Saturday, March 10, 2007


Another one of my many, many interests - and one that, over the past couple of years, has gotten very little attention because I haven't fallen in with a group of likeminded people - is the world of games. Particularly, card games and board games. I've never cared much for video games.

I come at games from the angle of a social activity. My family played games together. Even some churches I have belonged to had groups that regularly got together to play cards or board games. The games, and their variations, fascinate me; but playing them is just plain fun.

Here's a little card game that 2 or (preferably) more people can enjoy. It can go pretty quickly. It's called Ninety-Nine.

1. Each player is dealt 2 cards. The rest of the deck is placed face-down on the table.

2. Starting clockwise, the players take turns discarding 1 card, face-up on a second pile.

3. As each player lays down his card, he announces the "running total" of the accumulated discards, starting from zero and going up as cards are added to the pile. For example, Player A lays down a 4 and says "Four." Player B lays down a 7 and says "Eleven." Player C adds an 8 and says "Nineteen." Etc.

4. After discarding, each player draws a card off the deck before the next player takes his turn. Each player should have 2 cards in his hand at the end of each turn.

5. Numerical cards are all worth face value. Aces are worth 1. Kings are worth 0. Queens make the pile total 99, regardless of where the total stood previously. Jacks subtract 10 from the pile total.

6. Optionally, Jokers can be used, also standing for 0 points and causing the order of players to switch directions (e.g. from clockwise to counterclockwise). Or, Kings can be made to do this, if there are more than 2 players.

7. The last player who can lay down a card without going over 99 wins.

8. Strategy tip: Hold onto aces and faces as long as you can.

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