Hello there, and I’m Chaz Marler, welcoming you back to another installment of Pair Of Dice Paradise’s Thrift Sift
series — where I discuss games that I pick up at thrift stores and garage sales because they look interesting, bizarre, or a combination of both.
Today I’ll almost be taking a look at the award-winning game Redneck Life
, a journey through blue-collar americana where the player with the most teeth left at the end of the game wins. Because, if you’re going to make a game about redneck life, you need to lower people’s expectations right off the bat. Will this award-winning game follow through on the gut-bustin, great time that its box promises? We’ll find out on this episode of Thrift Sift.
In the award-winning game of Redneck Life
, players traverse a winding, snakelike path that represents their journey through life. Each player starts the game with 28 teeth and no money. Players roll dice to travel along the game board, landing on spaces and taking cards that will cause them to gain or lose money and/or gain or lose teeth. Players will also accumulate vehicles, houses, spouses, and young ‘uns along the way. Upon reaching end of the path, the player with the most teeth remaining is declared the winner.
The award-winning game of Redneck Life
is a simple roll-and-move endeavor from 2003 with a temporarily amusing paper-thin redneck theme scotch taped onto it. As tempting as it may be to bash the award-winning game Redneck Life
— so very... very tempting — trashing this award winning game is not where this episode is going. Nono. Instead, I want to discuss the major accolade that was bestowed upon this game and adornes its box.
was the winner of the TGIFcon 2006 Game Of The Year
award. Game Of The Year!
Congratulations, Redneck Life! I want to take a moment to underscore the magnitude of this accomplishment. This game is ranked #8,956 on BoardGameGeek — coming in just below Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod
, the game where players are given a sentence in German and have to decide whether or not it is grammatically correct. And it not only managed to beat out Pillars of the Earth
, Commands & Colors
and Through The Ages
to win Game Of The Year
, it also accomplished the feat in 2006, three full years
after it was published in 2003!
Can you name any other game has been so successful, so triumphant, that it won Game Of The Year
three years after it was actually released? No. No, you cannot. Mankind does not have the technology.
The powers that be at TGIFcon must have access to some sort of game analysis technology that mere mortals like you and I don’t. I imagine them to be some sort of altruistic gamer gurus, floating cross-legged in a top secret research lab deep underneath an island volcano, methodically playing all manner of board games, discovering insights that we common rabble couldn’t hope to fathom in even a thousand lifetimes!
Who are these TGIFcon gamer gods that walk among men? I had to find them. And what award worthy quality did they find in Redneck Life
that I had missed? I had to know. Now matter how far, how long, or how close to the edge of insanity my journey may take me. This is my burden, whatever the cost, I must find -- oh, look, their logo includes their web address. I went to my computer and typed it in. What I found may appear to be a Japanese website about Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. And it’s also adorned with random photographs of plants… in a bathroom. But, someone viewing with a trained eye, that is an eye that looks through the lens of Google Translate, will discover that,
“This site has been expressed opinions and aggregates questions and doubts variety named after Sendai. Let's become a master Sendai more fun at any time of the full story!”
- Translated excerpt from website
Just as I thought, there’s more to the story. I had to dig deeper.
I combed through Google’s archives for any more information on TGIFcon that it may be hiding deep within the internet’s virtual nooks and crannies. My search was not in vain, as eventually I stumbled upon a forum thread about TGIFcon on BoardGameGeek.com’s website. Aha!
If any website out there on the internet was going to have credible information about the convention that awarded its top honor to this board game, it would be BoardGameGeek, the web’s central hub for board game information (after Pair Of Dice Paradise, of course).
The forum was about TGIFcon, its parent company, “Renquist, Inc.” (not the company's real name) and its president “Kathy Renquist” (and not this person's real name), and it was packed with information. And by “information”, I mean that the forum posts contained sentences. And by “sentences”, I mean multiple words strung together in sometimes coherent patterns, some of which included punctuation.
The first half of the forum thread appeared to be several potentially fictitious users vehemently having an argument over the validity of Renquist’s services (or lack thereof). And the second half was other BoardGameGeek users chiming in to post things like:
“What is this thread? What on earth is going on here?”
“I have teeth.”
But then, paydirt!
Several posts into the thread was an appearance by Renquist herself! Could this be the lead I was looking for? Here was Renquist in the virtual flesh, attempting to share her wisdom and experience with the unwahsed masses, under the brilliant guise of a grammatically-challenged internet troll.
Unfortunately, her guise was worn too well, and not even I could decipher the punctuation-free nonlanguage that she wrote in. All looked lost. But then, a stroke of luck! One of Renquist’s posts included the phone number of the company that sponsors TGIFcon. Back on track!
I called the number. And called it. And called it. Unfortunately, it just repeatedly connected to a busy signal.
Between calls, a chilling thought occurred to me: could it be possible that this Renquist had gained so much knowledge of board game design that she had since evolved beyond the mortal plane, existing now as the very embodiment of game theory, no longer within the reach of man’s cell phone towers?
As likely and not completely stupid as this idea seemed, I decided to take a chance on one more
lead that was buried in that forum thread. Sure, by this time I’d forgotten why I’d begun doing all this research in the first place, but it didn’t matter any more. My final clue was a found in a post embedded deep in that forum by BoardGameGeek user Jeff — who’s account, strangely enough, was created and used only during the short time period during which this forum discussion was taking place. Jeff posted this suggestion for anyone trying to track down more information on TGIFcon and its parent company:
“Actually, in my case, before I signed an agreement with Renquist Inc, I did my homework. I googled "Renquist"… Ironically, because "renquist" is such a unique name, this search approach was fairly easy.”
Forgiving Jeff for the fact that this was, in fact, not ironic at all — because locating information about Renquist as a result of a Google search for that specific name was actually the exact intended result of the Google search — I took him up on his suggestion and googled the same. And he was right, the search was fairly easy. But was it fruitful? It was time to taste the rainbow...
Thanks to Jeff’s absolutely-in-no-way-ironic suggested Google search, I located the LinkedIn account for the very same Renquist that was referenced in the forum posts. Ironically, the LinkedIn account profile contained even less contact information than Antarctica’s phone book. There were three items listed in the LinkedIn profile:
- A link to a “company website” which turned out to be nothing but a page full of online ads.
- A link to the aforementioned tgifcon.com website, which had long since turned Japanese.
- And a link to a personal blog. Personal blog?!? Alright, now we’re getting somewh-- 404: page not found.
And so, another dead end. Renquist continues to elude me. It would appear that I got suckered into a long, boring exercise that turned out to be pointless in the end. Which brings me back to Redneck Life and the mysterious Game Of The Year award that was bestowed upon it by an elusive company which may or may not have transcended beyond this life to continue its corporate existence beyond the barriers of time and space.
Actually, maybe the case of the disappearing TGIFcon isn’t so mysterious, since, if they selected this game for their 2006 Game Of The Year award, then maybe Renquist’s company’s lack of credibility in the board game industry, and its subsequent disappearance off the face of the earth, make complete sense after all.