and a ruler, trace the grid so that it transfers onto the board.
Step 5: Retrace the grid with a thick black permanent marker, and paint the fields as shown above.
Let dry, grab three buddies and get started!
But don't forget to take your chill pill first!
The game can be played by two, three or four players, but is best played with four. Each player chooses its team to play with: team Frosty, team Evergreen, team Minty, or team Bobble.
The game pieces are placed on the color-corresponding "out" base. The goal of the game is to be the first to get all four game pieces into the game, have them travel around the entire board and brought into the player's "home" row.
Each player is situated on one side of the board. There are three fields nearest to each player. The left one is the player's "start" field, colored accordingly. The middle field leads to the "home" row. The game pieces are moved around the board in clockwise direction.
Each player throws the dice in turn advancing any of their pieces by the number of dots on the dice. Throwing a six means the player gets to bring a piece into the game by placing it onto his "start" field. If a player does not have any pieces in the game yet, he may throw the dice three times in an attempt to throw a six. Throwing a six also means the player gets another turn and may throw the dice a second time. If a piece is on the "start" field and there are still pieces in the "out" base, then it is this piece that must be moved by the number thrown. If a piece cannot be brought into the game, then any other piece on the board may be advanced by the number thrown.
In the example above, team Minty was the first to throw a six and gets to move one of its game pieces onto its "start" field accordingly. He gets another turn and advances the game piece by four fields.
Team Evergreen is the next to bring a piece into the game, and is soon passed by team Minty as pieces can jump over other pieces.
Pieces can however also be kicked out of the game by another piece landing on the same field. The game piece must then return to its"out" base. A player can also throw out his own pieces.
Taking turns, each player attempts to travel around the entire board and be the first to fill his "home" base with all four game pieces. Not without kicking out other game pieces of course.