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The Uncommon Life

Cribs, Pegs, & Pones: How to Play Cribbage

October 9, 2015

Since the Custom Lake Art Cribbage Board first stepped on the scene last year to overwhelmingly positive reviews, UG has gotten a pretty intense case of cribbage fever. Suffice to say, there was a cribbage-sized hole in the gaming world and we answered with the Peacock Feather board, the Fern board, and new varieties that keep rolling in with each season. A quick office poll found, however, that a pitiful number of our employees actually knew how to play cribbage, and this writer was not among them.

How to Play Cribbage | UncommonGoods

In the interest of writing what you know, I figured it was high time to educate myself on the world of cribbage and now I’m here to share that information with you. Already know how to crib? What are you even doing here?! Get yourself to the nearest cribbage tournament!

Now that the cribbage enthusiasts are gone, let’s get started! The main draw of cribbage, according to my plentiful research, is that in order to win, you can rely on both strategy and good old-fashioned luck of the draw. There’s something for everybody! There can be small variations found in different regions but the overall idea is the same.

According to the one coworker I found who plays this game, writing down all the rules was a very ambitious undertaking and there is, in fact, a whole lot of nuance/random scenarios that can come up. Be that as it may, consider this a fun frolic through the basics of cribbage—a fun-dation, if you will.

The History:
The English poet Sir John Suckling created cribbage in the early 17th century as a derivative of the game “noddy.” The game also served as an official pastime on World War II submarines.

The Players:
Cribbage is best played with two people—this can be done with one on one or two on two. For the sake of this tutorial, it’ll be one on one.

The Cards:
Use a standard 52-pack of cards, King is high, Ace is low. Take out the Jokers.

The Object:
Be the first player to make your peg around the full cribbage board.

The Score:
You track your score using your new fancy cribbage board, silly! You’ll notice that there are multiple pegs. Players each use two pegs to record their score: one shows your current score, one acts as the trailing peg so that the board always shows how many points you recorded on your last score.

The Game:
Players start by drawing cards. The player with the lowest card deals first, distributing six cards facedown to his opponent (called the pone) and himself. Each player looks at their six cards and “lays away” two of them face down to reduce their hand to four. The two cards laid down from each player (making it four in total. Math!) now constitute “the crib” and belong to the pone. However, these cards are not exposed or used until the hands have been played.

With me so far? Feel free to read it over a few times. I did.

After the crib is laid away, the pone cuts the deck. The dealer then turns up the top card at the split and places it face up on top of the deck. This card is now “the starter.”

Apparent side note to the rules that I couldn’t find an explanation for: If this starter card is a Jack, it called “His Heels” and the dealer uses the cribbage board to peg (score) two points at once. Okay, sure!

The biggest thing to know about cribbage is that for each hand there are two stages of play. The first stage is to, one by one, drop your cards in a succession that will lead to either: doubles, runs, or a sum of 15.

BACK UP.

Peacock Feather Cribbage Board | UncommonGoods

Okay. Here’s a script:
I put down a 5.
You put down a 10.
Hey, you just made 15, give yourself 2 points.

Another script:
I put down a 5.
You put down a 5.
Hey, you just made doubles, give yourself 2 points.
I put down a 5.
Hey, I just made triples, now I get 3 points.

One more script:
I put down a 5.
You put down a 6.
I put down a 7.
Hey, I made a run of 3 cards, I’ll give myself 3 points.
You put down an 8.
Hey, you just extended the run to 4 cards, give yourself 4 points.

And so on and so forth. Basically, the number of cards that make up the scorable group you make indicates the amount of points you get. Want another random number to shoot for? See if you can make your cards add up to 31 for 2 peg points. The back and forth between the two players stops once 31 is reached (and you can’t go over)—once 31 has been reached and you can’t go any further, the last person to throw down a card gets a point.

The first stage of play is over. Phew. Pick up the cards you played again and use that overturned card on top of the deck as a starter. Want another script?

The top card is a 6.
You put down a 9.
Hey, that’s 15. Give yourself a point.

The top card is a 6.
You put down a 6.
Hey, that’s a double, give yourself 2 points.

Custom Lake Cribbage Board | UncommonGoods

Sound familiar?

This stage of play isn’t a back and forth like the last one. This is you seeing what you can do with your own cards plus the overturned top card. Want to do some more? If you’re the pone, now’s the time to take out the crib and play around with that.

Once you’re done, put all the cards back, re-deal (this time with a different dealer) and the cycle starts again and again until one of your pegs reaches the end of the board.

