Family reunions on my father’s side would not be complete without shuffle board. That my great-uncle and aunt HAD twin shuffle boards on their property did not strike me as odd (I was never older than 12 at these reunions). I loved the long poles and the smooth rasp of the pucks as they traversed the polished cement. I loved the tournaments and the good-natured ribbing.
I first learned of curling when it was officially recognized as a winter Olympic sport in 1998. I had 2 conflicting thoughts. First: “Fantastic! Shuffleboard on ice!!” Second: “Olympic ice shuffleboard? Ridiculous!” I’m not sure why I had such a strong negative reaction to the idea of shuffleboard as an Olympic event, but there it is. Maybe I recognized how damaging the effects of intense competition could be on something that had been more purely FUN in the context of the family social event. I’d had similar experiences with badminton, volleyball, and Frisbee.
Thank the primordial fun-gods for Caveman Curling, the table-top game from Gryphon Games.
The game comes with a roll of illustrated parchment-type paper (in curling called “the sheet”), 2 sets of 6 rocks (red and white wooden pucks), 2 sets of totems/hammers (special events). The sheet has a bulls-eye on one end as you’d find in curling and a start line at the opposite end. Players (individually or in teams) take turns flicking the rocks toward the target. Closest rocks score points.
In modern curling, teams use brooms to adjust the trajectory of the rocks. That mechanic is lost in Caveman Curling (broom technology needed another few thousand years to develop I imagine) BUT each team has a collection of hammers and totems that they can use to protect or move their rocks. Hammers are rectangles of wood that allow the player to move the rock the length of the hammer. Did you get close to the target but not close enough? Whip out a hammer and move the rock closer. The totem protects a rock. It sits on top of your rock. If that rock is hit and the totem falls off, you may remove the rock and flick it again—do over!
There are variations on the rules but Caveman Curling is really a very intuitive game of accuracy with a few tricks to keep things interesting. The pieces are colorful and solid. The rules are short and sweet. The illustrations are amusing (check out how a caveman writes the credits on the curling sheet). It all works to create something Major Fun!
Have to spend a bit of time indoors? Caveman Curling is a great way to pass that time as you wait for the rain or snow or (as it is right now) the blistering-sun (current temperature in Indianapolis: 105o) to move on.
For 2+ players, ages 7+
Caveman Curling game by Daniel Quodbach. © 2010 Le Scorpion Masque Inc. and published by Gryphon Games.