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Subject: Playing King's Breakfast with middle easterners. rss

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Filip W.
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Euros are better with dice!
Over the holidays I visited a friend whose family is from the Middle East. As we had nothing to do I pulled out my standard carry deck (a cardbox full of games) and suggested a game of King's Breakfast.

Well, I didn’t quite put it that way. You see, in Arabic culture there's a very large taboo against greed, and the worst sort of greed is being greedy for food. A poor Arabic family can go deeply into debt to arrange a feast, or can sit at their own table eating like sparrows while convincing their guests to take more. There's even a special word for someone who hogs the food: fyshan.

So of course I pronounced that the game was named "fyshan". They were instantly intrigued. Here's a pair of near-retirement immigrants, who haven't touched a game in their entire lives, listening like eager children. After all, it's a game about not becoming fyshan.

And boy how much they didn't want to become fyshan. Every time they took a food card they'd point to each other and shout "fyshan, fyshan, you're a fyshan". It was like watching five year olds having a snowball fight. The mother of the family finally didn't dare to take the open food cards from the table, preferring to draw the secret cards from the stack. The father and my friend laughed so hard they cried and the kid brother fell of his chair.

It didn't really matter who won (me) – they were all so scared of overeating that they didn't dare to pick up any cards. But they had a great time and perhaps they'll be open to another game some time soon…
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