Wicked Wednesday–Card Games

We’re continuing with our Wicked Wednesday game theme. (Our original theme for April, schemes and scams, was judged Too Depressing for the Current Situation by the Board of Directors of Wicked Authors, Limited.) Today, card games.

What is your happiest childhood memory of a card game? Who did you play with?

Jessie: When I was a child, my mother and grandmother both were Rummy enthusiasts and played against each other often. At one time my grandmother was on a losing streak. She told me she would pay me a dollar if I could beat my mum and break her winning streak. I was surprised and delighted when I did and was a fan of the game ever after.

Edith/Maddie: Jessie, I have so many fond memories of playing cards with my mom and my older sisters, including Rummy! My mom tried to teach us Canasta, but it never stuck. We four played cutthroat quadruple Solitaire games (all aces are common) and I still love playing with others. As a child, I could beat any of them at Concentration.

Sherry: We played lots of Spades and Whist growing up. My sister and I played a game called Spit that required two decks of cards and lot of slapping them over. I don’t remember any of the other rules. And even though you didn’t ask I’m going to add the game that I didn’t like. My older sister made me promise to play whatever card game she chose. After I agreed she threw all the cards up in the air and yelled fifty-two card pickup and yes I had to pick them all up. I guess I’m still not over it!

Liz: There is a card game that is very popular in a tiny little corner of Massachusetts called 45s. My grandparents played this game ALL THE TIME – it was a whole thing where they would get together with their friends on weekend nights. It was very serious. And of course, they taught us. I remember playing it with my grandpa – holidays just weren’t complete with a good, competitive round of 45s.

Julie: I played cards a lot as a kid. Gin Rummy or Rummy with my best friend Holly. Crazy 8’s with my sisters. War. Cribbage with my grandfather. Liz, you have to teach me 45!

Barb: I have lots of happy memories of playing cards, but the one that sticks is my brother and me playing War on the front porch of my grandparents’ house at the beach.

What is your favorite card game as an adult?

Jessie: I still like Rummy! But I also like a game called Timeline which is not a traditional game with a deck of playing cards but rather one of inventions or events etc… in history that you guess where they occurred in comparison with the cards in the other players’ hands.

Edith/Maddie: My young friends have taught us No Way (otherwise known as BS), a fun bluffing game.

Sherry: We play a lot of rummy — I think my family has our own set of rules. My husband and I play. If I’m with my mom and sister we play.

Liz: I don’t play cards much anymore – but I think it would still be 45s if anyone I knew could play!

Julie: I don’t play cribbage that often, but would happily play anytime. I play Uno with the nieces and nephews, which is a lot of fun though not played with a traditional deck.

Barb: I played bridge in college but I’ve forgotten too much. My protagonist Jane Darrowfield plays bridge and I had to have a bridge-playing friend review the bridge scenes for me. But my best card-playing moments these days are of not playing, but listening to my extended family members play poker while I read on the other side of the room. The sounds make me so happy.

What do you think is the most unusual card game your family plays–the one maybe the rest of us don’t know?

Jessie: My husband is Brazilian and has brought a Rummy-style game from his boyhood, called Pif to our family. In fact, we played it on Monday evening and had a great time!

Edith/Maddie: My grandfather taught me a version of solitaire called Idle Year. It’s very hard to win!

Sherry: Shanghai rummy is a fun game that you play with at least four people and two decks of cards. I have lovely memories of playing it with my Aunt Pat and Uncle John who were my parent’s dear friends from college.

 Liz: I think I’ve already answered this one inadvertently. I don’t think I realized when I was younger how much of a “Mingya Valley” (a fond nickname for where I grew up) thing this game was until I started asking people at college if they knew it and got a lot of blank stares.

Julie: Back to cribbage–my grandfather loved me, and didn’t take the points I didn’t count. With a lot of games we morphed rules into what worked for us all and kept the peace. Isn’t that the true success of family game night, making up new rules?

Barb: My mother-in-law played a game called Kaluki. I played it just infrequently enough that I could never remember the rules, but my kids learned it well.

Readers: How about you? Favorite card games then and now.


33 Thoughts

  1. What is your happiest childhood memory of a card game? Who did you play with?
    Go Fish and War

    What is your favorite card game as an adult?

    What do you think is the most unusual card game your family plays–the one maybe the rest of us don’t know?
    Alas, don’t play card games with family. But I do love all variations of Solitaire.

  2. As a child I didn’t play the same card games you folks did; I remember playing Authors and Old Maid, but besides my mother I’m not sure who else I played with. Maybe with my brother I played War, but I thought it was a rather stupid card game.

    As an adult I like Solitaire or if the grandkids are here we might play Rummy or Gin Rummy. Still don’t know which is which. My granddaughter and I used to play Slam, a card game making words. It’s very quick and a lot of fun and can get very silly. My grandson has an UNO game he likes to play but I don’t play often enough to remember how to do it. Either that or he and my son make up rules because I never win.