Full disclosure, you will probably have to read through these directions about seven times and also scour the internet for various nuances that can occur during play. I played a few hands myself and, though it took me a while to get the hang of, I can see how it would be a great way to spend a rainy Sunday with the family. Now excuse me, I’m going to go comb all the cribbage blogs and develop some strategy.

Be sure to take a look at our unconventionally stylish cribbage boards to get your game started. Happy cribbing!

See Our Cribbage Boards | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

Building Knowledge: Tiffany Ard’s ‘Super Nerdy’ New Design

February 17, 2015

Tiffany Ard has been a long time favorite artist of UncommonGoods. We’ve featured a multitude of her fantastically scientific and geeky products. However, she had some ideas that she couldn’t execute herself, so she asked UncommonGoods to develop products with her. We knew this would be a huge opportunity for us and couldn’t wait to get on board.

Tiffany Ard | UncommonGoods

While she may be known as the Nerdy Baby Lady, she is a creative force to be reckoned with. From the very beginning of development, her enthusiasm was exciting. I couldn’t believe the depth of her knowledge for these higher level STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math, as she taught me) concepts. Every time she would forward a new set of art for our review, I would learn something new while fact checking. Who knows what a P-Orbital is? I do now.

This was our first product with the manufacturer, so Tiffany and I would go back and forth, refining her artwork until we got it right for production. After a grueling development cycle, we finally blew a sigh of relief when we got the final sets in hand. We collectively agreed that the aptly named Super Nerdy ABC Blocks would be a big hit in our collection. It is still one of my favorite projects during my time here at UncommonGoods. I can’t wait to get working on our next project with Tiffany, but before diving into our next brainstorming session, Tiffany agreed to take a pop quiz about her art, the blocks, and growing up geeky.

Super Nerdy ABC Blocks by Tiffany Ard | UncommonGoods

What was your favorite science project as a kid?
Oh, gosh just one? I loved science and read almost everything in the school library’s nonfiction section. I liked inventing stuff. When I was about nine I wanted to make a doorbell that our dog could ring by scratching on the door. The guy at Radio Shack showed me how to make a circuit with a switch. I set it up with a horrible sounding buzzer, and when it was done, my dad helped me attach this clunky, awful-looking contraption to the front door. Which thinking back is weird because we were renting and our landlord was sort of a grump! I hope they got their deposit back.

But the other constant was art. My earliest memories are of mixing paints. What an awesome experiment that can be for a kid, you know? Nothing blows up, nothing expensive to ruin, just seeing what happens when you mix this shade with that until you have a big gray sludgy mess—and then you rinse your brushes and start again.

Tiffany Painting

Watercolor Illustrations

When did you first come to the conclusion that you were a nerd?
Well, you know junior high is an age where kids are looking around to see where they fit in. I was too afraid of being hit by a ball to do sports, too shy to be a theater kid, too unpopular to be one of the popular kids. The kids I spent time with liked Douglas Adams and Carl Sagan. We liked writing stories and inventing languages and pretending to be time travelers. Hmm. Maybe “dorks” is a better word than “nerds!”

What are your favorite science facts that everyone should know?
I tell my kids that there are no scientific FACTS. Just answers that explain what we see happening around us, and new information can always change our understanding. But I’m being annoying, homeschooley, science mom.
My current favorite facts:
1. Evolution is real, y’all. It’s worth the effort to understand, because it is amazing.
2. That said, dinosaurs and humans DID co-exist. In fact we still do! My son has two of them as pets and they’re just as loud and messy and demanding as you would expect little, feathered dinosaurs to be.
3. Your body has more bacteria cells than human cells.

Why is it important to give kids gifts that are both fun and educational?
It isn’t! I mean, let’s be honest—you really do not need to cram kids’ brains with scientific terminology. The best gifts invite open ended play and make kids feel empowered to experiment fearlessly. If they happen to learn some fun science facts, all the better.

Turbellaria

Which illustration on the Super Nerdy ABC Blocks is your favorite and why?
Oh gosh. I love Io with its cute little active volcano. But my favorite might be the derpy-eyed flatworm. Those worms really look like that!

From Absolute Zero to Zoological Oddity, your ABCs cover some pretty interesting material. How did you decide what to put on the blocks?
This was a fun exercise in problem solving. There are 26 letter blocks, each block has six sides. My kids helped me brainstorm ideas. For some letters, there were too many options to choose from! Feynman, Friction, Fahrenheit, Force, Freefall, Fibonacci… For those it came down to deciding which would translate best into small, one-color illustrations.

