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The cover of the cooperative card game The Grizzled asks this question: “Can friendship be stronger than war?” The question echoes from the first card drawn to the last card played.
In the game, each player is a French soldier during World War I, one of les poilus (pronounced “poy-looz”). This translates to “hairy ones,” which the game designers have paraphrased as “the grizzled.” The players win by keeping each other alive until armistice ends the war, echoing Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” The aim of the game is for the poilus to support their most vulnerable comrades, even as they sustain their own emotional and spiritual trauma.
Grizzled - Tension - Terror - History - Calamities
The Grizzled masterfully captures some of the tension and terror of one of history’s most senseless calamities, the Great War. During that conflict, France suffered about 1.4 million military deaths. The Grizzled focuses on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual toll the massed assaults, artillery barrages, and poison gas exacted upon the individual soldier. Each player takes on the role of one of six poilus, with names like Gaston Fayard or Anselme Perrin—actual men who survived the war. One is even named after Lazare Ponticelli, the last surviving poilu, who died in 2008. For the game’s art work, the late French cartoonist Tignous employs his quirky, signature style to...
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"Tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis