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VIDEO: Fergus friends bond together to revive long-lost board game 'waddies'

'It just takes a little bit of practice and having your own touch, and then you’re good to go," says Andy Speers, one of the founders of BortCo

A game once played at legions in Elora and Fergus will soon be available for residents to play at home.

Waddies is a tossing game played with teams of two or one-on-one. Teams takes turns throwing rubber disks called Waddies at a board which has a  three inch hole with rings around it in its centre. 

The game is being produced by a company called BortCo., which is owned by a group of lifelong friends who grew up playing the game in Elora and Fergus.

One of the 11 co-founders of the business is Andy Speers. 

“We’re really excited to share this game, we’ve got a long history with this game and getting to redesign it, we’re excited.” Speers.

Speers explains he learned the game from his grandfather before sharing it with his friends when he was 14.

“He learned this game and played this game in his legion days and he passed along a set of boards to me and he taught me how to play and how to toss,” he says.

See the full interview with Speers below.

Waddies is known for its versatility compared to traditional tossing games as it can be played both outside and inside. 

“It’s just a game that everyone can play,” says Speers, “It certainly has some skill to it, but it just takes a little bit of practice and having your own touch, and then you’re good to go.”

Before playing, Speers recommends pairing this game with a nice refreshment and some comradery.

“I can’t recall how many times I’ve laughed while playing this game,” he says.

Produced within Ontario, the board and merchandise are available now for purchase at waddies.ca. The boards are priced at $119.

“We look at this as very much an artisan product,” says Speers about the Waddies board, “It’s made out of birch wood...beautiful red top, all redesigned rubber Waddies, we really look at it as something people are going to have pride in pulling out.”

Along with selling the boards, Speers says they will be creating video tutorials on rules for the game and techniques players can use during their next match.

Prior to the pandemic, the group of friends and business partners would gather once a year to play the game together. They would host a tournament and give a trophy to the winner of the tournament.

“It could be some random weekend… and we have like eight of us there, and we will all compete for the cup,” says Speers, “It’s been a nice little tradition as well.”

When the pandemic caused restrictions on social gatherings, the group decided to launch their business as a way to work on a project together. Speers explains they now meet online once a week to talk about their business.

“I think we’re still kind of looking at it as a bit of a hobby on top of our real jobs,” he said, mentioning how fun it has been to work with his friends on Waddies.

“It’s awesome to have such a great team working that has so many different strengths.”

Despite knowing that the game is played at the Fergus legion, there is little information available on the history of Waddies. Two of the co-founders wrote a fictional account of the game’s history on their website after imagining how it came to be.

By offering Waddies to the community, he and the other co-founders hope to learn more about its actual history from other residents.

“We’ve been playing this game for like 25-something years and we know there’s lots of other people our age or around our age who know this game and love this game too,” says Speers.

“We’re on a quest to find out more information.”

Once they have enough interest, Speers says he and his co-founders hope to host the first Waddies tournament next January or February at the Fergus legion.

“It’s been really important to us to grow the community,” he says about their work.

“The reason we brought this back to the community is to build community and have some fun together.”