Why We Play Cribbage and Why You Should Play, Too

Been trying to find a new favorite pastime? The options are endless, so how do you choose the right game? Look no further! We can’t wait to tell you why cribbage is the game for you.

Cribbage has been around for ages! But what is it, you may wonder? Cribbage is an entertaining card game that requires minimal materials. So, put those phones away and get ready to fall in love with cribbage. 

History of Cribbage

up close image of cribbage board

It’s been said that cribbage was created by English poet Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century. The game’s foundation hasn’t changed much over the years, so you won’t have to worry about learning all the rules only for things to change.

Cribbage remained popular well into the 19th century, specifically among sailors, since it only required a deck of cards, a wooden cribbage board or pen and paper, and two players. As the British Empire expanded, cribbage was introduced all over the world and is still popular today.

A game with few rules, the original game simply required a pen and paper, but today’s wooden cribbage board with pegs has made for an improved experience. While luck and skill are required to play, this fast-moving game is fun for all ages!

How to Play Cribbage

The basic concept of the game involves building point-scoring card combinations or runs. The first player to reach 121 points wins. The score can be kept track of using an old-fashion pencil and paper or a wooden cribbage board with pegs.

The game 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, add the values together until you reach 31 or close to it, and repeat the process over again 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 is everything. Some players try scoring points while others try to stop their opponent from scoring. The wood cribbage board with pegs allows the game to move faster, but an old-fashioned pencil and paper will do the trick if you are in a pinch.

6 Reasons You Should Be Playing Cribbage

  • Stands the test of time
    Cribbage board with pegs and playing cards on tables
  • You only need a few materials
  • A two-player game
  • Easy learning curve
  • For all ages
  • Travels well

Cribbage Has Stood the Test of Time

People have been playing cribbage for years, and while you may think they are the only ones keeping the game alive, new generations are taught the game every year and begin finding their love for it. Others scope out the historic game to learn something new and unplug from technology. Cribbage has managed to hold its own all these years because it’s simple but still allows you to exercise your mind and show off your skills.

What You Need to Play Cribbage

Cribbage can be played with a standard deck of playing cards and a pencil and paper. While many opt for a wooden cribbage board, it doesn’t stop you from playing if you don’t have one on hand. This is one of the biggest draws to the game, as most households have these items lying around.

Cribbage Only Needs Two Players

cribbage board with pegs

Another great feature of cribbage is that only two players are needed. Most traditional card games were created for four players, making it harder to find a two-player game that wasn’t limiting. Cribbage ensured that two players could enjoy the game to its full advantage and not have to worry about inviting people over for a game night to meet headcount.

Cribbage is Easy to Learn

A game with a complex set of rules can be challenging to teach and even harder to convince someone to play. However, while strategy and skill are required, you can teach someone everything they need to know in a single sitting. In addition to being an easy game to pick up, it can also be played from start to finish within twenty minutes, making it an easy time commitment.

Cribbage is Fun for All Ages

From children to seniors, playing cribbage is for just about everyone. Younger children may need assistance when adding and subtracting numbers, but they will catch on quickly and embrace the challenge. Playing cribbage can also sharpen their math skills as they put together numbers quickly.

cribbage board pegs up close

Cribbage offers a great bonding experience with the younger and older generations. While many older generations grew up playing cribbage, having the opportunity to play with their grandchildren is a memory they will never forget. You can even let them choose a wood cribbage board that means something to them.

You Can Play Cribbage Anywhere

Grab a deck of cards and your wooden cribbage board or a pencil and paper to take this game on the go. Wooden cribbage boards are meant to be small and easily transported just about anywhere. Throw it in your picnic basket for a game after lunch, bring it on vacation for those early nights in the hotel, or bring it to game night to show off your skills.

Does The Perfect Wood Cribbage Board Exist?

Short answer, yes. A perfect wood cribbage board will tell a story to all those who play on it. Spend your summers on Nantucket with your family? Visiting friends in Ireland? Taking your first trip to the Great Lakes? Memories of your past, present, and future travels can be commemorated with one of our high-quality wood cribbage boards.

Why We Love Cribbage

  • Fast race
  • Fun and casual
  • Educational
  • Always a chance to win
  • Comebacks are possible
  • Creates memories and traditions

We Love a Good Race

Ireland Cribbage Board

If you have a love for racing, but cars and running aren’t your things, cribbage has you covered. The overall game is like one giant race to the finish line. Get your 121 points before your opponent to take the crown. Will you take the slow and steady approach or make a mad dash the whole way through? Plan your strategy and get to the top! 

