So why all the games? Good question! With all the important things going on in the world today, a company focused on games and fun doesn’t seem to be of any significance or importance. Maybe so. But in our family, games are what bring us together and doesn’t the world need a little more “together” lately?
Let me take this blog opportunity to tell you a little bit about our fiery grandma and how her no-nonsense attitude somehow fostered a love of games five generations deep.
Cards are big in our family
Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in my grandma’s kitchen watching her and my great-grandma, Momo, play pinochle. Momo was not like most great-grandparents. She was a short Italian fireball named Lucia. She was less the type to bake cookies and more the type to always have a carton of Virginia Slims and a bottle of Early Times on hand. You’d sooner find her in the smoking section at the bingo parlor than at home in a rocking chair. She loved playing games but make no mistake, she played to win.
Momo didn’t just play with the grown-ups, she also played countless games of Go-Fish, War, Skip-Bo, Yahtzee, and even boring stuff like Candy Land with me, my brother, and my cousins. But no matter how trivial the game was, she demanded that we play like adults. That meant sitting up straight, holding our own cards, no delay of game for silliness, and certainly there were no exceptions for being young. In checkers, she would ruthlessly jump us and whittle our little red armies down to nothing while her kings traipsed all over the board. If we complained about losing, she would stop playing because, “I don’t play with babies.” You might think this sounds harsh. It WAS!!! But, we always wanted to play. Maybe it was the challenge of beating her or maybe it was the fact that she treated us like adults that kept us going back for more.
Today, my grandma, my parents, my aunts and uncles, all my cousins, and now my own children still play cards. Even though Momo has been gone for nearly 15 years, we still maintain her rules. When the little kids want to join in, they are always welcome at the table — as long as they play like adults and everyone plays to win! No exceptions! You might think this would take the fun out of it, but somehow, it’s this way of playing that puts the fun into it for us. But fear not, if we are playing, rest assured, we are laughing.
Our favorite family card game is a twist on Shanghai Rummy where we allege that black twos are wild and there is no limit to buying cards except for your own self-control. We play at holiday get-togethers or anytime we all happen to be at my Grandma’s. We usually have about 5 decks of cards to accommodate all the cousins. We even have an award that we pass around to the winner appropriately called, “The Mo”.
I think she would like to know that her militaristic approach to games has created a legacy of wild card nights, inside jokes, and hilarious memories that are now being passed down to a fifth generation. It definitely set a precedent and a legacy which our company now exists to withhold, and that is that games are serious business and seriously fun. And what’s wrong with injecting some serious fun into our world?
Play with your group
So you can find the rules to regular Shanghai Rummy here. It’s complicated to explain so I’ll let the nice folks at @gocampingamerica do the bulk of it. HOWEVER… we think you should spice it up by adding Momo’s rules:
*Jokers AND black two’s are wild.
*You can buy Jokers that others have laid down on one condition. For example, if Eric lays down his 2 runs and one of them is 4, 5, Joker, 7 of clubs and you have the 6 of clubs then on your next turn, you can trade your 6 for his joker IF AND ONLY IF that joker enables you to come down.
*You can buy as many cards as you like. No limits.
*If you’re going to drink while playing, boxed wine is the official drink.
*Create your own award for the winner.
(If you need more assistance understanding how to play, send us a message and we will try not to confuse you even more. It will be fun to meet you!)