The Thing Quarterly is basically a subscription service that sends you useable high art objects from some of the most respected contemporary artists and designers of our time. They’ve had Tauba Auerbach made a clock for them and Chris Johanson made cups and Miranda July made a screen: the objects are extreme limited edition goods from super rad people. For Issue 23, The Thing enlisted local painter David Korty to create a something that they could share with subscribers. Korty took this opportunity to make an object that is fun and functional, interactive and group focused: he made up a game.
The Thing this go around is a dice game called Mr. Natural that features six ceramic die made by Oakland’s Atelier Dion. Korty says the game has been spread by word of mouth through Los Angeles and is a point based romp that involves aliases and getting people all worked up about making certain numerical quotas. It’s the kind of game that you can and should play with a bunch of friends after having a few glasses of wine, which is basically how The Thing celebrated the release of the item: they invited their audience to come out and play the game at Night Gallery for a night.
A select group of people had their chance to play in an artsy tournament for $300 in cash. Set across five tables, the groups all got down to business and attempted to out roll each other and achieve a Mr. Natural, which is when you roll a one, two, three, four, five, and six: it’s the most perfect, luckiest roll. There are other points to get—triples give you hundredth equivalents, ones give you a hundred, five give you fifties—and requires very sly playing as you can lose all of your points if you gamble on rolling delinquent die that haven’t earned any points. The game is fun but, as we learned playing, it is very difficult to play correctly without a little guidance. Thankfully, it’s easy to get the hang of.
The game is a hoot and it’s one of those totally LA pairings of aesthetics and humor that really works. It’s also such a simple concept and execution that is easy to fall in love with. People getting their Thing may just go, “Well, these are just dice.” but the game they correspond to really is a hoot and a holler (and, really, you can use the dice for other dice games—Korty just wants you to try Mr. Natural). If your interest is piqued enough, you can give Mr. Natural a go by ordering it here.