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The quest for the 20-point stick

May 6, 2013

I sometimes forget to write about the traditional games that we play. One that crops up once in a while is pick-up sticks. You know, the one where you drop a bunch of wooden sticks on the table or floor and score points for picking up sticks without moving any of the others.

The green ones may only be worth two points, but every little helps...

The green ones may only be worth two points, but every little helps…

As with a lot of dexterity games this is not exactly my cup of tea, but mixed in with other games (we’ve just played it alongside draughts and Guilds of Cadwallon — about which, more soon) it’s a fun little diversion.

Actually, I think the main thing to write about here is how much the game relies on fair play. More than just about any other game we have played together, players need honesty, integrity, and willingness to accept what is. The game can so easily descend into “You moved the red one!”, “No I didn’t!”, “Did too!” arguments.

From this standpoint (and many others, of course), I am so proud of Miss B. I very rarely need to point out that she has nudged another stick. Sometimes she just drops a stick back in without me noticing anything awry and tells me that she moved one that she didn’t mean to and that it is my turn.

When that level of sportsmanship is being displayed I am more than happy to play again, even in games that I’m not keen on.

The verdict from Miss B (aged 6¼-odd): “It’s really hard to keep still on other people’s turn. I like the way there’s only one of the black pick-up sticks so that the one that gets it will have a better chance of winning.”

The game: pick-up sticks (traditional).

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