Dicenysis – God of Board Games

Dicenysis is the God of Board Games and a psychopomp. You may think that the phrase “dicing with death” is just a saying.

It isn’t.

Until 1957 Dicenysis was just a standard skeletal psychopomp, helping shuffle hapless souls to the underworld. Everything changed with the release of the classic film “The Seventh Seal”. Suddenly everyone wanted to gamble on a game for another chance at life. In a very short time Dicenysis became familiar with, and supremely skilled at, all known table top games from around the world. The world of gaming became his Dominion. Well, we can’t have the mortals getting away with that kind of thing.

Worshippers believe that, upon death, Dicenysis appears to us all. If you are not a worshipper of Dicenysis, you have to challenge him to a board game for your life. Therefore, Dicenysis gets to choose the game. He is said to favour an unusual form of Kerplunk! where he will impale himself through the rib cage with a bundle of skewers and then drink several of gallons of marbles. When in a mischievous mood, he will challenge you to a round of Twister (being able to disassemble and rearticulate your own bones as required is a bit of an unfair advantage). If you lived a particularly amoral life, he will make you play an extremely gory version of Operation where you are the playing board (if your nose lights up, it’s all over). If you lose, no matter how often you say sorry, Dicenysis will give you a ticket to ride to the afterlife.

If you are a devout and devoted follower, Dicenysis will extend the honour of challenging you to a game. This gives you the advantage of choosing the board of battle. This doesn’t really help most people, but it’s nice to get to choose your last game. (It is a bit of a risk to go for a strategic game though.) There are a few of the holy mystics of Dicenysis who appear to be incredibly ancient. The way they achieve this longevity is a closely guarded secret, but I will reveal it to you now. When you are almost dead, and Dicenysis appears to you and offers you the challenge of a game, the game you should choose is Mousetrap. As this game is infuriatingly, engagingly impossible to complete, Dicenysis will get fed up, give up and allow you safe passage back to the corporeal realm. Actually. That is all lies. The game that Dicenysis is really playing is “The Game”, and you just lost it.

Despite accepting that they will ultimately be defeated, worshippers of Dicenysis will spend their entire lives honing their board gaming skills. They see life as a journey of spiritual preparation and practice for the “One Great Game” that they will play when their mortal thread is about to be severed. To this end, they will gather to perform the ritual of playing together, often late into the night.

A rite commences with the ritualistic laying out of the board upon the altar and “the gathering of the snacks”. The cards and pieces are ceremonially checked to be all present and correct. Each ritual is usually officiated by 2-6 Priests (Ages 8-80). At the climax of the rite, some sheep will be burned on a ritual pyre in sacrifice to Dicenysis. At the end of the rite the game board and the altar are ceremonially flipped over. The pieces are scattered everywhere, and the priests scrabble to pick them up. The temple’s sacrifice stores are always kept well stocked these days. No one wants a repeat of the incident when they ran out of fuel for the pyre. This left a massively embarrassed Priest running around, asking all the congregation whether they had wood for his sheep. Another time they couldn’t get any sheep and ended up trying to stick cotton wool on some porkers. This attempt to pass the pigs off did not succeed.

Dicenysis’ faith is a popular one. There are temples all over the world and the largest of them is located in Carcassonne. The roofs of Dicenysis’ temples are all tiled with letters. Sadly, like the lead flashing on the roofs of other religious buildings, these letter tiles are prone to theft. Z and Q are stolen the most often. Another notable feature of Dicenysis’ temples are their doorbells. They are comprised of a clear Perspex dome containing a pair of dice. When you press the doorbell, it makes a satisfying click, and the dice dance with. If you want do look inside or attend a rite, you must roll a six to enter. Inside, Temples of Dicenysis are pleasant and welcoming places, furnished with large tables and comfortable chairs. The walls will be lined with an impressive library of board games. The priesthood will be in attendance to counsel you and help you negotiate the rules of this game of life. The way of Dicenysis is said to be excellent for teaching conflict resolution and fair play. For example, when two Dicenysians bump into one another trying to get through the same doorway, they will throw a dice to see who gets to go first. However, sadly, they are not very tolerant of other religions. The priesthood of Dicenysis like to have the monopoly. The current leader of the faith is High Priestess Kathryn Anne (known as Kat). She was not the first choice when the previous incumbent left the post, but they settled for her.

The faith of Dicenysis contains small parts and is not suitable for children under 3.

Thank you to Clare Starkie and Rebecca Stothard for suggesting a deity of board games, and to Clare Starkie for coming up with the name Dicenysis.

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