Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Card Shark

The holidays are an interesting time of year for families. For some, it means multiple celebrations, hours and hours of driving over the river and through the woods to random relatives' houses to see extended family, and eating a holiday meal two, three, maybe even four different times. For other families, it's a time to eat-sleep-shop-eat-sleep-shop-eat-decorate-sleep-shop. For my family, Thanksgiving has always been very low key. Other than a couple times of celebrating with my uncle's family down state, it is usually just our small nucleus, in our own home, with our stretchy pants, our own strange takes on traditional food and one final key ingredient - cards.

While some families stretch out on couches to watch hours of football, TV, and bad ABC Family holiday movies ("Borrowed Hearts" anyone?), my family breaks out the card table and prepares for a marathon day of Phase10, Cribbage, Pinochle, Kings in the Corner, Sequence...snack, bathroom break, and shuffle.

We are a game playing family. Grandpa Lueck was all about Phase 10 and Uno, Grandpa Carder (when he'd actually let us play with him) was all about Spit and Hand & Foot. We've been having family game night well before Milton Bradley made it cool. It started out innocent enough, with Candy Land and Memory, then moved up to MixMax and Yahtzee, and eventually progressed to the marathon games of 10,000 Rummy and Killer Uno. But my favorite games of all are speed games.

8th grade was the year I learned the game Speed. It's like two-person solitaire on crack. It's fast. It's furious. It's full of competition, scratched hands, and paper cuts from flying cards. But only playing with two people leaves everyone else out, no matter how fun I might think it is for everyone else in the room to watch me win. In high school, I was introduced to the world of Spoons.

Spoons is everything a card game should be. It requires strategy, timing, attention to detail, speed, and the willingness to fight to the death for a spoon. It's musical chairs, go fish, memory, and WWF all rolled in to one. I introduced this game to some friends earlier this year, while waiting for movies to begin at outdoor festivals. Our games attracted attention and admiration from fellow movie watchers. In Strathmoore we even made a new friend and added her to our game. And so at Thanksgiving this year, to interject a bit of Lueck Tradition to the Wilson Family Holiday, I suggested we play a friendly game of spoons.

Spoons is similar to the basketball game of Horse - after each hand has been played, who ever doesn't have a spoon receives a letter: S-P-O-O-N-S. Usually the game would end up with scores something like this:
Player 1: S-P-O
Player 2: S-P-O-O
Player 3: S-P-O-O-N-S
As seen here, usually it is fairly close. There isn't always a clear winner, someone has to lose, someone has to win, but everything stays fun and competitive.

Unfortunately, this was not the case this year in Battle:Spoons. Jen, Allen, and I decided to play, while Jen's mom and sister, armed with cameras, decided to watch the game. What started out as friendly competition ended up being more of a massacre. Here was the score after 5 rounds:
Jen: S-P-O-O-N

We decided to try to help increase Jen's chances of winning the next hand by moving the spoons very very close to her, basically under her elbows so she a) would notice when we went for them and b) would absolutely be able to grab one. The video below shows just how that worked out for her.

Yup. So much for our help.
Final Score:
Jen: S-P-O-O-N-S.

Thus endeth the card playing. But oh what a way to go.


Klue said...

Love it. We didn't play cards at all this year, but oh man, Christmas will seriously be that - plus a little P-Run when we're taking a break. Oh, and I don't suck that much. Sorry Jen...

Em Sizz said...

Our family plays cards, too. But for the Smith Clan, it's usually Euchre. Although EVERY SINGLE TIME we have to re-teach my mom how to play. She doesn't understand bauers (bowers?). After we played one game (Emily and Zane being the winners) she decided that she wanted to play Crazy Eights, which is designed for 4-year olds. The game took 2 minutes, and we never mentioned it again.