Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Egyptian Ratscrew

It wasn't the name of the game when I learned it, but all the resources I'm finding call it Egyptian Ratscrew.  That's okay.  I don't need to clutter up my posts with unnecessary vulgarity.  Especially not when there is so much necessary vulgarity that needs to be done.

It was late November, 1999.  I was in Dallas, Texas, visiting some friends.  It was late.  We were bored.  Someone suggested a game of ERF.  After a brief tutorial, I was hooked.  We played all night.

When I brought the game back to Georgia, the magic happened.  I spent a lot of time at the local Waffle House.  Honestly, it was the closest thing to a home that I've ever had.  Anyway, there were dozens of regulars back then that would show up at all hours of the night.  Really, it was the only thing to do in town after 9:00pm.  It was a small town.  Everyone learned to play, and everyone loved it.

One of the great things about the game is that you haven't necessarily lost once you're out.  There's always a chance to get back in until it's over.  In fact, you don't even have to have started at the beginning of the game to win.  There would be times when people showed up half-way through a game and won it.  There was a list of house rules a page long, and we even had plans to build a tournament spec'd table.  There aren't even ERF tournaments, but we held them anyway.

Honestly, I ended up getting pretty good.  I was one of the top three players.  It was always in the air who would win a given match, though.  There's strategy to the game, but it's also a lot of reflexes, and a lot of luck.  If you were having an off night, there would be just no winning for you, no matter how good you usually are.

The communal love of that game lasted as long as the scene did.  Eventually we all grew up.  People started moving away.  Several years ago they even closed down that Waffle House.  I cried.  It's still standing, though, and occasionally I go back and sit on the curb outside.

I'll have to tell you more about that place some time.  It'll have to be after April though, W & H are already taken.  Actually, I'm pretty dead set on most of the alphabet at this point.

Anybody out there have a group hobby that brought people together?


Jenny said...

I learned to play Egyptian Rat Screw in the band room. Fun, fun times! :) I <3 this post.

Lydia Elizabeth Burnwell said...

Ah the band room...Fun, fun times... Hm, most that shouldn't probably be mentioned, but still...

I am sad to admit that when Lord of the Rings came out, I was brought into the dark world of card playing gaming. Yes, I was hooked. I had my own set of LotR cards, and even a few rares that I had to give my eyeteeth to have! In college a group of friends and I would go to the local comic book shop and play for hours with the "locals". Good times...though I usually got my butt whooped.

Then I got hooked on World of Warcraft...which you can read about when we get to W lol

Miss you tons, Adam!!

Jenny said...

That's why ERS is so great- it's a standard 52 deck game. No special cards required. :)

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