GOTCHA! A Wilderness Game
for Two Players
OTCHA® is an ancient game of skill for two players, a Gotcher and a Gotchee. Just about anyone can play GOTCHA®, but it is most enjoyable if the Gotcher belongs to one of the families felidae, ursidae, procyonidae, mustelidae, or canidae, and the Gotchee to one of the families bovidae, suidae, sciuridae, cricetidae, muridae, cebidae, equidae, or leporidae.
I. STARTING THE GAME
Play begins when the Gotcher selects his opponent, the Gotchee, from among the wide range of choices available. He signals his selection by moving rapidly toward the chosen Gotchee, and the game is on!
II. WINNING THE GAME
The Gotchee wins whenever he succeeds in outrunning the Gotcher, or climbing high in a tree, or running down a hole in the ground, or otherwise putting himself beyond the reach of the Gotcher. The Gotcher then concedes defeat by standing still. It is traditional for the Gotchee to signify victory by contemptuously snorting and tossing his head.
Contrariwise, the Gotcher wins by seizing the Gotchee and holding him down for a count of three, meanwhile crying "Gotcha!" The Gotchee acknowledges defeat by becoming still. It is customary for the two players then to settle down together for a leisurely meal; the Gotchee is responsible for providing the food, while the Gotcher takes care of the cleaning-up.
NOTES ON GOTCHA!
Gotcha® is by far the most widely-played game on the planet Earth. It is estimated that, in 1990 alone, more than three trillion games were played just among the families named above. In these games, the Gotchees are obviously the more skillful players-- they consistently win more than 70% of all games played, year after year.
In spite of their prowess at Gotcha®, the Gotchees show a universal reluctance to play. Virtually all games are initiated by Gotchers. However, once a Gotchee is picked by an opponent, he quickly enters into the spirit of the game, and tries his level best to win. That's what makes watching Gotcha® such an enjoyable spectator sport.
It is characteristic of Gotchees to be magnanimous winners and Gotchers graceful losers-- perhaps because the former players win, and the latter lose, so often. Sportsmanlike gestures or vocali-zations are often heard after a Gotchee victory, along the lines of, "Ho! Looks like I beat you again!", and, "That you did-- good show, little fellow!" On the other hand, the Gotchers are typically vengeful winners and the Gotchees sore losers. A Gotcher win can thus bring on an ill-tempered exchange, starting with the Gotcher's triumphant shout of "Gotcha!". However, by the time the players are midway through the traditional post-game meal, things are usually quiet and calm.
One Gotcher family, the Felidae, have peculiar way of celebrating their successes at Gotcha®. Felidae wins are so rare (about one game in five) that they seem to enjoy reprising the last few seconds of the game just played. Gotcher and Gotchee will do this "instant replay" again and again until the players tire of it (the Gotchee rather more quickly than the Gotcher) and the feline Gotcher terminates the proceedings.
Another Gotcher family, the Canidae, often play a variation of Gotcha® in which a single Gotchee is matched against two or more Gotchers. The canine players report that this gives them a better chance to win. The International Gotcha! Association is currently reviewing a large number of formal protests from Gotchee players as to unfair Canidae tactics; it is uncertain what their final ruling will be, but they did rule in 1988 that a Gotcher win in multiple-Gotcher games must be credited as equal fractional amounts to all Gotcher players, rather than as full wins for each player.(printer friendly version)