Game of Knaves

Cribbage: The game of knaves, or at least of people who like to play cards. (Reported origin: The Wikipedia article on the game says it was invented by a British poet, Sir John Suckling. in the 17th century. Really.)

It’s an official Subject of Interest (SoI) because Thom, home from school for his Christmas break, wants to polish up his skills so that he can beat his roommate next quarter (the roommate has proven dominant in a more cutting-edge entertainment, Madden NFL 2006). So he hunted for our board out in the shed, and the last couple of nights we’ve played. For the uninitiated, it’s a pure numbers game, with a special emphasis on putting together combinations of cards that add up to 15; play too much and you’ll drift off to sleep thinking of great cribbage hands (my favorite: a 4-5-6, with any one of the cards doubled; I can hardly begin to tell you how exciting it is). There’s more to it than that — much more — but that’s a central feature.

Interesting that cribbage has come into the picture. Growing up, my family was given to games like — excluding those of a purely psychological nature — Scrabble,Yahtzee, Milles Bornes, and Monopoly. Chess and Risk sometimes, though the disadvantage of board games was the way they tended to fly into the air at particularly tense moments. Uno. Hearts. Spades. Trivial Pursuit, when it arrived. A made-up trivia game called “the alphabet game.” But no cribs.