During a recent conversation with gaming friends, the topic of “what games most influenced us over the years?” came up. It was so interesting to hear how games we played as kids, in school, and later in life influenced our gaming interests today and led to some of us working in the game industry. This Monday series will take a personal look into my history as a gamer with my #Top10InfluentialGames. This week, we hearken back to my childhood and discuss 500 Rummy, the simple card game of sets and runs.
I grew up in a family that enjoyed playing games. We played the typical board and card games kids would play growing up in the U.S. including Checkers, Yahtzee, Monopoly, Bonkers, Sorry, Boggle, Uno, etc. But our game of choice as a family and among friends was most definitely 500 Rummy. Need a quick game at home to relax, out come the cards to play Rummy. Uncle Steve is over for a visit, time for me to lose multiple games of Rummy. Visiting Grandma Ruby for the weekend, pull the cards out of the kitchen drawer and play some Rummy. Inside recess at school because of rain, teacher hands out decks and cards and we play Rummy. On a Boy Scout Campout, someone has a deck of cards in their pack and we play on a picnic table. Pizza King delivery at home, play a few hands of Rummy. On vacation and back at our hotel for the night, play some Rummy on the bed. Even to this day, a few hands of Rummy can be a quick game, or we play a more modern board game version in Rummikub with my family and my wife’s family.
I have so many memories of playing Rummy, starting when was very little when I barely understood the game to teaching it to my daughters as they were learning to play games themselves. Rummy crossed generations, crossed decades, and moved with me from place to place. 500 Rummy is a simple game that just needs a deck of cards, paper and pencil if you want to keep score. So many pads of paper, scraps of paper, napkins, edges of newspapers, backs of calendars, school paper towels, old receipts, and more became score pads for games of Rummy. Rummy taught me so much about games.
- Games are for all ages. Children, Parents, and Grandparents all can enjoy gaming together.
- A deck of cards offers so much game play. Rummy was the most played, but there was also War, Crazy 8s, Slapjack, Euchre, Blackjack, Poker, Go Fish, and more.
- Simple games can hide complex strategies. As a kid, I did not realize I was learning strategy while playing Rummy. But as a parent, I purposely used Rummy to help my daughters learn more about strategic gameplay.
- Luck and strategy can combine for great game play. Rummy wasn’t the only game that taught me to balance luck and strategy, but it was the one I had the most practice with early in my life. As I grew older, especially with some later math classes, I started understanding probabilities and their influence on gaming. As a kid playing Rummy, I didn’t know it but I was learning this naturally as I anticipated my chances for a card I needed becoming available.
Of all the games I have played over the years, 500 Rummy definitely has the most plays of any game. No doubt about that. And you know what? Even after all those plays, I would play a game in a moment if you asked. How many games do I own that I would be willing to play over and over and over after all these years and still not be bored by them?
What about you? What game have you played the most over the years that had a huge impact on you? I would be very interested in others writing about their #Top10InfluentialGames. Next week, I will discuss a game I was introduced to in Junior High that changed the way I viewed board games.