Update – We’re both back!

So as you’re all aware from Dave’s updates, I’ve been out and about in Europe for the last month or so with a friend. But I’m back now and we’re ready to get the blog back on schedule(ish) for the rest of the summer!

However, whilst on our travels, Rosie and I have come across, and played, many a game. Some that we’ve already reviewed, like Cripple Mr Onion. But other (more interesting games) that we found in hostels we stayed in, such as Pandemic! (Turns out we’re terrible at this game, we’re just too good at destroying all of humanity…) So below are a few photos of the game related things that we did:

This was waiting for us (by my bed) in the hostel in Stockholm, the first city we visited, because we’re both terrible at maths, we didn’t play it.


For some reason, it won't let me turn it the right way up...
For some reason, it won’t let me turn it the right way up…

In between Mathable and the next photo we also managed to play English Scrabble with a German Scrabble set. Needless to say scoring was interesting. Unfortunately, we forgot to take photos. ūüė¶

Switzerland appears to have been the best country for board games in the hostels, most of the other places had chess, Copenhagen did have a few other interesting-looking games, but they were mostly in Danish, which neither of us could speak or read.

We found this in the hostel in Zurich:

PANDEMIC! It's a race to save humanity
PANDEMIC! It’s a race to save humanity

We freaked out a few people sharing the common area with us for the five hours that we spent playing this. Apparently we were taking saving the world from four deadly diseases far too seriously…

Also in Zurich I wanted to get this for Dave:

Because it's just beautiful, as chess sets go
Because it’s just beautiful, as chess sets go

But it was a little out of my price range. He got a bar of Toblerone instead.

From Zurich we headed to Bern, and in Bern we found (but didn’t get a photo of) a giant Nine Men’s Morris set, an outdoor one, like the chess sets they have in schools and parks. It was awesome. But we also managed to play Mastermind in Bern, albeit, with a set that was missing a few pieces…

Slightly makeshift game of Mastermind
Slightly makeshift game of Mastermind

Once again, we apologize for the slightly hiatus in posts, but we’re hoping to be back on track, spamming you all with geeky board game reviews within the next few days!


Switch (Blackjack)

4 - 5

Number of Players: 2-lots

Year of Publication: Unknown

Creator(s): Unknown

Appreciate Our Custom Made Cards!

Switch¬†is one of the many versions of Black Jack around, we aim to cover them all between now and eternity, but that could take years, so don’t hold your breath for any exciting Blackjack posts any time soon. I think this game is good because it’s simple, can be played anywhere, and is very quick.

What’s In The Box:

Well, as it would transpire…. Nothing! All you need to play this game is a standard deck of cards, and at least two willing people.

Playing The Game:

Objective: To be the first to play all the cards in your hand.

So to start the game each player is dealt a hand, usually of seven cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the table, and the top card is drawn to determine how play starts. If the top card is a Power Card, then another card is drawn until a card is revealed that has no other purpose in the game. The starting player (typically left of the dealer) should then find in their hand a card that matches either the suit or the rank of the face up card. If a player cannot play a card from their hand they must draw cards from the deck until they can.

The starting set up for Switch.
The starting set up for Switch. Appreciate our custom made cards!

Power Cards:

  • 2 – if a player places a two in their turn the player next to them then has to draw two cards, unless they have a two in their hand, they can then play this and make the player next to them pick up¬†four cards. This can continue round players until all four twos are played if possible, forcing the last player to pick up eight cards. The player that has to draw cards also forfeits the right to play any cards that turn.
  • 7 – a seven must be covered, so the person who played it must put another card of the same suit over it, or pick up a card if they cannot. If they pick up the next player must then cover the seven, or draw a card, this continues until someone has managed to cover the card.
  • 8 – when played eights make the next player miss their turn. There is an optional rule that allows that player to also play an eight, passing the missed turn on in the same way stacking two’s works, with the last player who cannot play an eight missing the same number of turns as there are eights in play.
  • 10 – reverses the direction of play.
  • Black Jacks – a black jack is similar to a two, when it’s played the next player must pick up five cards or play the other black jack, which would then make the next player pick up 10 cards.
  • Red Jacks – a red jack can be used to cancel out a black jack, if two black jack’s are in play then to cancel them both you must play both red jacks.
  • Ace – an ace can be played onto any card, irrespective of suit or value, whoever played the ace then chooses which suit play will continue in, and the game carries on, but with the new suit instead of whatever was being played before.

Winning The Game!

The first player to play their last card immediately wins the game. However, to win you must call LAST CARDS as soon as you are able to go out, this must  be noticed by other players. If you fail to do this and then play your last card you must pick up another card. Play also cannot end on an  Ace, if you finish with an Ace you must pick up another card.

History and Interesting Things:

There’s not a lot of history going on for this game, but there are a few entertaining things I can tell you:

  • There’s a variation of the game called Peanuckle in which player with only two cards left in their hand must say “peanuckle”, and a player with only one card left must say “supper-peanuckle”. I have no idea why this is, but this is the way of it.
  • There are loads of variations of Black Jack, most of which are played in Casinos around the world, like 21 Blackjack, also known as Pontoon.
  • We were familiar with this game before we decided to write about it, but the variation we’d previously played had slightly different rules and Power Cards.
  • Three points is two more than I thought I’d write, so I’m doing well!

To Conclude:

A good game, I like it a lot because it’s easy to learn and you can play it anywhere with anyone. I also like that there are so many variations of it, makes it always interesting to play. Although, because there are so many variations of the game it can lead to interesting disputes over Power Cards and rules regarding winning the game. We played with a bunch of people when we were in Brazil and we had three different ideas of what the rules should be. There had to be a little bit of universal rule deciding before we could start playing.

The most comprehensive information I found on this game was on Wikipedia, but most of it’s in this blog post. Annnnnnnd, yeah, that’d be about it, have fun playing cards!