I’m playing a game called Nevsky with my buddy from the USA over WhatsApp. He makes a move while sitting in Charlotte, North Carolina, records a video message, and sends it to me via WhatsApp. I update the board here, make a move, record a video message and send it to him. He updates the board there… It’s not the fastest way to play, a game takes us about two months on average, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. Today I’m talking about rolling dice. And about how players are crazy.

Last week during the game, there was a battle under the city of Koporye (photo above shows the castle!). My troops approached the castle and encountered a unit of Rus, who occupied the fortress. An exciting moment. Tokens of our troops land on a special battle board, charges start, dice rolling, fingers crossing, all that jazz—the salt of war games.

I’m charging his position, banners fluttering in the wind, and the sound of hooves echoes throughout the area, but before I can plunge into that hostile crowd, before I can scatter them with my momentum, the inevitable must happen – archers fire, probably the last time in their lives.

I am in the office now. I don’t have a dice here!” Marty writes to me.


Freeze frame. The horses stop in mid-step. Banners stop fluttering. Archers are frozen with taut bows. Marty doesn’t have a dice. He can’t roll for the attack.

It’s 3:00 PM in Poland. Marty will finish work and get home in about 8-9 hours. He’ll get his hands on those damn dice when I’m already asleep. So the archers stand frozen, the horses in mid-step, the banners in freeze frame, and only the knights in the saddle are happy — they have an extra day for prayer and to ask Lord that enemy shots do them no harm.

Of course, I have dice in the office. I could roll for Marty, and the battle would continue. But my hair stands on end, shivers run down my spine, and my whole body convulses when I only think  of it! How can it be… roll for him?! That’s his roll, his archers, he has to roll the die! That’s the point of the game, the players themselves do the rolling, don’t they?

So I’m sitting in my office 7600 km from Marty’s office, staring at the dice in front of my nose and nodding my head in amazement at how much our rituals bind us. We stopped the battle and will finish it 24 hours later just because it is impossible to accept that I could roll for Marty’s archers…


Half an hour later, Marty sends me a video. „I found one!” he screams and shows the dice. I imagine him running around the office and asking his coworkers if they happen to have dice. They just roll their eyes, nod their heads at this nerdy office lunatic, and politely tell him that no, they don’t carry dice to work.

Marty rolls his dice. The archers’ salvo decimates my cavalry. The charge collapses. I lose the battle. Hermann, Bishop of Dorpat, is left with nothing.

And me? At least I have a nice blog post. We’re lunatics.


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