If you are like me, you grew up playing card and board games. I remember spending many hours on some days sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk (it hurts to even think about this now), rolling the dice and buying up property on the Monopoly board, flicking off the occasional ant or other small creature who dared to invade our little town. Bedtime would roll around and we would carefully put the board somewhere safe so that it would not get messed up. Money was put away in envelopes with each players names, and a note was made of whose turn it would be the next day when we reconvened to play some more.
Monopoly was one of my very favorite board games as a child. But card games held a longer lasting fascination for me. I can't tell you the last time I played Monopoly, and the last board game I played was probably Go, but as I have gotten older (I am currently 53), I have found games like Chess and Go a bit too cerebral for me. My old gray cells just don't work as well as they used to. Or perhaps I just don't have the patience for a game where each player spends minutes (which can seem like hours) plotting their next move. Card games, at least for me, are just faster and more fun!
In today's technological world, I have been saddened to see the old-fashioned play of board and card games declining. I am also disheartened by the fact that many third-generation European-Americans, and even some second and first, are not familiar with the wonderful traditional card games of their ancestral homeland! Somewhere along the line, parents and grandparent just seemed to stop teaching their young family members the games from the old country. In fact, in talking to some Italian-Americans recently, I learned that even though they witnessed their parents and grandparents playing Scopa and Briscola, they were not welcome to play, nor even to learn! I find this absolutely atrocious, as well as irresponsible! Call me old-fashioned (please, do!), but I believe that it is important to keep many of the traditions from the old country alive. The food, the music, the language, and MOST importantly, the card games! Alright, I admit, I'm a bit biased, but since I have finally gotten around to starting this blog, I need to be honest about my opinion (and I do realize it is an opinion). In case you're wondering, the food would be second on my list! And the two go so well together!
So, the world has been seeing its great card games on the decline. The chances of anyone learning the games their elders didn't teach them has become very slim, as it has been difficult, if not impossible, to find written rules to these games in the English language. That is, until the internet came along!
I am happy to say that there is an increasing amount of information available online regarding foreign card games. Wikipedia has a pretty good list of card game rules available, and there is an outstanding website dedicated to providing rules to card and tile games from all over the world. It is known simply as the Card Games website. The site just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and a birthday interview with its creator, John McLeod, can be found at http://www.pagat.com/birthday.html. I recommend that this site, including the interview, be your next destination after you are finished reading this blog post. You will not be disappointed!
As game-lovers the world over are discovering, or rediscovering, some of these foreign games, I am happy to be part of the process of getting them to sit down with friends or family again to play! I am doing this by not only providing a place from which one can purchase the appropriate card decks, but also by being VERY active in teaching and promoting European card games on a local level (Cleveland area, Ohio). Check out my social group, the Cleveland Card Game Players, now in six divisions.
Well, there it is. I have finally finished my very first blog post. I am not sure how good I will be at making it a regular activity, but I welcome your feedback. If you have not yet done so, please return to the home page and Like AND Share us on Facebook! Be part of what I like to think of as a gaming revolution, getting people to put down the mobile devices and actually interact with each other again, face to face, across the card table!
Good cards to all of you!
Gary Brunger (TaroBear)