It Has a Casual Feel

Sure, your adrenaline is racing as you move your peg closer and closer to the finish line, but you only have to plan for the move you are about to make, not ten moves ahead. While we all love a deep, brain-heavy game, sometimes we need a change of pace. Playing cribbage allows you to pace yourself and take a breather when it’s not your turn, allowing you to enjoy every aspect. 

It Has an Educational Component

If you and your child have started a tradition of playing cribbage, it will help them improve their math skills and tap into the strategic side of their brain as they continue to make their way through the game while trying to beat you. This is an excellent advantage for your child to learn, have fun, and bond with you! 

We Always Have a Chance to Win

Ever play a game against that one friend who always seems to win? It takes the fun out of it, right? When playing cribbage, it ultimately comes down to a game of luck and skill. Cribbage always allows you a chance to win, whether you have been playing for years or for the first time. We love a fighting chance! 

We Love a Good Comeback

There are plenty of games we have played where we realize at one point that we have no chance of winning anymore. When we play cribbage, we don’t ever feel like we are truly out of the game. The possibilities of card combinations are fascinating, allowing you to go from being stuck at the beginning to flying past your opponent in just a few hands!

We Love New Family Traditions

Boston Harbor Cribbage Board

Family traditions and memories are some of our favorite things. Cribbage has been passed down from generation to generation, starting with sailors on a boat and making its way down to two people at the kitchen table. If this is the first time you have heard about cribbage, learn the game yourself and pass it down to your children and grandchildren. It makes for a great family game that everyone can be a part of!

Where Can You Learn to Play Cribbage?

Have we convinced you yet? If you are ready to learn how to play cribbage, it’s good to know where you can learn. Unfortunately, you may not have a family member who has played before, and therefore, you must find an alternative way. Here are three ways you can learn to play cribbage:

  • Find someone to teach you
  • Watch a YouTube tutorial video
  • Download an app

Find a Family or Friend to Show You the Ropes

While the best way to learn anything is in person, that isn’t always possible. So, ask your network of family and friends first and see if anyone has played and is willing to teach you. Then, you can purchase your own high-quality wood cribbage board to prepare yourself and show off your latest trip to New Orleans while doing it! 

Pull Up a YouTube Video and Watch a Tutorial

YouTube is an excellent option for tutorials. If you haven’t found someone to teach you, watching a few different videos is a great way to learn how to play cribbage. With this option, you’ll be able to see the steps and different strategies people use.

Browse Your App Store

As always, there’s an app for that! So do your research and download an app that will teach you how to play cribbage. Most of them will let you play a few games against a computer as well, taking you from beginner to expert in no time.

Cribbage Terminology

Hawaiian Islands Cribbage Board
  • Pone
  • Muggins
  • Skunk


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. 


This term allows an opponent to claim points left on the board by a player. This rule is optional and is decided by the players before the game starts.

Skunk or Double Skunk? That is the Question!

Yes, we said skunk! Playing cribbage comes with some fun terminology. A skunk is when a cribbage game is won between thirty-one and sixty points. A double skunk is when sixty-one to ninety points win a game. When playing casually, skunks and double skunks don’t mean much but allow you a lot of bragging rights.

Skunking comes into play during tournaments where getting skunked or skunking your opponent could play a significant role in your winning. For example, American Cribbage Congress tournament rules state that games won by skunking are worth three game points instead of two. This extra point can make or break a winner at the end of a tournament.

Types of Creative Cribbage Boards

New Orleans Cribbage Board

Cribbage boards come in numerous sizes, shapes, and colors. We recommend one of our wood cribbage boards to add to your collection. Dazzle (or distract) your opponent with a Hawaiian Islands wooden cribbage board! Once you’ve won the game, you can show them some of the best spots you visited during your latest adventure.

All our high-quality wood cribbage boards are made with birch wood and can accommodate up to three players. Each wooden cribbage board includes skunks and pegs and a hidden storage compartment on the back.

Don’t wait too long to bring this game into your life. Playing cribbage has started family traditions, brought generations together, and provided loads of fun for years and years. It is clear why it’s still around today and continues to be increasingly popular!

Whether you choose a wooden cribbage board to match the high-quality wood map of your favorite parts of Vermont or choose another destination that means something to you, get ready to love playing cribbage as much as we do. Pick your wooden cribbage board today, and don’t forget the cribbage lovers in your life—these make great gifts! This timeless game isn’t going anywhere.

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