  3. Double solitaire played with my brother always brings back good memories. My brother was 5 years older than me. When we went on vacation to my grandparent’s farm, there was no one else to play with or much to do. I felt like a big kid when we played cards because for a few minutes age didn’t matter.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. When I was a kid, we would go to the Poconos to my grandmother’s house for vacation. When it rained, we would play canasta with her. If we kids were playing alone, we would get every deck in the house (and there were lots, since my grandmother played a lot of bridge) and just keep playing, never going out. I don’t remember the rules anymore, but I do remember all the fun my brothers and I had. Now I play rummy or hearts with my grandkids, or war with the youngest.

  5. In college I played Whist, which I had no idea about. “Hey, Gail! We need a fourth for Whist!” “I don’t know how to play.” “C’mon, we’ll show you.” Led to a bit of an addiction. Also, Crazy 8s, New York style. Similar to Uno, but the most you ever had to draw was 2 cards, not 4. Played with a regular deck. As a young adult, my father introduced me to Sheepshead. He was from German/Czech Milwaukee and I guess it was a big thing there, at least then. All I remember was the Queen of Clubs was huge.

  6. As a kid my favorite card came was a Parker Brothers game called “Flinch.” When I was a young Mom all the “girls” got together once a week to play Tripoly (Also known as Michigan Rummy) We played with a 50 cent limit. Such good times! I don’t play cards anymore. Don’t know why. Maybe I’ll order a vintage Flinch on e-bay!

    1. I have never heard of Flinch. I’m going to look it up. My character Jane Darrowfield joins a bridge group as a young mother. Forty years later they are still playing.

  7. My whole childhood was filled with card games. First was Old Maid and Go Fish with my mother, then we moved on to more complex games – Rummy, Whist, Scat, to name a few. My dad taught me cribbage when I was about seven and cribbage flowed through my youth – playing with my best friend, my boyfriend who became my husband, playing on camping trips with my husband, then with my parents and their crew in the camping club. It’s still something we do when we travel and TV is limited. I remember playing Black Jack in the Senior Lounge my final year of high school. Card games have followed me my whole life. Today I will still play cribbage at the drop of a hat, and I play Solitaire (on my tablet). I just bought a box of card games for my granddaughter’s 4th birthday (in a week) and I look forward to playing those games with her and her brother.

  8. I played Spades and Hearts – and they traumatized me forever. I cannot play them to this day.

    Friends of ours introduced us to this game and I cannot remember the name of it. You get a number of cards, it increases by one for each hand and you have to do either a run or X of a kind (for example, you get four cards and you have to lay down a run of four or four of a kind). I don’t win often, but it’s fun.

  9. I started playing rummy with my grandmother around age 5 or so, then WAR and Spit with my brothers as well as solitaire, lots of solitaire games, Round the C
    lock was my favorite. As an adult I learned Hearts, Spades, Canasta from my husband( his family had serious!! games, no joking during the game, just play) and Euchre from friends who have an annual game night at their house. Mu husband and I play cribbage on his father’s board, as well as the occasional Quests, Uno and Mille Borne which are played with their own deck so maybe those don’t count!

  10. I used to love the family games of Canasta during my childhood vacations. Now, I wish I had the focus to play piquet, an old fashioned game. I once downloaded a program to learn it so I could include it in a scene in a novel, but I’ve already forgotten the rules. Since most card games that require skill also require a good memory, I guess playing piquet is not in the cards for me. 😉

  11. I used to play Spit all the time when I was younger, Sherry, although I think we only used one deck. It was great fun, but definitely a kid’s game. Nowadays my game of choice is poker. Also great fun, but sometimes more expensive!

  12. My earliest memory of card games is playing solitaire next to my parents, who were playing canasta, while we were camping. And yes, we’d all play games together, too. Go Fish is one I remember.

    I’m not sure I have a favorite card game then or now. I really enjoy playing most card games. Despite the fact that the rest of my family is addicted to pinochle, I’ve never warmed to it. I think part of it is they are so insistent that they want to play it (complaining when there are five of us so it won’t work) that I’m a bit turned off. And part of it is because the two times they’ve tried to teach it to me, they’ve thrown all the rules out me, and it just doesn’t make sense. Plus we’ve had like 20 minutes for a hand, and that just doesn’t work. I think I’d need a couple of hours and multiple hands to fully get it, not trying to learn every nuance in 20 minutes.

  13. Being an only child made most games, card and otherwise, difficult. However, I did play 3-handed rummy with my parents, and my mom and I played double solitaire some. I learned Euchre so I could fill in when my parents played at the neighbors.

    The only card game I play now is solitaire on my computer. And I’m addicted to it!

  14. My favorite card game when I was a kid was probably Authors. I found a deck in an antique store a couple of years ago. It has some different authors than the one we played way back then and these cards are miniature, where those were regular size. My mom still has the original and told me I can have it someday when my niece and nephew get tired of playing it. My favorite card games now would be Chase The Ace or Hand and Foot… it’s a toss up.

  15. Our entire family, both mine and my husband’s, are all into Cribbage. As a young child my sisters and I were taught how to play and then we taught our children and they have taught theirs. So far five generation have had at least three Cribbage boards in their homes I’m quite sure. It’s a good game for kids too as it helps with math, etc. from recognizing combinations of numbers and scoring them.

    We play at every family get-together to this day (except Easter this year) and even our grandchildren have played dice each was five or six years old! We also used to play Michigan rummy and I think that’s going to be popular again in our immediate family if we can find out a good way to play it on Zoom or FaceTime!

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