The Game

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The Game covers a multitude of related concepts on the Disc. Key to their understanding is an appreciation of the truism, usually spoken about foot-the-ball, that the Game isn't merely a matter of life and death - it's more important than that.

The Game in Überwald

In Überwald, for instance, the local interpretation involves a pack of werewolves hunting a human runner. Traditionally, it had rules that were strictly followed, and a quick and clever runner stood a decent chance of evading pursuit long enough to reach civilization or run out the clock, at which point he would be rewarded with a sum of money, a dinner at the werewolves' castle, and presumably a certain amount of notoriety. Should he fail to do so, of course, the aforementionned dinner would be still held, only this time he would be the main course.

In this sense, Game is what you hang on a hook in the larder for a few days to allow the meat to flavour and then possibly stuffed to make a pleasing wall ornament. Samuel Vimes, a man who won the Game, noticed several hooks in the werewolves' castle where something had been huriedly removed.

In recent times, some of the werewolves changed the nature of the Game dramatically. It became merely an entertaining way of killing, especially those they wanted dead, with no prior agreement with the prospective runner and no rules that a werewolf need obey. With the demise of Wolfgang and the downfall of his faction, the future of the Game is unclear.

Vetinari's Game

In one of those multi-layer associations that TP delights in generating, it should be noted that here on Roundworld, The Game, or the Great Game, was a Victorian euphemism for the business of spying and espionage, especially in the Possessions, such as India and Afghanistan (cf. novels by Rudyard Kipling, especially Kim, and George McDonald Fraser's Flashman series.). In the wider contest of The Fifth Elephant, this is also a very fitting term, as Ankh-Morpork's spies in Überwald, when discovered, were forced to participate in the Werewolf version of the Game...

The Game of the Gods

Elsewhere on the disc, The Game is also the complex boardgame played out by the Gods, on a board representing the mortal world, using mere mortal sentient creatures as the pawns. This is where the Lady habitually throws sevens, and Gods gamble with the fate of mortals. However, Gods have short memories and are always surprised to learn what happens when a pawn makes it to the other end of the board...

Other Games

  • The forerunner for the evolution of the werewolf game on the Discworld might well have first appeared in Terry Pratchett's non-Disc novel, Strata, in which the Shand people play a variant of the sport that involves hunting each other and ritually killing and eating the loser.
  • And in The Long War, Joshua Valienté is forced to run for his life and escape capture from pursuing beagles. The deal is, if he wins he gets peace between humans and Beagles, If he dies he becomes a trophy head on the wall. Effectively he is playing The Game as it is known in Überwald. And against creatures who have many of the attributes of werewolves.