“Amtsschimmelpilzernte” is a card game about German officialese – the secret language of the bureaucratic world that no one really seems to understand. The game is based on a traditional Japanese game called karuta, which is somewhat similar to the game of memory. Although it has its origins in the 8th century, karuta is still a very popular, often educational game, that I also have played as a child.
As a foreigner in Germany, I was fascinated by Amtsdeutsch – the language of German officialdom – right from the start. However, I came to realise that, even for Germans, Amtsdeutsch is a curious phenomenon. Words like “Spontanvegetation” (spontaneous vegetation) for weeds and “Personenvereinzelungsanlage” (person-isolating unit) for a turnstile are just as bizarre for native German speakers as it is for me. At the same time, this convoluted gobbledygook opens up a world of absurd and delightful images.
“Amtsschimmelpilzernte” is a game that combine a variety of cultural aspects: the German world of bureaucratic lingo, the traditional game culture of Japan, and my love for absurd illustration.