Calvin’s Commentaries: Cribbage: The Board Game

One of my easy top-10 games to play is cribbage.

I love its quirky counting rules, and that it plays two, three, or four players equally well.

Cribbage dates back to around 1630, and typically games that hold their popularity for centuries foster variants. People are always attempting to improve on the classics; rummy, whist, checkers, backgammon, chess, and naturally cribbage.

There are some 20 cribbage variants out there, depending on how far from the root game you want to venture and still consider it a variant and not a completely new idea.

While none of the variants played to-date have outshone the base game, a few have been rather enjoyable on their merit.

One such game is Cribbage: The Board Game from designers Wayne Tardif and Myles Warken, both originally from Saskatchewan; and it’s more recent incarnation Screw You Cribbage. The two games are essentially the same with the more recent version adding a dice roll at the end of a round that frankly, we have ignored as unnecessary.

The idea of cribbage on a board works wonderfully well without the pasted-on dice toss, although it might be something some players like.

The core game though, that now dates back about 30-years, is one cribbage fans should consider acquiring. It’s not the best cribbage variant; that is easily King’s Cribbage that will be a review here soon, but the board game is easily number two.

The game has players each dealt 12-cards, with the 25th seeded face down to the center of a 5X5 card grid. In this edition, the board is a bright red and nicely done.

The player’s 12 cards are kept face down, each drawing a hand of three from their draw pile.

Players then take turns playing a card face up to the board grid.

One player is attempting to create the best five-card cribbage hands on the horizontal lines, the opponent scores on the vertical lines.

The trick is finding the balance of creating good scoring hands and at times blocking your opponent to prevent them from getting too good a row.

Points are tracked on a regular cribbage board you have to supply, or a score pad that’s included.

If it were just laying out cards, this might become a tad boring, or at least redundant. However, 13 card spots on the grid represent the 13 cards of each suit in a deck. Play a card matching the illustrated card to that spot, you peg two points for a pair. Drop a seven on the eight, or similar combo, you get to peg for scoring a 15. This aspect keeps you focused on possibilities, and late in-game can be a viable option for scoring the final points to win.

This is a must-have for variety sake for cribbage fans and can be purchased through

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