Ken's Thursday Trash Talk - Oh geez....Skip-Bo

Ken's Thursday Trash Talk - Oh geez....Skip-Bo Hot

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Ken B.Ken B.   July 23, 2015  
4184  
Skip Bo

Here's my plan. Each Thursday, I'm going to generate a random number and compare it against my collection of games and just blab about whatever my opinions or experiences are with that game.

The kick in the nuts this week? To start it all off? The randomizer chose "Skip-Bo." So this should be fun, right?


 

It's Summer of 1994. My friends and I had all found Magic and couldn't get enough of it. We talked Magic. We bought Magic. We went to any little shop we could find and pored over their pitiful little binders of cards, plucking out anything and everything that looked interesting.

During that time, my best friend Justin's house was our go-to destination for late-night Magic. Cards were slung in a cigarette smoke-filled haze as we'd play until 3:00 am in the morning.

Justin's mom Debbie is a saint. Not the saint in the traditional sense of the word, of course. She's brash, opinionated, and will tell you what's on her mind--and she won't mince words about it. But she's a saint in the sense that she'd let these teenagers come over, play cards until the wee hours, and smoke a billion cigarettes. Yet every morning, she'd let us sleep until whenever. And if we were there for dinner, she'd cook these wonderful meals for a houseful of us. Spaghetti was one of her specialties...but if you found the bay leaf in your noodles, it meant you were on point for dishes that night. (She'd later confess to planting the bay leaf on a semi-randomly rotating schedule.)

But I can't talk about meals without talking about her late husband. You see, Debbie's last name is Cobb. Her husband's name? Was Frank. Yes, Franklin Cobb. Yes, that's my user name on Boardgamegeek.

Frank was a man of the earth. He loved his beer...Keystone Beer. He wasn't an alcoholic, mind you, not in the sense you'd probably think of. He was an extremely kind man who would sit and shoot the shit with you about anything you could think of. He was the kind of man that would give you the shirt off his back even if it was his last one. And to bring this back around, Frank would get up every morning at 5am to watch the news. Yes, even on Saturdays. When he did, and there was a houseful of us, he'd cook a metric shit ton of breakfast. Sausage, bacon, biscuits, fried eggs, Now, we'd get up much later and re-heat this smorgasbord of food, but to a group of teenage boys hanging out and playing cards, this was extremely awesome.

(How did I get the username "Franklincobb" on BGG? Well, I'll tell ya. We used to make up all these stories as a running joke about this secret life that Frank, this simple sweet man, was living. He was a senator. He founded his own wrestling league in Florida, the FWW (yeah...Florida World Wrestling.) He was the world champion for there so long, he finally retired and gave up the belt, but there was always that hope for "one more match." So initially, I signed up for BGG to get rules info for War of the Ring and find out more about Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit. As part of the running gag, I used his name as my user name, because the man is EVERYWHERE. I had no idea I'd stick around BGG for the next ten years, with his name plainly visible. He's passed on since I started using that name, and in a weird way, I feel like it honors him a little bit, even if few people on earth really get the gag.)

I know what you're asking yourself.  What the hell does this have to do with Skip-Bo?

Skip-Bo at the time was one of Debbie's favorite card games. Her boys loved playing the games with the guns and the dragons and the swords, but she really liked Skip-Bo. Skip-Bo is one of those established games--everyone has stacks of cards they're trying to get rid of, and you have to play them to one of four piles in order. There's not a ton of thought to it as most plays are pretty obvious. But that's the thing--it was the perfect vehicle for spending a Saturday afternoon shooting the shit, flipping cards while watching college football on TV. We'd literally spend two or three hours flopping cards, passing the afternoon away.

So when I found a cheap thrift copy of Skip-Bo a few years ago, I picked it up. I thought my kids might really enjoy it, but they didn't really take to it all that much. And that's probably because of the hobbyist curse I've inflicted on them.

