Fifteen for Two... (An Entry in the Family Game Night W/O)Jul 8, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in ToysThe Bottom Line Let MNM explain the classic card game and its use in modern society for you...
When cyberfriend Linda asked me to participate in her Family Game Night Write-Off, I was a bit hesitant. After all, the games played here in Hollywood such as 'Sell the Secret to the Tabloid', 'Derail the Production Deal' and 'Musical Beds' are not usually recommended as fun for the entire family (unless your surname is Spelling). Then there are the games that Norman and I play here at Chateau Maine including 'Hide the Intoxicant', 'Blame the Spouse for the Career Setback', and 'Turn the Spare Room into Storage for Infomercial Merchandise' - again, not usually appropriate for creating harmonious family life.
I took the problem to the latest meeting of the Studio Kids. The Studio Kids is an informal group consisting of stars from the good old days, when the studio system ran Hollywood. We get together once a month or so for dinner and drinks and to reminisce. We had dinner and a meeting last Friday over at June Allyson's house. Usually, I don't like to go to June's as the floors tend to be a bit slippery but I put on my rubber soled tap shoes and my Skimbleshanks gown from my GlamorPuss collection and headed off.
After dinner and coffee, we settled in with cards. There were several bridge tables going but Debbie Reynolds and I both have trouble counting cards so we opted instead for a friendly game of cribbage. We were busy arguing over which cribbage board to use when it struck me - the perfect family game! It requires nothing more than a deck of cards and a cribbage board and can be played by 2-4 players. It also helps sharpen math and pattern recognition skills in the young.
Cribbage is one of the most ancient of the card games still played commonly today. It developed sometime between the 14th and 15th centuries out of a still earlier game called Noddy and was pretty well codified by 1600. A cribbage game is won by the first person to score more than a 120 points. Score is traditionally kept on a board drilled with holes with movable pegs (the cribbage board). Cribbage boards can be made from any material or can be bought at the five and dime in plastic for under $5.00. As befits a star of my status, mine is carved walrus ivory with scrimshaw motifs. The board is usually four rows of 30 holes each, called streets. The person who completes four streets first wins the game.
In two person cribbage, each player is dealt six cards; you are allowed to keep four of these cards - the other two are discarded to a spare hand (the crib) which will later be played by the dealer. Deal alternates. The dealer then turns up a card after the non-dealer cuts the deck. This fifth card is combined with each players hand and with the crib for determining scores. There are slight variations for three and four handed cribbage.
Before the hands are scored, they are played. The non-dealer places a card on the table. The dealer than places a card and play alternates. Points are gained if the sum of the cards equals fifteen or if the cards are paired or in a run. Cards are worth their face value with the face cards being ten each. The total sum of the cards out must never exceed thirty-one (bonus points if you hit it exactly). If you cannot play without going over, your opponent keeps playing until neither one of you can go and you start again from zero.
Once all cards are played, hands are scored. The non-dealer scores first. Points are gained for cards that sum to fifteen, pairs or more of a kind, runs of three or more, and flushes. It's important, especially in a close game, that scores be counted in the proper order as it is the first person to peg out with the one hundred and twenty first point who wins. The dealer than scores his or her hand and then the extra hand or crib.
Learning cribbage, as its rules are a bit confusing to new players, is best done by playing with an experienced player. Once the sequence of play is familiar and the strategy for keeping or discarding cards is known, you can pick it up in an hour. If no experienced player is available, many common card game software packages include cribbage and it's easy to learn or improve your game playing the computer. I prefer the Hoyle Card Games from Sierra Software.
Cribbage is also an ideal card game for children older than about seven or eight. To be successful, you need to add in your head and sharpen your math skills. You need to recognize common patterns in dealt cards and know how to exploit them. It's also a game where the kids can easily beat their parents without the parents having to cheat as much of winning is often in the luck of the draw. In addition, cribbage is a good portable social skill and is easily adaptable for travel or other confined spaces in ways that other common card games are not.
On Friday, I beat Debbie two games out of three - I kept getting all the fives. We're set for a rematch this next week. She has a lot of decks of cards left from her casino...
This review is apart of the Family Game Night Write-Off hosted by Wanbli_Gleska. The purpose of this write-off is to encourage families to spend more time together. Argonut has been so gracious in setting up a web page that makes it easy to access the reviews. Please take the time to check out great Family Game Night games reviewed by the following participants.
The following individual epinioneers are participating...
My gracious good thanks to Linda (Wanbli_Gleska) for her invitation to contribute to this write-off and be in the company of so many other fine epinions writers.
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