Pucket Table Game

Pucket! I lost…

I had a weekend away at the beach with fourteen friends who meet every three months or so for shared, home-made curry banquets.

The weather looked like rain so my partner and I took along a few games, including New Internationalist’s new Pucket game, for potential indoor entertainment. Though I’d toyed with the Pucket game a bit, and watched a YouTube video or two of it being played, I’d never actually played it myself, so I wasn’t sure if there’d be much interest. Especially since many of the curry clubbers were variously into either more cerebral or more relaxing pastimes… and Pucket is definitely neither.

What it is is an updated version of an old French table game called ‘Table à l’élastique’ or ‘Passe Trappe’, and it has been variously described as “backgammon on steroids”, “wooden, noisy and you get to ping things”, and “the most addictive game to hit the market in years”.

Basically you use an elasticized cord to send wooden pucks through a small hole into your opponent’s side of the board – not taking it in turns, just reloading and firing as fast as you possibly can – the winner being the first one with no pucks left on their side. It can, as we discovered, be all over in less than a minute, or with more matching opponents can last quite some time. There are few rules, but one of them states that jeering and shouting at your opponent are allowed, and as we also discovered, are almost inevitable.

The other games we took down didn’t even get unpacked after our friends saw Pucket being played by a couple of us in the afternoon. So after cocktails (another first for the curry club), followed by a feast of home-made curries washed down by generous amounts of red wine, we organised a draw for an evening knock-out competition.

Well, it was absolutely hilarious – with many a ‘Flying Sailor’ (puck flying off the board), ‘Cardinal’s Revenge’ and ‘Neptune’s Kiss’ enlivening the event. Even the more reserved clubbers couldn’t resist taking part, playing well into the night after the competition ended. As the box says, it was “finger flickin’ fun for (nearly) everyone”.

I did badly in the knock-out comp unfortunately – slaughtered in the second round. But it really was loads of fun, and there’s always next time.

And the winner? Pucket, hands down.

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About Paul Deighton

Paul is the Fair Trade specialist and merchandise manager at New Internationalist Australia. For decades he has been one of Australia's leading advocates for the practical advancement of Fair Trade, having worked previously in Oxfam's Mail Order divisions, both in Australia and New Zealand. He has also played a key role in the development of wfto.com - the World Fair Trade Organization.

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