Diapers and Dragons

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We're Crazy Party Animals, I Tell You. The Eighties Were a Cardboard Blur.

I grew up surrounded by my extended family on my mother's side, all of us out there in the wilds of West Africa. Sundays were always spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Holidays too. Since we had large groups of people, no TV, no movie theatre, no parks, no lots of things that people here take for granted, we played a lot of games.

One of the family favorites was, and is, a card game named "Maize." I have no idea where it came from or who made it up or anything: I've heard rumors it's known by other names and with some variations, but have never actually encountered them myself. Since my grandmother would not allow classic playing cards in her house (due to negative associations with gambling and such), we played with Rook cards instead, which worked fine. There are still four suits (colors) and fifteen cards (numbered 1 through 14, no face cards, with the "1" acting like an ace).

We played it on Sundays, on holidays, on vacations. We children could and did play it along with the adults. We were allowed to lay out our cards on chair seats when they became too much to hold, and the adults would politely ignore them. I remember playing it endlessly with my parents on a vacation by the beach, my younger sister running about in the sand and complaining that we were spending too much time playing "Mayonnaise." We have family jokes about my grandfather stabbing his hand into the air and saying Wait! with every card played and staring intently at his cards before allowing play to continue; about my grandmother (a nurse) constantly saying she was discharging cards instead of discarding them.

We still play it these days. My brother and I just played a full game (seven hands) over two nights with our grandparents while up here on vacation. My grandparents are doing very well, but they are in their eighties and sometimes their memories won't cooperate, so we've had to remind them of the rules the last several times we've played. Grandma, exasperated, finally said Just write them down so I can look at them next time! the other night, and we thought this was reasonable.

So my brother typed up the rules, I nitpicked--er, edited--them, and voila! It's only taken forty or fifty years for someone to get around to that.

And because I'm generous and like to encourage social game-playing, I'm sharing the rules with you! They're written for both regular and Rook cards, and you can download the PDF file here.

You're welcome.

(Dark chocolate would be considered acceptable payment for services rendered.)

(I might even share with my brother.)

9 bits of love:

The Kampers said...

What fun! Noah's family LOVES card games, so we may need to pull this out next time they are all around! Glad you having such a great vacation!

dad said...

Thank you, dear, for the rules. We love paying the game as it is fun, not too difficult to learn and is great for all ages! I am so glad that you were able to go see grandma and grandpa!!

GingerB said...

Next time I am not chasing babies, maybe I can try your game. Back when I was single and childless and I would camp or take trips with my girlfriends, we spent a lot of time playing cards and board games but now it is limited to New Year's Eve and other exciting special holidays.

Draft Queen said...

I'll send the dark chocolate ASAP.

Todd said...

Sounds like fun, but I would rather learn the game by having someone teach me than read the rules.

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

We've some family card games like that. They involve at one point sticking cards onto your head. We've played it in restaurants. My family has no shame.

An award for you over at mine. Apologies for more swearing on the award... just can't resist it!

Heidi said...

Looks just like a game (with another name, that I can't remember) that some dear friends taught us when I was in Austin.

Great fun but less fun with just two of us - I need to teach my parents!

LoriM said...

Love Maize! Some call it Shanghai Rummy. It's a lot like Phase 10 (of the Uno family, I believe), but the buying of cards makes it much more interesting. We now play "Phase 10 - House Rules" - with 2 decks of Phase 10 cards and the buying rule added.

Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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