5 Tips and Tricks for Cribbage

Board games have been around for ages and have continued to evolve. One of our favorite board games is cribbage! Whether you have been playing cribbage for years or recently found your love for the game, you know there is so much to learn. While the game is easy to play and requires minimal materials, knowing the proper terminology and scoring rules is essential. 

While math may not be your strong suit, it will come in handy with this game! We are so excited to be a part of your cribbage journey, so we’ve compiled our top five tips and tricks to share with you! But, before we begin, let’s go over some cribbage basics! 

 

The Fascinating History of Board Games

Board games are tabletop games that are used to move pieces or place them in specific spots on the pre-marked board. Most board games feature a competition between two or more players.

Senet, found in Egypt, is one of the oldest-known board games in history. It was even found on top of tombs. However, it wasn’t until 1822 that board games were accepted and published in the United States.

 

Cribbage Trivia You Want to Know

One of the most fascinating pieces of cribbage trivia is that the cribbage board predates the game itself. The board game was used for scoring other games for years before cribbage was created. 

While many games now have their own scoring boards, some people still use cribbage boards for more than just cribbage. We love board games, especially ones that tell a story! That’s why we always recommend our Great Lakes cribbage board with expertly etched intricate details for one of our favorite spots!

 

Cribbage Rules!

The concept of the game involves building point-scoring card combinations or runs. The first player to reach 121 points wins. An old-fashion pencil and paper or a wooden cribbage board with pegs are used to keep track of the score.

Cribbage is played in a series of hands where each player is dealt six cards and must set aside two of them into a “crib.” Then, playing in turns, players add the values together until you reach 31 or close to it and repeat the process until someone has 121 points (though some players opt to stop at 61 points). Wooden cribbage boards are designed for both 121- and 61-point games.

Combinations include cards that add up to 15, pairs and triples, four of a kind, and runs. Cribbage is a game of numbers. The math is simple, but your strategy can’t be. While some players try scoring points, others try to stop their opponent from scoring. The wooden cribbage board has pegs allowing the game to move faster; however, an old-fashioned pencil and paper will work just fine!

 

Let’s Talk Cribbage

 

A Pone in Cribbage

The dealer starts off the game, but the player who cuts the deck of cards is the pone and is generally the player to the dealer’s right. 

 

Can You Muggins?

Muggins is taking points your opponent misses. You can take these points in two ways. The first is if your opponent misses points during the play. The second is when your opponent wrongly counts and leaves points behind. Muggins is optional and must be decided by the players before the game starts.

 

Is Skunking Your Thing?

A skunk in a cribbage game is won between 31 and 60 points. A double skunk is when 61 to 90 points win a game. Of course, skunks and double skunks don’t mean much when playing casually, but if you’re playing purely for bragging rights, this is how to get them. 

However, skunking comes in handy during tournaments where getting skunked or skunking your opponent could play a significant role in your winning. So, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to those tips and tricks we promised you!

 

5 Tips & Tricks for Cribbage You’ll Love

  • Deal
  • Keep your low cards
  • Practice
  • Be conservative
  • Think ahead

 

Offer to Deal First!

If you feel comfortable dealing, offer to deal first. While the game is equal in just about everything, there is luck in dealing first. The player with the lowest card deals first when cutting the deck for the first deal. The dealer automatically gets two points if a jack is the starter card! 

 

Keep Your Low-Hanging Cards

While other board games may teach you to always save your high cards for last, cribbage is the opposite. Keeping your lower cards for the final hands offers a better opportunity to score points and bring you to the finish line!

 

Practice Counting Your Hand

If you are new to cribbage, practice counting different hands and moving the pegs using a cribbage board. Any missed points during a game are gone for good, so getting familiar with the different hands and their worth will come in handy as you begin to play! Another perk of practicing your counting: you could pull a muggins if your opponent overlooked possible points!

 

It’s Not All or Nothing

Playing cribbage is not a gambler’s game. You aren’t always aiming for the most successful hand every turn. Saving what could be a huge hand could cost several points throughout the game. Use your hand wisely but don’t expect one hand to seal your win. You have a much better chance of playing something every hand than hoping one hand will let you win. 

 

Stay Ahead of Your Opponents

Now that you feel confident in counting any hand, you will learn how to stay ahead of your opponents. If your opponent has the lead, they are probably trying to set up a run of three cards in hopes you will have something in your hand that helps them. You can take away that option by getting rid of a few points.

Remember that you need to focus on the current hand and other hands that could be played based on what cards are still dealt and how many points each player has. Always keep your eye on the cribbage board.

Feeling ready to play your first game of cribbage? Grab one of our wooden cribbage boards and see why the game is still popular today. 

We offer cribbage boards that can help commemorate your latest trip to Block Island or summer vacation to Italy. Collect them as a type of décor, showing them off as well as introducing people to a new game when you have visitors. It won’t be long before you fall in love with this timeless game, sure to provide fun and entertainment every time!


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