June 30, 2014

Basque Country Game of Dobles

How about taking a trip to Basque Country without leaving the comforts of home? Basque Country encompasses 7 provinces in northeastern Spain and southwestern France and is located amongst the Pyrenees Mountains. Four of the provinces are Spanish; Vizcaya, Guipúzcoa, Navarra, and Alava, while rest are located in France; Labourd, Basse-Navarre, and Soule. Altogether, this territory is called Euskadi or the[...]
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June 26, 2014

Sweep Up the Points and the Fun
with Italian Favorites Punto and Scopa!

Say arrivederci to your standard playing cards and ciao to an Italian card deck! An Italian deck is made up of 40 cards instead of 52 and contains 4 different suits. Instead of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, the suits are cups, gold or coins, swords and batons (clubs). A suit is numbered 1 through 7 and has 3 face cards. Italian card decks vary in pattern. Italy was originally divided into 16 independent[...]
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June 23, 2014

The Classic Games of Mhing and Mah Jongg

Years ago, I bought a no-frills Mah Jongg game with cardboard tiles and plastic racks and commenced to learning it. Mah Jongg is a tile game that plays similar to the card game of Rummy, but is more interesting because of its appealing graphics and the possibility for some real strategy. (Talk about strategy – I found entire books written about it!) The mechanics were simple, but the tactical side of[...]
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June 19, 2014

Frying Up the Fun with Skill-It!

In 1967, my parents sold our home and began building a brand new one. To me this was great news because I was finally going to have a room of my own! The bad news was that our family would have to live in a rental house until the new house construction was complete. The rented house was a small, turn of the century farmhouse on a busy road in a more industrial side of town. The wood shingle siding had seen[...]
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June 16, 2014

The Challenging Yet Prolific 1930’s

You’ve heard the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, right? This age old adage characterizes life in America in the 1930’s. The 1929 Wall Street stock market crash sent the country into a 10 year economic depression. The 1930’s began with an unemployment rate of approximately 25%. Lack of confidence in the banking system caused thousands of banks to fail. With a rapid reduction[...]
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June 12, 2014

Incan King Atahualpa and the Game of Perudo

The Incan Empire encompassed about 386,000 square miles and was located in the region occupied by present day Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The untimely deaths of its ruler, Huayna Capac along with his successor, pit sons Atahualpa and Huáscar in a fight for the throne. The empire is split into two; Atahualpa rules the northern territory and Huáscar the south. The two brothers battle it out[...]
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June 9, 2014

Give Perquackey a Roll!

Perquackey, a classic word game, has been around since 1956! If you haven’t tried it yet, how about giving it a roll now??? Here’s what you’ll need to get started with a Perquackey test drive. Cut out 13 small squares of paper, all the same size. Grab a pen or pencil, a pad of paper and a timer (one built into a cellphone works great). The game works best when played by at least 2 players,[...]
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June 5, 2014

Japanese Flower Cards

Japanese flower cards, or Hanafuda, have been in existence for over 400 years. Unlike traditional playing cards, these cards are without suit or rank. Each card in the deck is ornamented differently with colorful Asian graphics featuring flora and fauna. The special 48 card deck contains 12 suits, each representing one of the 12 months of the year. There are 4 different types of cards; lights, animals, poetry[...]
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June 2, 2014

Sowing Seeds with Mancala

Imagine an ancient farmer poking 12 divots into the ground and carving a long furrow at each end with a stick. He pulls a handful of seeds from his pocket and WA-LA – there it is – a game board and pieces! (No need to run to a big box store to buy one!) Mancala, meaning “to move”, actually refers to a genre of board games known as “sowing games” or “count and capture games” rather than[...]
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