I really hope that you like to play games, because this post is kicking of a new semi-regular series called Games We Love, in which I will share one of the super-fun games that we are into at the moment.
My family may be a weird lot, but one thing that we can all agree on is our love of togetherness. When we all get together, we tend to have a good time. Often that means that a deck of cards or a board game is bound to make an appearance. We’ve been playing games as a family ever since I can remember. I have many a childhood memory of spending nights crowded around my grandma’s dining table playing Perquacky, Boggle, Pinochle, Trivial Pursuit, and hours upon hours of Uno.
We are Game Players.
Now that my generation has children, our kids are starting to join in the on game-playing-fun. Although I must admit that a lot of our game playing happens once my kiddos have been snugly tucked into bed.
Bacon Slayer teasingly refers to Bedtime as The Most Wonderful Time of the Day when the kids go to bed, and we do nothing but play games, eat ice cream & cookies & chips, and have a big ol’ party. Every. Single. Night.
At least that’s what we tell our kids.
Does that make us bad parents? 😉
One of our favorite games to play with a group is a card game called Quiddler. I don’t remember who first brought the game around, but I can say that you’d be hard pressed not to find a Quiddler deck in any of my family members’ homes. If you are a logophile with a love of word games, this one is for you.
Quiddler is called a Game of Short Words. Players try to make words with the letter cards that they are dealt. Up to eight people can play at a time. The manufacturer suggests players be ages 8 and up, but we find that even our 6 year old can play with help. In fact, Son #2, the 9 year old, frequently beats the tar out of all of us when he plays.
The Quiddler deck contains 118 cards, each with a letter (or pair of letters) and a corresponding point value. Play consists of 8 rounds, with more cards being dealt with each round. The goal is to use all of your cards to make as many small words, or the longest word(s) possible with the cards that you are dealt. Bonuses are given for making the most words, and/or having the longest word. Points are totaled at the end of each round, and the player with the highest total at the end of the game wins. Total playtime is usually around 40 and 60 minutes.
Let’s say that Bacon Slayer and I are playing a friendly game. Warning: closely approximated table talk will be presented. It’s What We Do.
In the first round, each player is dealt 3 cards, and the top card of the remaining deck is flipped over.
Oh, look! I seem to have a load of
crap high point cards. I have two options:
- Pick up the card that has been flipped over, or
- Draw the top card from the “down” deck and hope that the card will help make sense of the cards in my hand.
Since the flipped card will work with the cards in my hand, I pick it up rather than risk drawing the top card. There could be a nasty Q or something lurking under there, and then I’d be in big trouble. Since I can only have the number of cards dealt to me for the round, I have to discard one.
Well, would you looky there! CLING! I have a 5 letter word! Yay, me! Face value, I have 23 points for the hand. However, if my 5 letter word ends up being the longest word played in the round, then I’ll get 10 bonus points, for a total of 33 points for the hand.
I’m not out of the Bonus Woods yet…need I remind you that Bacon Slayer plays next? If ever there was a Quiddler player to go out of his way to bust your bonus, it’s Bacon Slayer. He lives for that sort of thing.
Hey, Honey! ‘Love you!
Since I could use all of my cards, I laid them down, so now each player has one more turn and must lay down their best hand, regardless of whether or not all cards can be made into words. Unused cards will be deducted from the total score of their hand.
Hmmm…Bacon Slayer seems to have a few good letters, too. Now he can either play it safe and pick up the T that I discarded, or hope for a larger point card by drawing the top card from the down deck. You never can tell what BS will do–he’s a shifty one when it comes to this game. Dang English Major!
Oops. Guess Bacon Slayer decided to play it safe by picking up the T. He spelled POT, for a total of 11 points. Now is about the time that I would gloat a little, and he would say something about a black kettle, or a glass house, or some other (polite) metaphor for shut-up, sweetie!
I maybe should have been a bit nicer to Bacon Slayer because he goes first in the next round…meaning his discard could make or break my hand. He doesn’t have any obvious words in his hand, but has a T available to him, and an unknown card on top of the down deck. Will he play safe or take a chance?
Bacon Slayer picks up the T, and plays two 2-letter words, RE and IT, for a total of 12 points. The strategy here is to play what you know, and do it quickly so that they other players may not be able to play all of their cards and take a loss. He may also be hoping that not only will I not be able to play all of my cards, but that I won’t be able to play two words, thus keeping his potential 10 point bonus for playing the most words in tact. Or even better yet, he might be hoping that I can’t play any of my cards, which would result in my netting a 0 for the round, and still keep his bonus in-tact.
‘Told ya that Bacon Slayer was a shifty one!
He discards a K. I can either find a use for the K, or draw the top card. Since BS has gone out, this is my only turn, and I must play what cards that I can. The extras will be deductions from my score for the round.
I chose to pick up the K, because I could make one word and discard a high point W card that I couldn’t use, and would therefore have been a large deduction.
I played SKY for 15 points, but I have to deduct the 2 point I card that I couldn’t play, so I netted 13 points for the round. Had I not been able to play any of my cards, or if my unplayed cards had a higher point value than the cards I could play, then I would have netted 0 points for the round.
Since I only played one word while BS played two words, he gets a 10 point bonus for playing the most words in the round. So, his 12 point hand nets him 22 points with the bonus. It is at this point that Bacon Slayer would probably give me a sly little I-just-trounced-your-hand kind of grin, to which I would likely retort by sticking my tongue out at him and making a loosely veiled threat about never cooking him a steak again. Because we are a mature married couple.
Play continues like this, with one additional card being dealt per hand with each new round. If BS & I were to continue, then the next round would have 5 cards per hand, the round after that would be 6 cards per hand…and so on, until the final round with 10 cards per hand. Quiddler is really anyone’s game until the very end. We often say that this game will make or break you in the last two rounds of 9 & 10 cards, respectively. So even though I was ahead after two rounds, there is a whole lot of game let in which Bacon Slayer could easily foil my lead and win the game.
But since this is my blog, and I’m the one driving this demonstration, you can rest assured that I did in fact win this mock-game-of-Quiddler-that-didn’t-really-happen.
Competitive much? Perhaps. But all the testosterone in my house is bound to rub off on me sometime! Don’t let our marital banter keep you from playing Quiddler! Not every game is laden with trash-talk and loosely veiled threats. Just the ones in our house.