Shelves in Tiffany's Studio

What are some fun ways to use Super Nerdy Blocks, aside from just stacking them up and knocking them over?
Spell your name. Look for patterns. Sort by type of interest—biology, chemistry, math. Make paths. Hide them all over the house and look for A-Z. Close your eyes and pick one block, and then challenge a friend to define the term.

Besides giving kids super-fun math and science toys, what else can grownups do to help encourage kids to embrace their nerdiness?
Model CURIOUSITY. Act excited when you don’t know something. Let kids see you trying and failing and trying again as you tackle learning something that’s hard for you. Let them experiment, let them play, and create a space where it’s always okay to make wrong guesses.

 

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: A Grand Adventure

November 28, 2014

Daniella | A Grand Adventure | UncommonGoods

Product: A Grand Adventure Activity Set

Research:

Can this Grand Adventure Game be really fun for a 5 year old? I chose to do this activity with my grandaughter on a Saturday afternoon. We did many activities indoors and outdoors, which was a lot of fun. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy activities together and build beautiful joyful memories filled with smiles and laughter. This set of twenty activities will become a treasured keepsake for the both of us.

1

Hypothesis:

I went in hoping that this set will be a fun learning experience that my granddaughter Jailah would enjoy. I was happy to see  many learning activities provided in the deck. I was also looking for activities that could keep her entertained,  rather than buying a new toy knowing that she wouldn’t play with again.

Activities for Grandchildren

Experiment:

First we spread out the 20 activity cards that were designated for “Little G”–AKA Jailah. Then we took turns completing the activities that were provided for “Big G”–ME! We Started with one activity and continued moving on to the next.

Playing A Grand Adventure Grandparent/Grandchild Game

Conclusion:

Being a Mother and Grandmother you are always looking for a way to entertain your children. This Grand Adventure activity was filled with hours of fun and bonding. Her favorite activities were Buggin’ out, Thumbs up, and Have you heard the one about the funny Grandkid?. I enjoyed all the activies that were included in this game and would definitely recommend this as a gift for all grandparents to share the experience with their grandchildren.

Having fun with A Grand Adventure Activity Set | UncommonGoods

 

Gift Guides

Gifts for Kids: 15 Educational (and Fun!) Toys and Games

November 13, 2014

Scratch Map Deluxe | UncommonGoods Gifts for Kids| Educational Toys and Games | UncommonGoods Did you ever dream of growing up to become an astronaut, world-renowned artist, or president? Chances are, the kids on your holiday list are filled with the same big ambitions and want to absorb all of the knowledge they can along the way to adulthood. Keep those young, audacious spirits excited about learning the wonders of the world with these gifts that encourage creativity and make education fun.

Super Nerdy ABC Blocks | UncommonGoods

 

1. It’s true that A is for apple and B is for boy, but your kid probably already knows that. Teach them the ABCs from “Absolute Zero”  to “Zoological Oddity” with Super Nerdy ABC Blocks. (Or let them show off all of the cool things their first initial stands for with this matching art.)

Fresh Architecture Memory Game | UncommonGoods2. This update to the classic game of memory won’t soon be forgotten. | Fresh Architecture Memory Game

