Godori: A Game of Strategy
The store was at the top of a long and winding trail up the mountains of Shenkuu. I had heard about it some time ago, but never had the chance to stop by. Garret, my green Xweetok, headed up with me. He had been having very little luck in the Battledome lately, and I'd saved up some money to buy him new equipment. This store was legendary for its well-crafted weapons.
Once inside, we both went around browsing the shop. Ornate and very powerful looking weapons lined the walls and sat on display. It was a rather large, and seemed to have just about one of everything in it. Something on a back shelf caught my eye. An old-looking deck of cards sat covered in dust. Making my way over to the side of the shop, I picked them up, shaking off the dust. The shopkeeper, a proper-looking Shoyru, walked over and smiled at me as I examined the elaborately painted deck of cards. They were very nice, and it looked like a pretty interesting game. "Wow, what's this?" I asked.
"Godori. It's a game of strategy," the Shoyru said plainly. "Even the best weapons in the hands of a fool are useless against an opponent who is skilled in the mind. This game helps build strategy."
I nodded to him. "Sounds like fun. Can we play?"
"If you wish, sir," he said, giving me a low bow. "If you will summon your pet and join me in the next room, I will set up a game for you." With that he took the cards from me and shuffled through the curtain to the next room.
The armory was almost dangerous to walk through with all the intricate weapons hanging about. Peeking through some swords, I saw my green Xweetok over in the corner near a bookshelf. "Hey, Garret!" I called to him. "Come on into the other room! There's a game to play!" He looked over his shoulder and nodded at me. I headed into the other room.
The room was very simple. Bamboo walls with windows overlooking the Shenkuu mountains. A single table in the center had an ornate mat on it and a chair on either side. I took my seat. The Shoyru shopkeeper started to set out the cards as I waited for my pet Garret to come in and join me.
Soon enough, the green Xweetok made his way into the room, looking through his wire-rimmed glasses at a book in his hands. I quirked my eyebrow at him as he took his seat. "What you got there, Garret?" I asked.
Garret took his seat, pushing his tail to the side and not even looking up from the old tome. "Oh, it's a book about Godori. Fascinating story behind them," he said, turning a page. "Did you know they were originally painted with vegetable extracts on pieces of wood?"
I looked at him in disbelief. When the shopkeeper offered to set us up a game of Godori, I assumed that Garret would be as new to this as I was. Now I'd found him with his nose in a book, as I usually found him. "How long have you been reading that?" I asked. "And since when can you read Shenkuu?"
The Xweetok just smirked. "I must have come across this almost an hour ago," he said smugly. "You were busy looking at all the shiny weapons."
Before I could respond, the shopkeeper interrupted. "Shall we begin?" he said, placing the deck next to the stacks of cards he had dealt out. "You may begin first, sir." Giving me a polite bow, he backed up to observe the game.
I looked across the elaborate cards, hopelessly lost. I looked at my hand, trying to remember the rules the shopkeeper had explained in the other room. One of the cards in my hand had pink clouds on it. I put it on top of two other cards that had pink clouds on them as well. "So I get those cards now, right?"
"I'm afraid not, sir," the Shoyru said from the side. "You can only capture when you have two or four matching cards on the field." I looked at the cards, still lost. "You may draw now, sir." I wasn't even sure what was going on, but I drew a black card from the pile and placed it on the table.
All eyes were on Garret as he marked his page and placed the book down, picking up his cards. Looking at them closely from behind his glasses, the green Xweetok pulled out a pink card with a shield on it and placed it on the other pink cards. Before I could even think, he pulled another card from the stack, placed it on the other black card and pulled all the cards over to him.
"Mister Garret captures," the shopkeeper chimed in. "A petpet, two Altador Cup cards and two world cards." Pulling out a small pencil, he marked on a card in his hand.
"What?" I said, very confused. "Those cards didn't match! One of the pink ones had a shield thing on it!"
"That's the Altador cards," Garret said, picking up the book again. "You get a point if you get five of them." His green fingers leafed through the pages.
I looked back and forth from the Shopkeeper to my pet Xweetok in disbelief. "This isn't fair!" I protested. "He's got the guidebook right in front of him!"
The Shoyru smiled at me, nodding. "He has come prepared. An excellent strategy."
The game progressed much in the same way. I'd make a weak attempt at something, pick up a card or two, then Garret would immediately take four or five more. Altador? Petpet cards? Neopets cards? The whole game was so complicated all of the sudden! I could barely get my shoes on in the morning, much less play a game like this!
We were three hands into the game and I was on a steady progression of losing. Garret closed the book softly, reaching over and collecting the remaining cards on the table.
"Garret captures for six points, bringing his total to sixty-seven points to your twenty," the shopkeeper announced, marking down on the paper in his hand. "Mister Garret wins the hand and the match."
I looked over at the Xweetok, who simply grinned at me smugly. Taking a deep breath, I reached a hand over the table to shake his hand, admitting defeat. "Good game, Garret," I said, trying to hide my bitterness.
Garret smiled at me, pulling off his glasses and shaking my hand. He held it for a moment. "Aren't you forgetting something?" he said, grinning at me.
I looked around, confused. The shopkeeper nodded. "Yes, as the loser, you owe Garret 435 Neopoints."
My jaw hit the table. I could hear Garret chuckling at me.
Grumbling to myself, Garret counted the coins and stuck them into his pocket as we walked from the shop. It would be a long time before I brought him out here again. "Don't look so smug," I said to him. "You had an unfair advantage."
"Correction, I had superior strategy." He smiled up at me. "There's nothing unfair about that. You could have asked to look at the book, you know."
I looked at him in disbelief, partially mad at myself for not doing that. "What would I have done with that book? I can't read Shenkuu!" I said, turning my attention back to walking.
Garret followed a few steps behind me. "Neither can I," he said, smiling widely. "The rules were up on the wall next to you."
I stopped in my tracks, eyes wide. I had just been outsmarted by my own Xweetok.
"Superior strategy," Garret said smugly, trotting past me.