Perudo fans flock to Scotland for championships

FOLLOWERS of a popular game most commonly played in Brazil are flocking to Scotland for the first championships here in almost 20 years.

Ian Smith with his Perudo game at home in Glasgow. Picture: Robert Perry

Just as international attention turns to the South American country for the football World Cup, aficionados of the cup and dice game called perudo are heading to Glasgow for the Scottish championships.

The event is one of three regional heats to take place in the UK with the winners playing in the final at the Groucho Club in London.

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Perudo, also known as liars’ dice, traces its origins as far back as the 16th century

It is a popular dice and cup game most commonly played on the streets of Brazil.

But while the Latin American country is currently turning its attentions to another game - football - ahead of the impending World Cup, afficionados of Perudo are flocking to Scotland to compete for a place in the first Scottish Championships of the game held in almost twenty years.

The Scottish event, which is one of three regional heats to take place in the UK, will be held in Glasgow. The winners of the round then can play in the UK final of the game - commonly known as Liars’ Dice - at the Groucho Club in London.

The game, which traces its origins back as far as the 16th century and is popular with celebrities including Sting, Sienna Miller and Stephen Fry, began in Peru at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire.

It has since spread in popularity among many south American countries in South America to countries such as Argentina and Chile, but is most popular in Brazil. It also featured in the film the Pirates of the Caribbean, where the stakes are years of undead service aboard the Flying Dutchman under Captain Davy Jones.

Up to 100 people are expected to compete at the UK final in London – including around five winners from Scotland.

“People take perudo very seriously,” said Richard Wells, sales director at Paul Lamond Games, which runs the championship. “I think t There are two main things which attract people to the game – the relative simplicity: you can play it anytime and anywhere and you don’t need a big board; but also there’s a massive addictive element to it. Finally, to be a good perudo player, you need to be able to look your loved ones square in the eye and lie to them.”

Ian Smith, who won the last Scottish Championship in 1996 and then went on to play in the UK final, plans to return to challenge for his title this year. A Scottish Championship has not been held since his win.

“It’s a mystery to me why this game hasn’t taken off more here,” said Smith, 43, a director of a golf insurance company. “There’s a big buzz about it among the socialites of London, but it doesn’t appear to have spread.

“Everyone I’ve ever introduced to it loves it. I suppose I am still the Scottish champion as there has never been another tournament here since – I’m looking forward to defending my title.”

He happened on the game in the bar where the last Scottish Championship took place 18 years ago.

“I was sitting having a beer in the pub where my girlfriend worked and someone came up and asked if I wanted to take part,” he said. “They spent five minutes teaching me the game and four hours later, I’d won the championship.”

Smith has since played perudo regularly, introducing it to members of his board game club, which meets weekly in Glasgow. “I probably would have come across it by now, due to my interest in board games generally, but I doubt I’d have spent the last 20 years forcing the game on all of my friends if that night hadn’t happened,” he added.

Perudo is also known as “dudo” – the Spanish for “I doubt” – as well as “cacho”, “pico”, “cachito” or “dadinho”. When Cosmo Fry, who launched the commercial version of the game in the UK 25 years ago, tried to register it as Dudo, it ran into copyright problems with Cluedo and Ludo, so devised the name “perudo”.

The Scottish Championships - one of three regional competitions in the UK - is to take place on 1 July in CitizenM hotel, Glasgow.