Legend has it, that the last person to die of the plague in my hometown was buried upside down in the middle of the city. The aim was to scare off any evil spirits that might want to bring the disease back and harm its citizens. Much later, in 1763 a great cross was erected over the grave to seal the deal with the Big Guy/Gal up there. You might think it’s just medieval mumbo jumbo, but the fact remains: the plague never again reared its ugly head around these parts.

We have a terrific, yet little known board game called My Village. It is very unique in that the workers – game pieces – in the game that you use to select your actions with eventually die. Yes, die. And as morbid as that sounds, the game actually makes this theme somewhat lighthearted by including a cute Grim Reaper and an even cuter rat. Yeah, I see you are not convinced. Let me show you, take a look!

The majority of games nowadays will attempt to give themselves a unique feel with a selection of unique game pieces. These might come in different shapes, sizes, colors or even genders. Not My Village! Here the workers themselves are a generic block of blah (no pants, no skirts, no color) just a black cylinder.

So I thought if everything is so spartan I should do something about the rat. Why him? He is the one who brings the plague, he is essentially the central character, right? He is Death’s little buddy. And I know, I know. Me playing around with plaque in my hometown…

To spice things up I glued two wobbly eyes on the rat’s little head. Then tied a knot on a piece of cord and glued it on it’s rump. And suddenly, just like that Pierre was born!

Pierre the Rat

Honestly, I shy away from using the phrase ‘project’ for what I did here. The entire thing took me about 5 minutes, of which 4 were dedicated to me trying to open the somewhat dried-up rapid glue. And yet, when I try to describe the impact of Pierre’s birth I do want to use a different, much more substantial word than just ‘gluing’.

I suddenly find ourselves whistling as the Rat walks calmly among a slew of unmarked graves. And even though Pierre signals the coming of the plague, the moment when one of your workers drops dead, and will be flung into an unmarked grave (may peace be with him!), you are just smiling. Might it be because he is dancing to the Rat Salsa?

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