Storymatic Kids Game | UncommonGoods

3. Whether you use the cards to tell a brand new bedtime story or listen intently as your kiddo writes an original fairytale, the Storymatic Kids Game is designed to help children of all ages think outside the book.   Musical Pat Bells | UncommonGoods 4. Sure, banging on pots and pans is fun, but your little percussionist can make beautiful music AND learn the C major scale with these Musical Pat Bells.   Whatchamadrawit | UncommonGoods 5. It’s not a whatchamacallit, it’s Whatchamadrawit–a super fun way to encourage kids to get creative through guided doodling. 21830_kwizniac_kidz 6. Tryouts for a TV game show might still be a few years away, but it’s never too soon to start filling a young mind with fun facts. | Kwizniac Trivia Game for Kids   scratchmap Scratch Map Deluxe | UncommonGoods 7. Whether the giftee is already a world traveler or dreams of visiting far away lands in the future, they can uncover adventures with the Scratch Map Deluxe.   USA Scratch Map | UncommonGoods 8. If your future explorer isn’t quite ready to have the whole world at his or her hands, the United States is a good place to start. | USA Scratch Map   A Grand Adventure |Grandparent-Grandchild Game | UncommonGoods 9. Grandparents: This is your chance to win extra spoil points. A Grand Adventure lets you give grandkids hours of fun with 20 activities for Big G (grandparent) and Little G (grandkid) to do together.     Rememory Game | UncommonGoods 10. Recalling old memories can be just as fun as creating new ones, especially when those two things are happing at the same time! | Rememory Game     Kid's Edible Chemistry Kit | UncommonGoods 11. Many kids grow up to learn that cooking can come down to a science. In the meantime, the Kid’s Edible Chemistry Kit teaches the basics on acids and bases, pigments and polymers, and more.   Elements Photo Card  Deck | UncommonGoods 12. Not every kid (or adult, for that matter)  knows what bismuth or boron looks like, but this colorful card collection lets science lovers picture the periodic table in a new way. | Elements Photo Card Deck   United States of America Blocks Set | UncommonGoods 13. Your little guy or gal might still be too young for civics class, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be interested in the building blocks of our nation. | United States of America Block Set   President Block Set | UncommonGoods 14. Want to be elected “best gift-giver ever”? Vote yes to the President Block Set.     Hanz-Genius Kit | UncommonGoods   15. Tiny tinkerers will get an introduction to kinetics, practice puzzle solving, and hours of imaginative play with the Hanz-Genius Kit.

 

UncommonGoods Gifts for Kids

Gift Guides

Melissa’s Game Night: Kwizniac Trivia Countdown Game

January 15, 2013

Welcome to the second installment of “Melissa’s Game Night,” the blog post series where I fill you in on the behind-the-scenes product testing I conduct on new uncommon games. Basically, I force all of my friends to play games with me, then I write about it.

This time around, we played Kwizniac, “The Trivia Countdown Game.”

Kwizniac is the kind of game that is the perfect time-filler. As people trickled in for the game get-together (I have some punctual friends, and some not-so-punctual friends) I had the box sitting on top of my counter. I was whipping up some dinner for everyone–boiling pasta, and heating up canned pasta sauce. I know, I’m a culinary genius–and people kept grabbing cards out of the deck, reading through them, chuckling, and then reading out the clues to me and the others while I “cooked.” This informal play was just as much fun as when I got the whole group to sit down with their dinners and we actually played the game for real.

The way the game works is simple. There’s “a set of 10 clues provided in decreasing order of difficulty, where each clue is easier to decipher than the previous clue in the sequence.”

The scoring system is also easy to follow. If you guess the answer on the first clue that is read you get 10 points, and “the number of points a player receives for a correct answer decreases as he or she progresses through the sequence of clues. The player with the highest score wins the game.” To be honest, though, I have never even paid attention to the score while playing the game – what’s great about Kwizniac is that the score isn’t really necessary or isn’t even the most fun part of the game. It’s highly interactive, and seems to spiral off into fun conversational tangents every time I play. It’s the kind of thing that you can pick up and read through only one card and it still has that moment of competitive trivia fun, or play for an entire span of time. You can use it for a true game night with a bunch of friends, as a conversation starter among two friends or on a date, or as a fun moment of learning alone. (Yes I have done all 3, don’t judge.)

The variety of clues is also great. There were a bunch of clues about everyday objects and creatures that were great in the “wow, I had no idea!” kind of way (i.e. Did you know that giraffes have the highest blood pressure of any animal? Or that garlic belongs to the onion family?), and then clues that are a little harder to capture at first but become obvious as you go through. For example, for Barbie, the first clue is “She made her debut in 1959” (no idea), the 5th clue is “She has over 40 pets, including a horse named Dancer” (still fairly open), the 3rd is “Every second, two of her are sold somewhere in the world” (getting warmer), the 2nd is “Her boyfriend’s name is Ken” (got it!), and the last is “If she was a real person her measurements would be 36-18-38” (yikes).

I love this deck. We had a ball at game night, and my copy of Kwizniac now lives next to my couch, where houseguests pick it up all the time and flip through it. It’s a fun, easy piece to keep around – perfect for kids and adults alike. Kwizniac is destined to teach you something new!

Thanks for joining me for Game Night. See you next time!
Melissa

P.s. Our community moderator just told me that she should have read through and memorized all of these before she tried out for Jeopardy! recently. I agree.

*Editor’s Note: The quiz game fun doesn’t have to come to an end after the first deck. Kwizniac 2nd Edition is also available, so your friends can guess the answers to those countdown clues for many game nights to come! And, there’s a version for younger trivia fans, too: Kwizniac Kidz!