The logo for the new Blacktip Island Duck Duck Goose League, launched this week by the Caribbean island’s domino players. (graphic courtesy of SeizureDog)
A group of Blacktip Island dominoes enthusiasts this week launched the Blacktip Island Duck Duck Goose League, the Caribbean’s first ongoing duck duck goose competition, based on the popular children’s game, organizers said.
“Bunch of us sitting around, you know, two playing dominoes and six watching, and we wanted to do something different,” James Conlee said. “Turns out, duck duck goose is a perfect drinking game. Everyone can play.
“Got simple rules and checks how drunk you are,” Conlee said. “Everybody sits in a circle, facing in, and one player walks behind them tapping each ‘duck’s’ head until he picks a ‘goose.’ Then the goose chases the picker to keep from being the next picker.”
Players say the game is more challenging than it seems.
“Gets harder when more people’re playing, ‘cause you got to run farther,” Peachy Bottoms said. “And if you’re the goose a bunch, you can get sick from all the running. It’s not a kids game anymore. We made it a sport.
“Drinking’s required, just like in dominoes, and each player has to take a drink between rounds,” Bottoms said. “Only other rule is you can’t run with your drink. We had too many spilled drinks and fights breaking out over that.”
Players say game strategy is constantly evolving.
“It’s a game of wits, more than anything,” Clete Horn said. “Antonio’s unholy hell. It’s like he knows you’re going to ‘goose’ him. And Lee Helm’s slow on the uptake, but he’s fast. He’ll catch you every time. There’s a trick to beating them, but I’m not sharing.
“Then after dark, there’s a bonfire in the center of the ring that complicates things,” Horn said. “Makes it hard to tell who’s who, especially when the booze kicks in. I’ve picked more than one goose I wished was a duck late in the evenings.”
Island authorities were ambivalent about the league.
“Anything that keeps that crew occupied, not fighting and off the road is a blessing,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “The game’s popular, so I know right where to find the troublemakers.
“On the other hand, people are wagering on who’ll win,” Marquette said. “There’s a lot of illegal money changing hands. I’ve had to arrest three people already for gambling, and the jail only has the one cell.”
The game has proved popular with island visitors as well.
“We stumbled across it exploring the island,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort guest Louise Limpet said. “We wandered behind the store and there were grown ups chasing each other around a circle.
“After a while, a couple of us joined in,” Limpet said. “It’s like being in kindergarten again. But with beer.”