As Good as the Replacement

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I recently discovered something amazing: It is possible to play solitaire without a computer! Just get a regular old deck of cards--the kind you use to play poker or some such game--and replicate on a table or some other flat surface the layout of your favorite version of computer solitaire. The rules and so forth are the same, except that you must shuffle and move the cards about yourself.

I think part of me always knew this--now that I plumb my memory, I can recall a time in the 1970s, back before VCRs were commonplace; back when there were only three networks, all of which showed reruns in the summer, so that there might be nothing to watch on television, necessitating other ways of amusing oneself after the sun went down (which it does around 8 p.m. in mid June in Arizona, a state that resolutely refuses to observe Daylight Saving Time); back when my mother would try to get my sisters and me to entertain ourselves quietly from time to time and so taught us all to play every version of solitaire she knew of and bought us each our own deck of cards. (Which was kind of a big deal because there was this whole weird to-do in Mormondom in the 1970s and 80s about how "face cards were Satanic." Rook cards were fine; Uno cards were fine; Gin Rummy played with Rook cards was fine and Go Fish! played with Uno cards was fine; but play those same games with a deck of face cards and you were practically ringing the doorbell of hell, because cards bearing stylized representations of European royalty were the devilish creation of Lucifer himself, and the sin in such cards was so potent it would rub off on your fingers if you even picked up a deck.)

But seriously, when I recently came across a deck of cards and thought, "Huh. I so rarely run into anyone who enjoys playing cards any more; what am I ever going to do with these?" it felt like a discovery to realize that I really truly could, all by myself, play a game of cards that wasn't virtual, that the object itself was every bit as good as the electronic replacement.

6 Comments

I used to LOVE to play cribbage, as well as two-handed pinochle (I was always terrible at poker). I haven't played for ages. Solitaire was fun and much better with cards than with the computer because you can cheat. I know, I know, and I NEVER cheated when playing with other people.

I also used to enjoy building houses of cards -- I almost wrote "try doing that with a computer!" but I imagine there is a program out there somewhere. Computer games have never been very satisfying to me because I seem to reach a certain level, either a skill level or a level in the game, that I can't get past and it's usually kind of a dummy level. Not good for the self-esteem at all...

Luckily, we have a couple of friends that spend a lot of time playing cards (they don't have TVs, the poor dears), so when we go to their houses for dinner, we end up playing cards with them which I enjoy in a wonderful old-fashioned kind of way. However I've found the computer card games are invaluable for learning new card games. I can practice on the computer before I have to withstand the embarrassment of playing with real people.

Like Spike, I used to play and enjoy cribbage, solitaire and various other card games. Although I was never great at building card houses, you should see me pile a dish rack!

I also used to collect Jokers (now I just am one).

Very funny about ringing the doorbell of hell with those facecards Holly.

Oh and by the way, thanks for getting Saviour Onassis blogging. You can tell Him He sent me.

Hi all--

I also loved playing cribbage, bridge, canasta, all kinds of games that I haven't played in so long I can't remember the rules. I would sort of love to suggest a cards night among my friends but I wouldn't remember how to play anything. I guess I could always buy a book for that.... The one game I hate is hearts. I won't ever play that game again.

I agree with you, Flatchy, that the computer is a good way to learn new games. Currently my favorite kind of solitaire is one I learned on the computer: that's right, free cell! I'd never played it before I got a computer with microsoft game programs.

Seven or eight years ago, my mom had a computer that had all these really great games on it, most of which had nothing to do with cards. I don't know where she got them. I liked visiting my parents for a few weeks because I could play those games occasionally, and then I could leave.

I had all the games removed from my home computer, however, so that I am never tempted to play with anything more time-wasting than the internet. Which is why I was sort of glad when I realized I could still play solitaire the old fashioned way....

Hello! I've just found you.. Seems like we have a lot in common.. I will definitely be back soon!

I like playing solitaire with the physical cards better than the virtual version.

I know of one type of solitaire that's hard to play without a computer though: Mahjongg solitaire.

One time I got out my Mahjongg set and tried to set up all of the tiles in a pyramid, but it took forever to set them up, and once I was done I'd seen which tiles were on top of which other tiles (which messes the whole thing up).

It makes me think that Mahjongg solitaire was made up for the computer and isn't actually based on anything people ever played with the physical tiles. But I'm not sure...

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on August 28, 2006 10:12 AM.

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