My wife jokes that if "it's a game sold at Wal-Mart, you aren't going to like it." And at some point over the years, after playing piles upon piles of games, I did become jaded to these accessible family games. Precisely the stuff you see at Wal-Mart. Now, there's some justification for that. There's a lot of shit on the shelves at Wal-Mart that isn't worth your time. And I'm not saying that Skip-Bo in particular is worth your time. But I think in the quest to play more and more and more new games, we lose some of the joy of the simpler games that are out there. I wasn't exposed to hundreds of games in 1994. So I could find some happiness shooting the shit and flipping Skip-Bo cards then.

Why do I own Skip-Bo? Nostalgia. It reminds me of lazy afternoons during a simpler time. It's the same reason I own a chess set, though Chess is a game I link with my dad, where we'd play Chess until 5 in the morning sometimes. Of course, that's another story, for another day.

Posted: 23 Jul 2015 12:15 by Million Dollar Mimring #206786
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I was far too young to hang out at the Cobb's house, but I'll be damned if your love of Skip-Bo didn't carry over to me and some of my friends. I know that Bobby and I would occasionally break the game out in between rounds of Jyhad or Magic. It's not a great game, but at the time it was a fun little filler that allowed for some goofy fun.
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 12:27 by Ska_baron #206788
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Exactly what I want in a FAT article - personal stories about games told in compelling/interesting ways.

Love the chess tease and can't wait until next Thursday.

Thanks, and yes, "Welcome back, Ken."
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 13:37 by boothwah #206793
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Nice article - My in-laws knew I was a card gamer when I married my wife - Not that they had any idea what that meant in the current vernacular - They just assumed that it meant I would be an enthusiastic participant in their Skip-Bo games at every family gathering.

My kids love it.

Nowadays they've invested in Apples to Apples as a means to get everyone sitting around the table instead of arguing over dogs/kids/cars/etc.

/waiting for the story about how you unloaded a bunch of WCW Nitro cards on a some shmuck.
// I used to lift pics from Franklin Cobbs image hosting all the time :)
///Pablo Honey......
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 13:47 by Black Barney #206795
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Ken, you should feel confident enough to put up a column with stuff like this that you post at your leisure. It's good enough to be up there, that's for sure.

Skip-Bo has always been the game I play with girlfriends' moms. I think over 2/3's of them have had moms that play this (including my ex mother-in-law). I love that game. Like Puerto Rico, it's brutal when you have a bad player (read: the mom) playing into the 3rd person and giving them free plays. Drives me nuts.


///....you washing your ass? Keep yourself clean? Honey?
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 14:57 by Gary Sax #206808
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Great article. Yahtzee fills Skip-bo's space in my heart. My mom loves to play Yahtzee and I've played it hundreds of times. Still love to play it. Played it last week when I was on vacation.
Posted: 23 Jul 2015 19:44 by mikecl #206865
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What a lovely story Ken. I used to play a French card game called Milles Bornes (take-that game) back in the day when I was boarding with this French Canadian family. They had two daughters on either side of my 14-years and I liked them both. The whole family would play the game on rainy weekends and we had such a great time. I bought a copy of the game a few years back just for those memories.
Posted: 24 Jul 2015 01:00 by SuperflyTNT #206883
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our game was Monopoly. I knew I'd be in business because up until a month or,two ago, I was undefeated. Everyone gripes about Monopoly but at its core, it is still the dirtiest fucking game ever made. Its brutal. Its merciless. At 6 I was already tearine people's heads off because as a country kid, you learn young about risk vs. reward. The first time I went looking for frogs in the creek and found a copperhead, I learned that frogs are not that fucking important in the same way that I seemed to instinctively know that Boardwalk is the biggest MacGuffin in history. Fuck Marcellus Walace and his fake ass briefcase. Baltic and Vermont, and Railroads....Cheap, and easily upgradesble to Super Saiyan Level 9, they are the Death Stars of business.

Well, I lost to someone who had never played, ever. It was my 14 year old who whipped the fuck out of me, Bankrupted my ass like a white, fat, non famous Fitty Cent. The little bitch crushed me at my own game. Baltic through Connecticut were her oysters, and she turned them into slumlord hotels that devastated me.

Could not have been more proud.
Posted: 24 Jul 2015 09:59 by Ken B. #206906
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Thanks for the kind words and also the recollections from everyone.

