We know what you're thinking - 'that's just a couple of corks.' It's not, it's Corx. A new game totally unlike any other that has gone before is a rarity. And if that game merits attention because of its universal appeal, simplicity and sheer addictiveness then we're talking ultra, Lost Ark of the Covenant rare. Corx, then, would have cinematic whip-cracking archaeologists frothing in awe.
The beauty of Corx lies is in its simplicity. Holding the two playing pieces at an angle, you drop them simultaneously onto a flat surface attempting to make them stand on end. With the narrow, red end upright, you score a point; the thicker, black end scores two. Classic Corx is a first-to-21 face-off, whereas Corx one 0 one requires stamina to build little breaks and sticking before you flop (a no-scoring drop) in a race to 101 points. You can invent your own variants - and we'd love to hear about them.
Not that we're comparing it directly, but the closest game to Corx we can think of is Pass The Pigs, and that has sold 40 million copies to date. But Corx has much more going for it than lobbing a couple of plastic porkers in the air. Its own language - a Pure Six is five double blacks and a single red for 21 points; a Red Elvis is the person with dodgy technique or an annoying snort when they drop - plus the unique infusion of Zen principles with hand-eye coordination and pub suitability. We've even been laying a few wagers on the outcomes of matches.
Every playing piece has one of 12 characters depicted on it, and each Corx pack has a random pair of characters. Far from being mere decoration, we've found that if it comes down to scoring a Red Eye or Black Eye to finish - that's a single red or black, Corx terminology students - picking a favourite or the character who has done best for you during a game seriously increases the chances of success. Or, at least, it seems to...
The thought of 24g of agglomerated cork capturing the imagination without two bottles of champagne below it seems ridiculous. But Corx somehow transcends its humble construction to achieve something special.