Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Speed the game

No, I'm not writing about the newest MMO feauturing a bus, explosives, and the voice talents Mr. Reeves. Now that would be a niche game.

I went camping with my son and his scout troop last week. During their down time, they played a card game called Speed. I played a variant when I was younger, so it was cool seeing the boys ranging from ages 11 to 17 challenging each other to quick rounds. Eventually we had to confiscate the decks so the boys would get back to their service projects.

Speed is a shedding type of card game where your goal is to play all the cards in your hand and draw pile before your opponent. To do this, you play cards from your hand as fast as possible that are one higher or lower than one of the cards on the discard piles. Players replenish their hands from their draw piles up to a max of five cards. If all players are unable to play, you put a new card on top of the discard piles from little side decks. There are no turns in speed. You play as quickly as possible. You can play runs of cards at the same time or block your opponent by laying a card on the discard pile first.

The game requires quick thinking and quick reflexes (and a quick wit helps to throw your opponent off with some well timed trash talk). Good qualities to improve. Yes, even the proper way to trash talk.

My son has been challenging me to Speed games every night since we've been back. While he's pretty good at it, he can't match my awe-inspiring skills, lighting-quick reflexes, god-like card playing powers. I kid. Another year or two and he will be beating me consistently instead of the other way around. There's been a few rounds I've one by mere luck.

Last night my five-year-old daughter asked me to teach her to play. She's smart so I knew she'd get how to play the game. But the quickness isn't there. She has troubles telling 6 and 9 apart and forgets the order of 10-J-Q-K-A-2. Ugh. How is she going to win the Junior Texas Hold 'Em Championship if she doesn't know the difference between two pair and a full house? What is her teacher thinking? Sure, she can read books and she's still in preschool, but how is she going to be competitive in the world of high stakes poker? I digress.

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