The Green Bay Packers do not subscribe to the stereotypes of professional football players. You might see them as rough-and-tumble brutes who love crushing bones and spirits.
That may be true for some. But according to The Wall Street Journal, a select group of Packers players have another shared identity -- that of Settlers of Catan players.
Apparently, a handful of Packers have become avid fans of Catan, a strategic board game set in feudalistic times. The game, which has a die-hard following among many board game fans, can take hours to complete a single game. Players work to build their own feudalistic empire while simultaneously thwarting the efforts of their rivals.
As you might expect, it's a thrilling, addictive and frustrating game.
"At first we're like, 'What the hell is this? Brick? Wool? What kind of game is this?'" said center Corey Linsley.
But those feelings didn't last long. Players got hooked, and invested themselves deeply into the marathon games. When controversies break out, some of the Packers players get animated and protest. Other times, losses can drive certain players to slam down hard on the game board.
Once players started sharing on local radio their passion for the game, locals in Green Bay flocked to Gnome Games, a store that sells Catan. The owner told the WSJ that the game has exploded ever since, forcing him to unexpectedly re-stock before Christmas.
"When the average person sees the Packers doing it, it becomes a safe thing," the store's owner told the WSJ. "It’s not the kids in mom’s basement anymore."