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In Loving Memory of my Father...
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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My father passed away last Sunday after battling cancer for a couple years. Having been married over 55 years, caring deeply for his wife who has been losing her battle to Alzheimers the last 7 years, raising 8 kids with his wife Anna, working hard to make ends meet on a family farm in Eastern Pennsylvania, and spoiling 9 grand children, he shall be greatly missed. I deeply appreciate him for instilling in us an appreciation for God, for family, integrity, and care for others. As part of family, he imparted in all of us kids a love of card and table games. All are of the mainstream variety although he indulged me a few times by trying my newfangled Euros...



Listed below are a number of the mainstream games that he loved to play with us kids.
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1. Board Game: UNO [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:10825]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This is one of the very first games that I remember playing with him. We would often play with a double deck due to the size of our family! I don't remember too much play of the basic game (which is boring), but we would spice it up by playing different variants. Our favorite family variant was speed uno where you could play out of turn if you played the same exact card. If you beat the next person in line to play by doing so, everyone between that person and you would be skipped and play would resume with the person to your right. Draw fours were particularly nasty as they would pile up and someone could get stuck drawing 32 cards if all 8 of them came out at the same time. We usually didn't play a draw 4 unless we had another one in reserve to protect against drawing more...I remember also playing a couple times a variant called cheat uno that my brother Phil introduced. That variant didn't really stick and I don't really remember much about it other than that it forced us to count out the cards for people to make sure they took their full measure and such.
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2. Board Game: Ligretto [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:1750]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This one was also played quite frequently and well loved. I'm not so sure dad loved this one so much although he would play. This game fit in with our heritage fairly well with our family's Dutch/German roots. Dad also spoke Pennsylvania Dutch very well. We'd frequently play this one in pairs.
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3. Board Game: Rook [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:1560]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This was dad's favorite card game. We would frequently play with two sets of cards without the 2,3,4's. Our house rules in my childhood days were rook high, have to play trump if you cannot play color led, and all partners score same amount of points. After becoming acquainted with different rules at one of my brother's households later in life, house rules changed slightly to where rook's power was only 10.5. We played this one almost every time family came together until the grandkids started coming. Funny how babies change everything!
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4. Board Game: Upwords [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:4204]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This became the signature game that dad and I would play every time I could get home on the holidays or vacation the last 10 years or so. Although we would play fairly cut-throat, our family variant was that you could look up words in the dictionary before playing them (removing the need for challenges) so both dad and I would often spend quite a bit of time with our noses in the dictionary looking to see if some weird combination of letters was actually a word. Like so many vocabulary games, this one also rewards strategic play in placement of tiles - avoid placing the second tile on a column in many cases. Dad and I fought over many a board in this one and he got to the point where he would always complain when I won the right to start a game because I would always start with a word that would stretch to the end of the board and couldn't be added on very easily...:-) I have a fond memory in this game of my dad calling me a "bastard" one game because of where I placed my tiles. Since my dad is usually very careful in his use of language I was very surprised but was able to joke right back - "Uh, I hope not. Are you telling me something I need to know?" We both had a good time with that one.
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5. Board Game: Contack [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:9232]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This was a speedy game that we frequently played in smaller groups. I don't remember too much about playing the game as this saw less play the last 10 years since when I was home there were often more people about since it was usually the holidays. I do remember one or two times having the perfect triangle to squeeze into a empty spot that fit on all three sides for mega points!
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6. Board Game: Rummikub [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:1383]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This was another game that saw quite a bit of play in the last 10 years. When mom was still somewhat cognizant, this was a game she could "play" although in all reality it just meant that dad got to play as two people and usually told her what to play! Even when mom was in full health, she wasn't all that great a game player but would be a good sport and join in for the fun of playing with family. In the last few years, dad and I would frequently play a game or two of this along with a game of Upwords in one sitting. I still enjoy playing this one today as I find it quite enjoyable trying to puzzle out how to move tiles around to get rid of mine.
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7. Board Game: Golf [Average Rating:5.27 Overall Rank:9942]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This was another card game that came out and got played a lot in the last 7 years or so since it was something my mom could play very easily. There is a lot of luck of the draw in this one, but I still find it enjoyable to play from time to time. I dislike playing with the joker, but my family loved playing with the joker so I put up with it.
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8. Board Game: Rack-O [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:6420]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Dad would usually beat me at this one. Played this just a few times in the last few years, but I remember playing this one a ton in my childhood years with mom and dad and my great aunt Annie. I generally would gamble too much in this one and give myself too little room to maneuver and dad would have the opportunity to yell out, "RACKO!!"
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9. Board Game: Rage [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2114]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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I'm using this game as the placeholder for the game we frequently played in our childhood using playing cards and none of the action cards used in Rage. We called the game Up and Down the River meaning we also played Rage twice basically in one sitting. We also did the "0" round where we would stick a card on our foreheads without looking at it when deciding how many tricks (or in this case, trick) we would take this round. I don't believe that in Up and Down the River there was any penalty for taking more tricks than you bid either so that increased the potential nastiness/screwage in a game...:-)
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10. Board Game: Pit [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1062]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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I suppose there should be no surprise that a farming family enjoys Pit, a game all about trading crops! This was frequently played with the grandkids too which made the game a bit more chaotic as one certain little girl would hold onto cards of multiple types, tough luck if you were trying to collect those goods! We, of course, played with the bell. The bell makes things much more exciting! Our original game is very worn; I'm not even sure the game still survives to this day!
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11. Board Game: Pick Two! [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:3710]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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I'm choosing this game as placeholder as what we play we call Speed Scrabble and you only pick one at a time. Dad doesn't usually do well at this one, but he was always willing to play. Dad tended to do better at games where he could take time to think about his moves a bit more.
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12. Board Game: Nine Men's Morris [Average Rating:5.32 Overall Rank:10611]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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Dad had a handmade copy using checkers and a cardboard board with the board drawn in using markers and a ruler. Any time he felt like he was losing too much, he would pull out this game and turn the tide as he almost always won. At one point I had gotten to the point where I was competitive with him but only for a brief moment. I think I've read somewhere that this game is broken but since no one in this family studied the game that closely, we never realized that fact...:-)
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13. Board Game: Probe [Average Rating:5.75 Overall Rank:5413]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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This was another popular game that was brought out again with some regularity when my nieces started enjoying the game with the family again. This is one game that I don't really get all that excited about playing, but was a good one in its time.
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14. Board Game: EuroGame [Average Rating:3.33 Unranked]
Larry Rice
United States
Irvine
California
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My dad did jump in and play a few eurogames. Some that come to mind include By Golly!, Pick Picknik, and R-Eco. He tried a few others as well, but in the last couple years I generally focused on playing the games he most enjoyed knowing his time was limited. Dad was diagnosed with cancer about a 18 months ago, endured an operation a year ago December where he lost his left eye and the doctors thought they had gotten all of the cancer and then all found out at Christmas this last year that the cancer had returned and was extremely aggressive and was given 3 months to 3 years. Sadly, the 3 months proved to be accurate. He will be and is already greatly missed.
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