A wretched role-playing game world created in the late 1960s by (what else?) a group of hyperactive teenagers, Slobbovia holds the distinction of perhaps being the first RPG ever -- a claim made by one of its founding fathers, professional game designer Greg Costikyan.

It began as a version of the childhood game King of the Hill, dubbed "Emperor of Slobbovia" after the Siberia-like country in the comic strip Li'l Abner. As such things will, the game soon took on a life of its own. Eventually the country was mapped, the map became the setting for an extended game of Diplomacy, and the participants began publishing a regular journal with stories describing the exploits of their characters.

This miserable realm of angry people achived fame through a hilarious article written by Costikyan and published in issue #29 of Chaosium's gaming magazine Different Worlds. This article introduced the Slobbovian phrase "Neurse Schivosk!" into gaming geek vocabulary. The colloquial translation would be "Merry Christmas", though literally it means "May you have a better time than you deserve on this cruddy midwinter festival." Since it is the only nice thing you can say in Slobbovian, it is commonly used in that country where we would say "hello", "goodbye", "please" and the like.

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