It's funny because I sat down for this with a blank slate and legitimately generated a random number to pick a game. When I matched it up with Skip-Bo, I was like, "Really? I'm going to launch this with Skip-Bo?" Then I realized--Ameritrashers don't wuss out in the face of randomness, we embrace it and roll with it. I'm glad I did, because this turned out to be a nice trip down memory lane.
Posted: 24 Jul 2015 10:01 by Ken B. #206909
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mikecl wrote:
What a lovely story Ken. I used to play a French card game called Milles Bornes (take-that game) back in the day when I was boarding with this French Canadian family. They had two daughters on either side of my 14-years and I liked them both. The whole family would play the game on rainy weekends and we had such a great time. I bought a copy of the game a few years back just for those memories.


Here's where I get to date myself--I played the shit out of Mille Bornes...on the Commodore 64. Fun time waster for sure. I always kind of mean to pick up a set, I've never owned a physical copy of it.
Posted: 24 Jul 2015 12:09 by boothwah #206941
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Ken B. wrote:

Here's where I get to date myself-.

I thought you waited for the current issue of Husky Wimmins Monthly
Posted: 24 Jul 2015 13:13 by mikecl #206949
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Ken B. wrote:
mikecl wrote:
What a lovely story Ken. I used to play a French card game called Milles Bornes (take-that game) back in the day when I was boarding with this French Canadian family. They had two daughters on either side of my 14-years and I liked them both. The whole family would play the game on rainy weekends and we had such a great time. I bought a copy of the game a few years back just for those memories.


Here's where I get to date myself--I played the shit out of Mille Bornes...on the Commodore 64. Fun time waster for sure. I always kind of mean to pick up a set, I've never owned a physical copy of it.

It's a better game in person because of it's take-that nature. You're trying to make kilometres and players are slapping, flat tires, out of gas, emergency vehicles, stop lights down to hold you up.
Posted: 26 Jul 2015 09:31 by wadenels #207067
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Great article. I still dig the old family games we played as kids like Skip-Bo, Uno, Rook, etc. I've always felt those games are more about people than gaming. When you're shooting the shit with your friends those games are a binding agent. Some people sit around the table drinking beer. Some people sit around the table playing Skip-Bo. It's the sitting around the table that's really the important part.
Posted: 26 Jul 2015 12:48 by SebastianBludd #207072
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We played a lot of Mille Bornes in high school french class, mostly because it wasn't the most rigorous of foreign language classes. The speed limit card was the worst card to get, and conversely, immunity to red lights and speed limits with the firetruck Right of Way card was awesome. But the best was reveling in your opponent's bad luck as they sat there with a red light/flat tire/accident/out of gas for half of the game. This is the edition we played.

Yahtzee and cribbage were the two games we played the most of in our family during holidays or after Sunday dinners. My mom likes Yahtzee; my dad, brothers, and brother-in-law (and later his sons) prefer cribbage. Recently we've added Doddle Dice to the rotation to play with the grandchildren. It's basically a picture-based Yahtzee without the math.
Posted: 26 Jul 2015 21:40 by mikecl #207089
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SebastianBludd wrote:
We played a lot of Mille Bornes in high school french class, mostly because it wasn't the most rigorous of foreign language classes. The speed limit card was the worst card to get, and conversely, immunity to red lights and speed limits with the firetruck Right of Way card was awesome. But the best was reveling in your opponent's bad luck as they sat there with a red light/flat tire/accident/out of gas for half of the game. This is the edition we played.

Yahtzee and cribbage were the two games we played the most of in our family during holidays or after Sunday dinners. My mom likes Yahtzee; my dad, brothers, and brother-in-law (and later his sons) prefer cribbage. Recently we've added Doddle Dice to the rotation to play with the grandchildren. It's basically a picture-based Yahtzee without the math.

Yeah that's the same edition of Milles Bornes we played annd I still have all right. Playing the immunity fire truck was called a Coup Fourré, quite literally a fuck-you card. You played it after someone played an accident or an out-of-gas or other disaster on you while yelling Fourré at the top of your lungs, scoring a ton of points.
Posted: 28 Jul 2015 02:57 by Space Ghost #207256
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I played a ton of Touring (the predecessor to Milles Borne) with my grandmother -- great memories.

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