Improvised Tarok Deck

  

Want to play Tarok but do not have the right deck, here is a solution. All you need is two decks of regular playing cards  with the same backing and a marker. From the first deck take out all the face cards, the Ace-4 of hearts and Diamonds, and 7-10 of Clubs and Spades. From the other deck we are going to take cards to be the trump suit and the cavaliers. Take all four Jacks and with the marker write a C next to the J in the corners. These are for the cavaliers. Take the Joker out and that will be used for the Škis. Finaly take the Ace-6 of spades and the 7-10 of Hearts and Diamonds. With these cards you can make the 21 cards needed for the trump suit. In the corners of the card write it’s rank Roman numerals. The Ace of spades is I all the way to the 10 of Diamond which is XXI. Now you are ready to play.

Make a Shogi set with Scrabble tiles

If you are not sure that you are ready to invest in a Shogi set for your game collection, try this. Take an unwanted set of Scrabble  tiles, and make your own Shogi set. 

You will need the tiles, a black marker, and a red marker. Chose the letters you want to represent each piece. For example the G can be the gold general.  Then write in black the unpromoted letter for any tiles not already printed. Finaly write the letter in red on the back of the tile for when it is promoted.  Now all you need is to draw a 9X9 grid on paper or cloth and you are ready to play.

This set has a number of advantages. It is inexpensive, fast to make, and tiles are easier to pick up and move then a print a play set on card stock. This set also is useful to teach a person how to play Shogi if they are not familiar with or intimidated by the writing on tradtional Shogi pieces.

 If you have any ideas how to make this set better please share it in the comments.

notice the foot soilders this set uses I tiles for unpromoted and E tiles for the promoted side

Field Expedient Dice Tray

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I was in a airport waiting for a flight recently. To pass the time I offered to play the person sitting next to me in a dice game. There were no tables in our waiting area. So we used a book to roll the dice on. I found that keeping the dice from falling off the book was a challange.

Fortunately I had a length of cord in my carry on luggage. I tied the ends of the cord to form a loop just big enough to fit on the book we were using as a table. After a few experimental rolls we found that the cord kept the dice from falling of the book without interfering the roll.

So next time you are trying to roll dice on a surface that is a little to small for the job, try this simple tip

Quoits at The Red Lion Pub in Newbrough

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I had a chance to watch a Quoits match while visiting the Red Lion Pub in Newbrough. Quoits is a game similar to Horseshoes. Rather than a bed of sand , the target pin for Quoits is wet clay. This means that when the metal rings hit they often sink into the clay.

The Quoit that is thrown closest to the pin earns a point. If the two closest Quoits were thrown by the same that player gets two points. A player gets two points for a quoit that lands over the pin. If an opponent throws a Quoit on top of ringer, only only the top quoit scores.

Here is example of the type of Quoits being thrown at this match.

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Put and Take

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If you read last weeks post, you now have ideas on how to make improvised game counters. So now I will share a game for you to put those counters into play. Put and Take games have been played for centuries by many different cultures. You can find many types of Put and Take tops from Dreidels to the eight sided teetotums of the Roaring Twenties. So whether paying for candy or coins why not give them a spin.

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The number of sides a top has decides how many actions a game will have. If playing with an eight sided top a game is played like this.

1. Any number of players may play.

2. The players agree on the amount of chips each player will put in the pot at the beginning of the game.

3. First player spins and follows the instructions shown on the top.

4. After the spin the player passes the top to the next player so that he or she can spin.

5. If a take all is spun or the pot is empty all players wanting to continue playing put the agreed amount of chips in the pot.

The markings on a eight sided top mean the following:

T1 = The player takes one from the pot
T2 = The player takes two from the pot
T3 = The spinner takes three from the pot
P1 = The player adds one to the pot
P2 = The player adds two to the pot
P3 = The player adds three to the pot
AP =All players add one to the pot.
TA = The player takes all of the pot

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Making a top for informal games is easy. The top shown in the photo is just a piece of cardboard cut into a octagon . Then a piece of wood with one tapered end is inserted in the middle of the cardboard. Finally label the eight sides with a game actions, and you are ready to spin.

While put and take games have a long history, I am interested to hear how popular the game is today. If you have experiences playing put and take, please share them in the comments.

Great ideas for game tokens and counters

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There are many games that use counters to keep score, but poker chips or other manufactured counters are not always convenient to use. This is when home made or improvised counters come to the rescue. With a little imagination many every day objects can be turned into counters for a game.

When it comes to game counters there is nothing like the weight and feel of real metal coins. This is why keeping a collection of foreign coins in your game box can come in handy. However ,if acquiring enough coins to play proves difficult, why not try collecting a stash of old arcade tokens. Tokens have the look and feel of real coins and are easy to find cheaply.

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Matchsticks or toothpicks can easily turned into game counters. They are cheap, portable, and available in most places. If you cut the heads of the matchsticks they can even be taken on a plane. To turn them into different point denominations try adding some color with a marker or nail polish. Use a different color for each denomination .

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When searching for game counters do not forget to check in the pantry. A bag beans or nuts unshelled could provide with more than enough counters to play with. If play for candies, it is a good idea to pick type that is individually wrapped. Even after lots of handling individually wrapped candies are still fit to eat.

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Popsicle sticks can easily be turned into mahjong style game counters. Traditional mahjong tallies are bone or plastic sticks with dots painted that resemble the dots on dominos. To turn your popsicle sticks into tallies cut them in half and round the edges with sand paper. Then write the tallies denomination with a marker. For extra style points use the domino style dots of the tradtional tallies.

If you have any ideas for improvised game counters, please share them in the comments .