I love trick-taking card games in which you have to win certain cards to earn points. They are popular in my part of Europe – Thousand in Poland and Ukraine, and 66 (or Schnapsen) in Germany and Austria. Both games have a common ancestor, an old game called Mariage (in Polish: Mariasz).
It fits in your pocket, it costs a few dollars (pounds), you can buy it everywhere and immediately play hundreds of games with it. It does not require any power source. This is of course a deck of cards. Most versatile and comfortable gaming platform in the world! If you want to fully appreciate its charms, if you want to really understand it, you have to learn something about its history and all possible uses in games!
If you like old American movies you could see people playing Gin Rummy. Why exactly this game? There are few reasons! First, this is a game for smart people. Secondly, this is a game with dramatic ending. Thirdly… Gin Rummy has unique taste of the risk mixed with a cool strategy.
There are many games with an element of luck – games with dice, cards, dominoes or letters. Some people believe these games are “worse”, unworthy of study and you can’t by a true master in such games because everything depends on luck. I would like to refute this image. Games with the random element can be very interesting and they can build your brain, but in a different way than purely strategic games. Besides in practice, even in games with no random elements, there is some element of luck.
I like to point out presence of games in the literature. I have already described Whist, noble game loved by Phileas Fogg from the Jules Verne’s novel. Today, I would like to present you the game of Ecarte, which occurs in books about Sherlock Holmes and not only there.
I wrote about the game of whist, which was the favorite game of Phileas Fogg, protagonist in the novel “In eighty days around the world” by Jules Verne.
I wanted to show you a game that Phileas Fogg could play if he had really lived. I had a problem because there are many variants of Whist, and the Verne’s book is not clear about Fogg’s favorite variant. I already described simplest Whist variant but I also pointed out, that Fogg could play so called “Solo Whist”. This variant was especially popular in the XIX century in England and today is still known in UK.
If you read Jules Verne’s book “Around the World in Eighty Days” (or if you seen film based on this novel) you probably remember Phileas Fogg – the main character, rich and generally remarkable man who had one passion. He loved to play Whist.
What the heck is Whist? From the book you can easily guess this is a card game, but… what this game really is? Why it was so good for man like Phileas Fogg? Is it really intellectual challenge?