Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rediscovering An Old Favorite: Cribbage

Cribbage works on several levels, with interlocking strategies that are a delight to manipulate. As with any card game, you're subject to the luck of the draw, but you can bend that luck in ways other games don't allow. A bad draw doesn't have to correlate to a bad hand. The choice of which cards to unload to the crib (as dealer or non-dealer), what order to lay down cards, and which points to attempt all factor into the strategy.

There really is nothing quite like it in the realm of card play. Despite its layered scoring system (which allows cards to score points more than once) and its unique terminology, it’s a fairly easy game to learn and teach. It also plays like gangbusters. People familiar with the rules and scoring system can knock through a full scoring track in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Thomas L. McDonald recently learned how to play cribbage and has a delightful post up discussing the game. I am indebted to his discovery because it made me suddenly remember that was one of my favorite card games from growing up. My parents played and then we all learned to play. I vaguely remember teaching it to Tom when we were first married ... and then we had children and cribbage-playing time went out the window.

I found and dusted off our little travel-board for scoring, pulled out the Hoyle's Book of Games from the game shelf, and sat down with Rose to rediscover the game that I barely remembered how to play. It was easy to pick up again and easy for Rose to learn. As Thomas points out, within 15 minutes we were both playing as if we'd been doing it nonstop all along. As well, my family had never played with "muggins," "his nobs," and "his heels" so that adds a fun dimension ... as well as one which Rose remembers much better than I do most of the time. Which makes me a muggins more than I'd like!

It really is much simpler than the plethora of scoring rules makes it seem so give it a try if you haven't encountered cribbage before.

1 comment:

  1. That's been one of the pleasures of doing a blog (as I'm sure you already know). When you're pressed to create regular content, you have to explore new things or relearn old ones. Cribbage has been my favorite discovery so far. I'm planning to teach it to everyone in the house.

    And thanks for the compliment!