'Gentleman' spoofing champion sought

The trophy the spoofers will be striving to win in Queenstown tonight. Photo supplied.
The trophy the spoofers will be striving to win in Queenstown tonight. Photo supplied.
The search to find the ''greatest spoofer in the land'' will be on at SkyCity Queenstown Casino tonight, in a game in which gloating is frowned on and women are banned.

Spoofing is a strategy game that originated in the United Kingdom but has gained an international competitive following, with national championships held in countries including Fiji, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Greenland, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

World Championships are held annually. The next will be in Melbourne in June.

Spoofing rules committee member Tristan Franklin said the invitation-only Queenstown Championships, now in their sixth year, would comprise about 30 players, including three former world champions, along with New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Fiji champions, all living in New Zealand. Mr Franklin said the game came with 14 rules, which were ''strictly adhered to'', largely involving the purchase of bottles of port.

''If there's a missed call or a false call, then you have to buy a bottle of port.''

Gloating when getting out of a school (or round) by winning was ''severely frowned upon''.

Potentially, one of the most controversial rules relates to the exclusion of women. The rules state it is a ''gentleman's game'' and ''members of the female persuasion in general should be discouraged from spoofing''. They can play only on the last Tuesday before Christmas.

Mr Franklin said while some new-generation spoofers were happy for women to take part, traditional spoofers were not of the same school of thought.

However, Queenstown Spoofing Championships organiser Murray Cockburn said the reason for the rule was simple.

''Women ... are too good at it.''

Mr Cockburn, who has been spoofing for about 20 years, said the game was often played in pubs before rugby test matches as a way of ''filling in time''.

''It's become a cult thing - Murray Mexted [former All Black and rugby commentator] is a double world champion.''

After registration at the SkyCity Queenstown Casino tonight, the repechage rounds would begin before the Queenstown Spoofing Champion was crowned as ''The Greatest Spoofer in the Land''.

How to spoof
The rules of spoofing
Spoofing involves groups of players - with numbers per group varying - each with three coins of equal size.

On command, players must present a closed fist containing anything from zero to three coins; in each round the objective is for players to guess the aggregate number of coins being concealed.

The player who guesses the correct number exits the school (or group) and normally proceeds to the ''purveyor of spiritous liqueurs'' (or bar) to order a round for all contestants.

Remaining players continue until there are two left in the school, with the ultimate loser required either to purchase drinks for the other players or reimburse the winner for monies paid.

Spoofing can either be played socially or competitively. The latter involves formal preliminaries, quarterfinals, semifinals and a final.

Many of the penalties for breaching the rules requires purchasing a bottle of port.

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