CHICAGO — If you are looking for a game the entire family can play, and learn more about the Orthodox faith at the same time, look no further than Into the Liturgy. This game is sold by newcomer to the game community Athos Games (tagline: It’s a Mountain of Fun!). The company is currently working to sell through parish Orthodox bookstores (suggested retail $39.95). “We understand we’re working in a niche market,” stated Peter (the Aleut) Martinson. “Sometimes you just have to take a chance”.
“How is that working so far?” our reporter asked.
“Not well. We’re still waiting for blessings from their Bishops. We were really hoping to get in on the holiday rush. At this point it looks like we’ll have to aim for Pascha.”
“Have they told you where they are at in the decision process?”
“Well, they told me they it needed to be approved by a ‘committee on liturgical games.’ But apparently the committee doesn’t currently exist — they’re still trying to assemble members.”
Mark (the Apostle) Swanson then gave our reporter a rundown on gameplay. “You have cards depicting three different types of people or events: feasts, saints, and tones,” he started, as he spread out a deck of over 500 cards. “You start by dealing out eight cards per player. The great thing about the number of cards is you can have over ten people playing and not worry about running out of cards.”
“But how do you shuffle the deck?”
“Well, you could split all the cards between the players and have them shuffle sections, but our focus groups just dumped out all the cards on the floor, stirred them around, and picked them back up. Anyway, the players put out their cards, and see if they can get them into the Liturgy.”
“For example,” he said, turning over some cards, “here you have a ‘Theotokos feast’ and another player turns over a ‘Felix of Bologna’ card. The Theotokos feast takes precedence, of course.”
“So the player who played the Theotokos card ‘takes’ the other cards and gets into the liturgy. You continue playing like this for an hour or so, and the one who gets into the liturgy the most wins. It’s fun and educational! It allows the layperson to learn about how the music is put together for the divine liturgy.”
“This does sound very interesting, but if I don’t understand how the music is put together, then how would I know who gets commemorated and who gets kicked out?”
“Well, of course we provide a rulebook,” Mark replied. “However, you will need a computer since the rule book is on a USB drive. If we printed out the rule book, it would consist of multiple volumes and would put the price over $100.00.”
“I see. You mentioned focus groups. What sort of testing have you done?”
“We decided to test the game in a monastery”.
“How did that go?”
“Not well. They played one round. First there were questions about ‘tone of the week’ or ‘was this festal.’ I tried to tell them to just think of it as an ‘average Sunday,’ and then they muttered something about Sundays and Russia. It kind of went downhill after that.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Apparently I’m not allowed to visit there again unless I promise not to bring any games. Anyway, I’m sure the average Orthodox believer won’t be that zealous”.
“Good luck with that.”
“Good luck with marketing your new game!”
With that our reporter wished him well, and ended the interview.
Copyright © 2012 John Hamre. All Rights Reserved.