Duel of the Samurai (DOG EAR)

Duel of the Samurai (DOG EAR)

t was an interesting day. My friend Chris models (indirectly) the railroad yard at Taft, south of Orlando. Of course, the only real way this game executive and dad can really get an idea of the actual industries and scenery is google maps. You just can’t really stroll onto railroad property anymore, not with the railroad cops and hobos (both equally dangerous).

So I suggested making a day of it using SunRail, our local north-south heavy rail than runs down the CSX lines into Taft (which he wants to see up close). So we did.

It was a nice ride – we got to note the industries, how the tracks are laid out, the little things like the railcars used, the spur gates, the derails. Very informative. When we got to our turn-around point (Kissimmee, Florida) , we hopped off there and decided to get lunch. The thing is, the downtown area is about a block from the station and is really old-timey Florida. There was a nice bookstore there (White Rose Books & More) and a great little pizza joint in an old brick building whose plate windows look out over the busy main drag (I’ll plug them too – Main Street Pizza).

So we sat around and ordered a nice affordable lunch. And while we two old dudes sat in the sun, Chris pulled out a deck of cards, a game called Kiri-ai : The Duel. It’s a very stylistic, minimalist game that simulates a battle between two samurai. So do you hold your sword high (heaven position) or low (earth position)? Do you strike, move forward or back? It’s very well done. I was impressed – it has those same stark art on the cards that subway systems use. Very clever.

So we launched into our first game. Each turn involves setting two cards face down and turning them, one and then the other, to see what happens. You can only get hit twice and then you are a late samurai. So Chris and I stood across from each other on an empty field, wind ripping at our bright clothing. A scream. We rush. I died.

I mean, “Da Fug?” He hit me twice in the first turn, killing me dead. We looked at each other and he admitted (and kindly as possible) that this was the absolute fastest a samurai could be killed. So yay me!

Blushing, we shuffled the cards and had another go. This time I pinked him once but he eventually cut me down. But not after a longer battle. After pizza (and some careful table cleaning) we went for the third game – it was a lot longer and finally I managed to put my blade through him. Okay, so I felt better now.

As we walked along the main street in the bright Florida sun, I asked him where I could get a copy and he gave me his – he’ll get another deck later. Nice of him, after killing me and all.

So that’s the thing. Media measures communication between humans, and a game allows humans to communicate with certain rules and with certain imagery. But I’ll say that sitting in that sunlit pizza parlor with Chris, considering my moves, my position, my stance, it was a wonderful story in itself. And it will be a wonderful moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Even the humiliating death part.