Friday, August 19, 2022

Euchre is fun-damental

There’s an anecdote that, in the 1890, an Englishman wrote to an editor, asking for a game simple enough that he could teach it to his young son that would give him a taste of Whist. The editor replied he had the perfect game, Whist.

You can tell that the anecdote happened in England because if it had happened in the American Midwest, he’d have said Euchre.

I have no business being as bad at Euchre as I am. I certainly played it often enough in high school and college. But, no, I’m terrible at it. I do think it’s brilliant though.

(I also know there are a lot of flavors of Euchre floating around out there. But the only one I have really experienced is the four-player, 24-card version)

I understand that Euchre is decried as being too simple… but I’ve never actually met anyone who has said that. I would actually say that a more fair description of Euchre is not that it’s simple but bloody straightforward.

Euchre doesn’t have any funny twists or turns that modern, designer trick taking games require. And only having 24 cards makes keeping track of cards and figuring out odds not too difficult. The game has a reputation for being a game that you can play while arguing, drinking or watching TV.

At the same time, Euchre has partners. Euchre has trumps. Euchre has bidding. And, yes, I have seen trick taking games that haven’t had those elements. 

I will argue that Euchre will teach you the fundamentals of the trick taking genre, that it will build a bedrock of understanding the genre. And it is good enough for you to keep coming back to it. I have a friend who swears his grandfather was buried with a Euchre hand.

Euchre is a cultural institution. Which doesn’t guarantee a game is good but Euchre does happen to be a good game. Euchre teaches you to be a better gamer.

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