Growing up with three younger sisters, there was little reason to ever claim being bored during school vacations. And if you happened to let that chronic childhood complaint slip within earshot of a parent, they would inevitably find something for you to do, and usually it was something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
There was always a board game to play -- or a card game.
Our mother grew up with four brothers and two sisters and parents who loved a good game.
Our father's mother was a rummy and crossword fiend. So, we learned to play games at an early age.
Our mother and her twin brother had their 75th birthday this year and they are still game geeks of the highest order, so is their younger brother Joe.
Their mother wanted to play Skip-Bo for hours on end very nearly until her death in her 90s. Our father's father, after becoming a widower, would host multiple table games of Skip-Bo with his friends.
So, my sisters and I are pretty much genetically predisposed to enjoying board and card games.
One that has gained favorite status in the family is something called "Poker Bingo" which makes use of playing cards, poker chips, bingo sequences and checker-like blocking. Our mother's twin brother and his wife introduced it and now there is a session almost every week.
Our uncle and aunt made their own board for the game and use cards and poker chips bought separately, our mother's set is homemade, too. However, there are formal, boxed versions of the game, which is called "Sequence," manufactured by Jax Games.
I don't play it with my family, so I don't know what rules they use. These are the rules of the game according to Jax Games' Web site, jaxgames.com. You can purchase the game on the Web site and find it online elsewhere.
A connected series of five of the same colored chip either up or down, across or diagonally on the playing surface.
There are printed chips in the four corners of the game board. All players must use them as though their color marker chip is in the corner. When using a corner, only four of your marker chips are needed to complete a sequence. More than one player may use the same corner as part of a Sequence.
The object of the game:
For 2 players or 2 teams: One player or team must score two sequences (in our family it is three) before their opponents.
For 3 players or 3 teams: One player or team must score one sequence before their opponents.
Place the game board on a flat surface with enough room around the game board for placement of the draw deck of cards, marker chips and discards for each player.
For 2 players or 2 teams: Team players must be evenly divided into two teams. Team members must alternate their physical positions with opponents around the playing surface (when my family plays, we just move the board around).
For 3 players or 3 teams: Team players must divide evenly into three teams. Team members must alternate their physical positions every third player around the playing surface.
Players cut cards and lowest card deals -- aces are high. The dealer should shuffle the cards and deal out the same number of cards to each player (see below for proper number of cards to be dealt). Be sure all members of a team use the same color marker chips.
Table for Number of Cards Dealt Each Player:
- For 2 players, 7 cards each
- For 3 players, 6 cards each
- For 4 players, 6 cards each
- For 6 players, 5 cards each
- For 8 players, 4 cards each
- For 9 players, 4 cards each
- For 10 players, 3 cards each
- For 12 players, 3 cards each
Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer and moving in a clockwise direction, each player selects a card of their choice from their hand and places it face up on a discard pile (players should start their own discard pile in front of them visible to all other players) and then places one of their marker chips on the matching card on the game board. Each card is pictured twice on the game board. Jacks do not appear on the game board. A player can play on either one of the card spaces as long as it is not already covered by another marker chip. Once a marker chip has been played, it cannot be removed by an opponent except when using a one-eyed jack as explained below.
There are 8 jacks in the card deck. The 4 jacks with two eyes are wild. To play a two-eyed jack, place it on your discard pile and place one of your marker chips on any open space on the game board. The 4 jacks with one eye are anti-wild. To play a one-eyed jack, place it on your discard pile and remove one marker chip from the game board belonging to your opponent. That completes your turn. You cannot place one of your marker chips on that same space during this turn. You cannot remove a marker chip that is already part of a completed sequence. Once a sequence is achieved by a player or a team, it cannot be broken. You may play either one of the jacks whenever they work best for your strategy, during your turn.
If you hold a card in your hand which does not have an open space on the game board because both spaces representing that card are covered by a marker chip, you are holding a dead card and you may turn it in for a new card. When it is your turn, place the dead card on your discard pile, announce that you are turning in a dead card and take a replacement card (one card per turn). You then proceed to play your normal turn.
Loss of Card
Once you have taken your turn and placed your marker chip on the game board, you must take a card from the draw deck. If you fail to take a card before the next player makes a move and takes his/her card, you lose the right to take a card and you must finish the game with less cards than the other players -- a disadvantage.
There must be no table talk or coaching team members (in our family, moans, groans and curses are permitted). If a teammate says anything that alerts a fellow teammate to the fact that they are about to do something that they shouldn't, every member of that team must forfeit one card of their choice from their hand, placing it on their discard pile.
When the draw deck becomes depleted during play, all discard piles are shuffled together to create a new draw deck.
Play continues in a clockwise direction until one player or team scores the required number of sequences, at which point that player or team wins the game. If you are playing the game which requires two sequences to win, you may use any one of the spaces from your first sequence as part of your second.
Any number from 2 to 12 that is divisible by 2 or 3 can play (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 or 12). Up to 3 may play individually. More than 3 must be in teams. No more than 3 teams can play.
50 Green Marker Chips
35 Red Marker Chips
50 Blue marker Chips
104 Sequence Cards
When two players or teams are playing, use only blue and green marker chips. Red chips are used only when there is a third player or third team.
Joker cards are not used in the play of the Sequence game.
The number of rounds is up to the players ... you can play until you can't see straight, or you can set a limit, such as best two out of three, etc.