Game Night

Week 27: #52 Ancestors – Solo

By Eilene Lyon

If the saying goes… “The family that plays together, stays together”…well, that didn’t exactly work out for us. However, I do have fond memories of our family game nights.

HalseDavid 002
The Players – circa 1976.

We had a number of the standard board games, including Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, etc. There were dice games, like Yahtzee. Obscure games such as Masterpiece and Twixt.

My personal favorite was Tripoley, a combination of several card games that involves betting with chips. I love chips – stacking them up, the ridges around the edges meshing just so. The bigger the pile, the better.


My brothers had a passion for the game Risk, where players try to achieve world domination by amassing armies and defeating rivals. And Little Brother became enmeshed in the Dungeon and Dragons craze for a while. I could never wrap my head around that one. Worse than trying to learn Bridge (shudder).

Some games called for a maximum of four players, so in a family of five, one person would sit out. With one game in particular, it was frequently me. Dad taught us a card game called “Solo.” My great-aunt Shirley told me that the Halse family (my dad’s uncles and aunts) would stay up until the wee hours playing this game.

You can find the rules here. I don’t recall using the bidding terms this site describes. Usually we just bid how many tricks we thought we had in our hands. If a person decides their hand is good enough to take at least 5 tricks, then they declare “Solo” and play against the other three.

Otherwise, the bid winner declares the suit that will be trump and names a card to establish partners. The partnerships are revealed through the play of the hand.


An odd feature of Solo is the high cards in the deck (which omits the cards 2-6 of each suit). The Queen of Clubs is highest, followed by the 7 of trump and the Queen of Spades. We didn’t place wagers as illustrated on the website, and I’m not certain how we kept score. But there is no designated end point to the game. If you wanted, you could play forever.

Of course the ultimate solo game is Solitaire. I confess to playing too much of it on my computer. But I used to play it with real cards and knew at least 5 different games besides the standard Klondike. I guess it’s fair to say an introvert like me doesn’t mind going solo.

Did/does your family have a favorite game?

Feature image: by Jude Beck on Unsplash

37 thoughts on “Game Night

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  1. I had forgotten about Masterpiece! My brother, nephew and great niece are here visiting and last night we played Sorry. I hadn’t played that game with my brother in about 45 years! Needless to say there was a lot of NOT Sorry going on! We used to play a lot of Rumoli with the Aunts and Uncles growing up. My husband and I were big cribbage players, my biggest regret there was teaching him how to pay attention so you get more points pegging!

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    1. How fun to have a family game night after a 45-year hiatus. Is Rumoli a card game? We enjoy cribbage and eventually got to where we just usually point out the other has missed counting points.

      When I was a kid, games I played with cousins were Candyland and Life.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooo. Bad timing. I was never a big TV watcher. When I was 12, we lived in Guatemala. Local TV was of no interest, and watching Maverick dubbed over with a high, squeaky Spanish voice just didn’t do it for me.😆

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We loved Monopoly and Clue and Scrabble and chess and checkers and lots of card games. But we rarely had a family game night. My father and I played chess, but mostly I played games with my friends. Now I play Scrabble online with a few friends and relatives! We had a tradition of playing Monopoly as adults at Thanksgiving when my dad was alive. My brother liked Risk also. I never played. Maybe it’s a Y chromosome thing!

    Like you, I am an introvert and used to play solitaire for hours as a kid—it was an escape for me. I’ve also wasted too much time online doing the same, though recently I am satisfied with genealogy as my escape!

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  3. We played Monopoly a lot! Also other standard board games like Snakes and Ladders, Ludo and Cluedo. I remember a word game called Kan U Go which seemed to be basically Scrabble with cards instead of tiles. Like you, I play Patience / Solitaire online too much. “Just one more game” rarely is.

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  4. I never understood Dungeons and Dragons either. My son is big into board games even though we didn’t play a great deal, but we did play. I’m more of an observer of the games that get played, always have been.

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    1. My enjoyment of a game always depended on whether the other players were good sports. There’s nothing more unpleasant than winning a game and having others pout about it. I was never one to lose on purpose, but would always lose graciously (as I recall).

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  5. We played a lot of board games and every year for Christmas we got a new board game. It was a family gift. I tried to keep that tradition going with my own family, but stopped it when the kids grew up. One of our favorites was Twenty Questions. My brother was good or lucky at it, I don’t know which sometimes, but he was hard to beat. We played it every Thanksgiving. He passed away in 2015 and we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to play it since then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a wonderful tradition. I rather think we got a new game most Christmases, too. After about 1985, there weren’t really any opportunities to play as a family anymore, which is sad, as you’ve found.


  6. My family did mostly card games. Rummy or Hearts, mostly, and I remember when we had visitors, the adults would play Pinochle.
    We did a lot of board games with our kids and do you know, our son is still a big fan of them. 🙂 He even collects special Clue editions, though his favorite is the classic.

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  7. I love board games! We rarely played things all as a family, because my father would only join in games he was good at – basically things that involved manual dexterity, like Pick Up Sticks and Operation, which I hated playing with him because he would sit there making the buzzer noise at me whilst I tried to remove the Bread Basket with shaky hands – whereas I always liked trivia games best. I played a lot of games with my grandparents though, especially Uno and Monopoly, and this ancient Mousetrap-esque game that involved setting up this Rube Goldberg style track that you would send marbles down to make things happen, like a bird flying out of its nest. My grandpa would set it up for me, which took AGES, and then I’d have the fun of putting the marbles in.

    Liked by 1 person

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