Sunday, December 2, 2012

Combining Cribbage with Sorry or Chutes and Ladders

[This post won't mean much if you don't know the rules of Cribbage and Sorry.]

We enjoy Cribbage in my family, but a while back, Lola and I were without a cribbage board.  We did have her multi-game travel set which included a version of  "Chutes and Ladders", so we just combined the games, using the Cribbage scores to move our pawns along the "Chutes and Ladders" field.  Of course, it's much more fun than the pure-luck Chutes and Ladders, but it also added richness to Cribbage because you weren't always playing for the highest score.

Inspired by that, we tried combining Cribbage with Sorry to even better effect.  We kept the special meaning of numbers, so you need to score 1 or 2 to get out of Start, 7 can be split between pawns, 11 can be used to exchange pawns, 4 always goes back four spaces, and 10 can be used to go back one space.  Since there is no 6 in regular Sorry, we decided that 6 would correspond to a Sorry.

This is much more fun, especially for two people, than plain Sorry, but also more rich than Cribbage, again because you have to think about more than just getting the highest score.  Do you want to keep a hand scoring 4 with good potential for more points on the cut, or leave yourself with 2 in the hand, risking cutting 2 more?  When only small counts will help you (at the end, to get your pawns to Home), it's sometimes a challenge to cut down a good starting hand.

For complete rules, it's important to decide what constitutes a discrete scoring event.  Obviously, counting a hand is one event.  We play that counting the crib and the dealer's hand are separate events.  In pegging, you get all the points scored for playing one card in one event (e.g. if you play a card that makes a run of 3 and 15, then that's 5, not 2 and 3).  What's less clear is what happens when one player plays several cards in a row (at the end, or after a "go").  We've been playing that multiple cards played without any opponent's card being played count as the same event, e.g. if I play an ace on my opponent's ace to make 30 (and a pair), and I get a "go" and play another ace, that's one event for a total of 2 + 6 + 2 = 10 points.  It's also reasonable to make each card played be a separate event, or even to separate out the points for "go" or "31" from the points for combinations.

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