Weird things Austrians… play… The Fur Game… (Was’n’das)

Wasndas - The Fur Game

I don’t mind a good board game. Of course, as you get older, the tone of board games changes. You move from Monopoly and Mousetrap to games requiring increased knowledge like Trivial Pursuit or strategy games like Risk.  Hubby and I regularly play Carcasonne and we recently started with Azul which is a pretty cool game perfect for two people.

At one of our Wine Wednesdays with my work colleagues (pre-Covid), one of them introduced us to a board game, which does not seem to exist in the English-speaking world. It’s called Was’n’das which translates to What’s That (but in slang)… though in our circle we’ve renamed it ‘The Fur Game’.

The premise is simple. There is a board which you move around in order to ‘win’, and there are a selection of random items: there’s a red dwarf, there’s a green peg, there’s a plastic flower, there’s a mini blue triangle, and so on. And of course, there’s ‘The Fur’, which I’ll get to. Some of these small items are placed in the middle of the circular board, and the rest wait on the outside for their turn. When it’s your turn, pick a card and read out the six ‘options’ which are all based around a single theme. On a simple level the category might be ‘Playground and the six options might include slide, swing, seesaw and so on. But in the real world of Was’n’das, it’s generally more complicated than that, with everything from objects to sayings.

Wasndas - the fur game

Now that everyone playing is clear on the six options, the person whose turn it is picks a number at random and then, using only the items at the centre of the board, must try to depict what is written next to that number. The result… absolute hilarity. How would you communicate ‘MP3 player’ for example, using a tiny aeroplane, a long stick, and a piece of fur?

Add to this that two of us in the group are not native German speakers, so we don’t always understand exactly what is going on with the wording. I tell you, it wasn’t just the wine that made it fun. Both the German misunderstandings that went on plus the weird ways we all tried to depict certain things kept us in fits of laughter. And for whatever reason, that ‘fur’ is what we all wanted to use. Just a small piece of fur – like the miniature version of a sheepskin rug. But it became the centre of the game. And that’s why we call it ‘The Fur Game’. So bring on the end of Covid, and bring back Wine Wednesdays so we can catch up properly and giggle again around a tiny piece of fur.

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