The inaugural Gambit tournament is slated for Jan. 6 at the Prestige Inn. Gambit is a game best described as a combination of checkers and backgammon crafted by local creative Paul Cousins. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Vernon man creates board game, hosts competition

It’s best described as a combination of backgammon and checkers

It’s best described as a combination of backgammon and checkers.

However, unlike its counterparts that boast origins dating back to before the common era, Gambit was conceived by Vernon’s own Paul Cousins on Christmas Eve of 2016 and holds its inaugural tournament at the Prestige Inn Jan. 6.

“Board games become part of our culture when winter hits,” Cousins said. “Actually, it’s one of those things that just kind of come to you when you sit in the tub.”

It all started when Cousins’ granddaughter was visiting for the holidays and the family was looking for an activity to do together. Cousins — who also plays music and writes poetry — grabbed a plank of wood, took it to his shop, and Gambit was born.

“It’s all ages,” Cousins said. “Anyone who can count to six can play. It can also help improve mental dexterity for people with dementia.”

Two players take charge at either end of the handmade board where four to eight marbles, with more marbles correlating with more difficult gameplay, stand in a line. In the commonly played battle mode, players are tasked with lining their pieces up at the other players’ starting line. Two dice are rolled to determine the move, and when a player lands on their opponents marble, the opponent is sent back to home base. Play time ranges from 15 to 30 minutes per game, depending on difficulty and the game mode, Cousins said. And while the concept is simple, strategy is where the game comes to life.

“My granddaughter can beat me at this game and she thinks that’s great,” Cousins laughed. “I know it’s a pretty good game because my wife isn’t into board games and we play every weekend.”

And it’s a concept Cousins said has gained traction, garnering interest from several renowned game makers and recognition from the community.

“Ravensburger said that people want to play it again straight away,” Cousins said.

But for now, production remains under the roof of Cousins’ garage, with less than 100 boards in circulation and roughly 15 minutes of work put into crafting each set.

To help spark interest in his creation, Cousins announced the games’ opening tournament with a chance to win $1,000 in prize money.

“If you want to get it out there, you have to get it in front of people,” Cousins said.

The tournament places participants into three age categories: under 12, under 19 and 19-and-over, with games lasting for about four hours per group and a total of 64 participants required. Players will compete in all three game modes: break out, battle and sprint.

“Everyone has an equal opportunity to win,” Cousins said. “Anyone who likes checkers or backgammon can pick it up easily.”

To help keep the playing field even, tournament and game rules are announced 24 hours ahead of the tournament and an orientation is held before kick off.

“And then it’s game time.”

Registration for the inaugural Gambit tournament is $10, or $50 for registration and a game board. Email info@gambitboard.ca to confirm registration. All games are played at the Prestige Inn, with start time of 10 a.m. for the 12-and-under category, 1 p.m. for 19-and-under and 4 p.m. for 19-and-above. Refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information, visit www.gambitboard.ca.


@VernonNews
entertainment@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Paul Cousins shows off his new board game, Gambit, conceived on Christmas Eve of 2016. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Pedestrian struck in downtown Vernon

Firefighters, ambulance and RCMP responding to incident

New attainable homes for Enderby seniors and veterans

Habitat for Humanity and Enderby Legion team up to provide attainable housing, office space

Vernon’s Together for Christmas group gathering donations for annual dinner

Together for Christmas has brought people together on Christmas Day for 11 years

SilverStar to host last 2019 pride event in North America

Rebellious Unicorns and SilverStar team up for Peak Pride in Vernon

Okanagan College students to host small press book fair in Vernon

Local novelist Laisha Rosnau among the featured writers and publishers in attendance

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

Convicted child rapist loses sentence appeal in Kelowna

The man was sentenced to seven years in prison in December 2016

Representing himself, Okanagan inmate delays trial

Afshin Maleki Ighani trial adjourned until Nov. 21

Man steals poppy box from South Okanagan grocery store

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying male in surveillance footage

Okanagan Home Hardware centres raise $37,486 for breast cancer research

Donations made throughout October and were matched by Home Hardware

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

Penticton makes Maclean’s list of most dangerous Canadian cities again

City of Penticton was ranked 16th in 2018, and now ranks 19th in 2019

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Okanagan woman named one of WXN Canada’s top 100 most powerful women

This is the third year in a row Renee Merrifield has been named in the top 100

Most Read