Würfelwurst ("Dice Sausage") is a simple dice game that's all about sausages. And quails. And raccoons. And weasels, and bugs, and wasps and worms.
How does that make any sense? And should we even try to answer that question?
Let's start with the rules. At least they're relatively simple to follow.
Würfelwurst Rules Overview (skip this bit for the meaty section)
There are eight dice in total - four white dice and four black dice. Plus animal tokens to help keep track of scoring.
The white dice are the animal dice - with a different animal on each dice face: quails, bugs, wasps, worms, raccoons and weasels.
The black dice are sausage dice, with the numbers 2-5 on them. Plus a sausage (or two!).
You roll all your dice, and must set aside at least one. You can re-roll as many times as you like, but you can't re-roll dice that you've set aside.
You then score by choosing an animal (usually one that you've rolled). Your score is the number of that animal that you've rolled (i.e. a maximum of 4, as there are 4 white animal dice), multipled by the lowest number that you rolled on the number dice.
So let's say you got the follow result:
In this instance, you'd most likely choose to score racoons, and you'd get six points (2 points for your racoons, multiplied by 3, the lowest score on the number dice).
Then you take a Racoon token, and you can't score racoons for the rest of the game.
The twist? Sausages on the number dice count as 1. That is, unless you roll four sausages. Then sausages count as 7.
So the main decision in the game is: Do I push my luck and roll for sausages - in which case I'll probably score low, but there's a small chance I'll score high? Or do I play it safe and go for a mid-level score?
That alone is pretty fun... but the twist to this game is...
It's all sausage to me
I'm a vegetarian, but even I'm fascinated by how much Germans love their sausages. Bratwurst, Currywurst, Bockwurst. And now Würfelwurst!
As one BGG thread for this game puts it, "Yay sausages!"
What's more, as the (loosely translated) English rules would have it:
Quails, bugs, wasps, worms, raccoons and weasels have one thing in common: On the general popularity scale, they are pretty far down. Precisely for this reason none of them will beat the dice sausage to be the absolute bottom end!
More about "ends" in a moment...
All that's well and good. Yet there's one BGG thread that almost sees the real meaning of the game... but doesn't quite get there.
The thread has the wordy title: "Insight from German speakers on theme incorporation and the use of Wurst in the German language?"
Here's how Tim Westfall opens the thread:
I just recently got this game, being a fan of German language, and more importantly, the incorporation of Sausage in the theme!
However, I'm not too familiar with the colloquialisms and phrases in German.
I'm wondering from the title and after reading the rules that I'm missing something?
In German, is there a common phrase used that incorporates luck and/or bad luck?
Tim Westfall, you are a genius! You have seen the light! You are the sausage king!
How did everyone who answered Tim's question miss what's happening?
Morthe77 gets closest to the point. He notes that "armes Würstchen" means "poor little sausage" in German
And Morthe points out that all the animals in the game begin with W in German.
In Morthe's own words:
I guess for this game they also wanted to stress the alliterations with W:
WürfelWurst, (and all the animals
Wiesel (weasel), Wespe (wasp), Wanze (bug), Wachtel (quail), Wurm (worm), Waschbär (raccoon).
Oh Morthe, you have unlocked the key to this game!
Würfelwurst is not really a dice game
It's not a dice game (well, not really). It's a word game! It's a game that's all about having fun with sausages, and sausage-related words.
As the BGG description states, the aim is to "do your wurst".
Once you know a few wurst-related phrases, this game takes on a whole new life. In fact, I'd even argue it should be in the BGG top 100!
Yes, learning German just to play this game is a little bit of dedication. But you only need learn the following phrases, and you'll unlock the magic of Würfelwurst.
Let's start with one we've learned already:
Du armes Würstchen.
"You poor little sausage."
Perfect for winding up your opponents when they make a bad sausage roll.
And don't stop there. When your opponent rises to your bait, you can tell them they are:
Die beleidigte Wurst spielen!
"Acting the insulted liver sausage!"
This phrase dates back to the Middle Ages, when people believed that the liver was the seat of all emotions.
While you're at it, why not accuse them of being an Extra Wurst? The "extra sausage" is a prima donna who goes off in a sulk when they don't get what they want.
Okay, we've had our fun. What if you want to be a bit kinder to your opponents? The phrase for you is:
Du hast Schwein gehabt.
Literally: "You've been a pig". But a better translation is "You got lucky there." Because pigs are lucky, right?
And if you want to be really kind you can say ‘Schwein haben!’
"Have a pig!", or "Good luck!"
We're nearly there. There's another phrase which fits this game perfectly:
Es geht um die Wurst.
"It's all about the sausage." Of course it is.
Now, Mein Senf dazu geben. I've "added my mustard". I've had my say.
I would like to finish with the most profound sausage phrase of all. Earlier, I promised that we would come back to ends, and now we are there.
Alles hat ein Ende nur eine Wurst hat zwei.
"Everything has one end only a sausage has two."
Work that one out for yourself...
Does this game still not make any sense to you? Don't worry, me either.
And give that a sausage has two ends, am I allowed one final phrase to conclude?
Es ist mir alles Wurst.
"It's all sausage to me." And that's why I love Würfelwurst!