RV Games

Once you have stayed at an RV park or two, you will realize that most of the folks have lots of time on their hands, and playing various games is a good way to spend some time enjoying the fellowship of fellow travelers.

Domino games and card games are, by far, the most popular. Different RV parks have different games, but the ones listed below can easily be played by just one couple or several couples.

Domino Games.

graphic of dominos

Mexican Train. This is, by far, the favorite domino game enjoyed by RVers just about everywhere. This game requires a special set of dominos called "Double Twelves" that can be found at Quartzsite, Yuma, and sometimes other swap meets or game stores. When most folks get a set of Double Twelve dominos, they also usually get a "chicken foot" and several small, varied colored plastic train engines.

Not all RVers seem to use (or agree) on a fixed set of rules, so it is a good idea to find out how your particular group of RV friends plays the game.

High Rise. This game is a three-dimension domino game. You play it in layers, and the score is multiplied by the layer number on which the play is made (really nice if you place a 12-dot domino on level eight). This game, though rather pricey, is available at your favorite camping supply store. You are cautioned that this game can be both addictive and sometimes very fustrating.

Card Games.

graphic of playing cards

Card games seem to be the hands-down favorite games among the RV set. Card games can be great fun in a group, but can also be easily played with just two people. Some of these games require special decks, while others simply use one or more decks of standard playing cards (some games using the Jokers and other games do not).

Casino. Casino is a fun card game that doesn't take a lot of thinking, and we enjoy it as an end-of-the-day diversion when we are too tired to do much else.

Casino requires a standard deck of playing cards, with the Jokers removed, and can be played by two or four people.

(We developed our own score sheets to help us remember the scoring rules and to keep track of the hands as they are played.)

Golf. Golf, as the game is know by most folks, is also a fun game, but it is often a bit frustrating. Golf requires two merged decks of standard playing cards, including the Jokers. This game can be played by two to six players. If there are four or six players, usually the game is played as a partnership.

Golf is another of those "end-of-day-games that doesn't take too much brain power. An RV couple with whom we often enjoy playing card games has named this game "Pass the Love." Once you have played this game a few times, it will be obvious where the term came from—since you often have to pass a valuable card to the person on your left.

Skip Bo. This game requires a special set of playing cards (the equivalent of about three decks of playing cards. However, the cards are unique, and come as a set that can be purchased at most Target stores for a very reasonable price.

Skip Bo can be played by two to four folks, and even six would work OK. The directions call for dealing 30 cards to each player, but we have found that the game seems to never end. We always play Skip Bo by dealing only 15 cards to each player, and the game is still fun and often frustrating—but the hands don 't seem to go on forever.

Pokeno. This card game uses a standard set of playing cards, but requires a special "playing board" that you can either buy or is fairly simple to make. Pokeno is a "money" game where money often changes hands at sometimes almost every play. Don't worry, though, the game is usually played with pennies. The only downside to this, is that you should have already accumulated about $2 worth of pennies before you begin to play. Some experienced Pokeno friends of ours keep a large stash of pennies in their motorhome, and are willing to sell you a bunch of pennies before play begins.

Hand and Foot. This game is rather complicated, and not everyone enjoys trying to learn the rules. We are not part of the RV crowd that really enjoys this game, but many RVers find this game to be one of their favorites.

Nine Down. For those of you who like a mental challenge and competitive bidding in a card game, then you might really enjoy Nine Down.

Nine Down is played with a regular deck of playing cards and can be played by two people— although four people makes a much more interesting game. A card is turned over to determine which card suit is Trump for the current hand, and then each player bids his/her "best guess" as to how many tricks he/she expects to take. No, this game is not Bridge, but sometimes the competition among the players can get very intense.

Because of the mental concentration required (and we are not in the habit of counting cards), we usually save this game for those occasions when we feel mentally sharp (Gee, really? When is that?), or our guests really want to play Nine Down.

(We developed our own score sheets to help us remember the scoring rules and to keep track of the hands as they are played.)

Other Card Games. Many other, more recognized, card games are also regularly played by RVers:

Because these games are almost thought of as "standard" card games, we won't go into the details here, since many of the rules are rather complex.

Dice Games.

graphic of a pair of dice

There are two dice games that seem to have favor among the RV crowd:

Jokers and Pegs. Jokers and Pegs is the favorite among many, but the cost of the necessary game stuff (besides the dice) can be rather expensive. Jokers and Pegs is usually played on a specially designed layout, allowing two or more players to play at the same time, but requiring that each player have their own "board" space.

You can find these special boards at Quartzsite and other places. However, there is an enterprising RV who makes these game board pieces (and has all the small scoring pegs), and his board pieces (you can select the type of wood) show off a precise form of craftsmanship. The only drawback for some RVers is that a set of six boards can cost as much as $50.

Unfortunately, at the moment, we can't find the guy's card, but he does frequent the Pilot Knob RV park located West of Yuma on I-10. (In our humble opinions, once you have seen the crasftsmanship of these "boards", the other, more readily obtained boards look rather cheesy.

Greed. Greed is a fun dice game that can be played almost anywhere, since no special board is required. Greed is played with six dice, and can be a fun, but sometimes very frustrating, game.

When you roll a certain sequence of dice, your score increases and you can continue to roll for a higher score. However, if you fail to roll the required sequence, you lose all your points for your current turn at the dice. It is up to each player to decide when to stop (and keep their points from the current hand) or to continue on and try for even more points.

Some folks tend to be more aggressive (greedy) and try their luck when they can only throw one or two dice, and some folks are more conservative (less greedy), usually not electing to throw the dice unless there are three dice remaining. Sometimes the tortise does indeed beat the hare.

Outdoor Games.

Polish Golf. Polish Golf is a very fun outdoor game and can be played by just about all campers from the age of six or so on up to octogenarians. The game is played with two three-level frames that are set 30 feet apart. The object is to toss a 12" long rope with a golf ball attached to each end) from one frame to the other frame, getting a different a different amount of points for the rope/balls to wrap around the lower bar (3 pts.), middle bar (2 pts.) or top bar (1 pt.) of the frame.

Each person takes turns, each throwing one rope at a time. Scoring is done after both people have thrown their three ropes. (Sometimes a rope will cause one thrown earlier to fall off.)

If four people are playing, they usually play as partners, but they always throw from the same frame, rather than walking back and forth beween throw sessions.

The scoring is like some pool games—you must go out with exactly 21 points. If you go over, your points start subtracting from your score.

The frames are quite easy to make out of 3/4" PVC, some fittings, and two lengths of rebar. Basically, the frames are 3 feet wide and the horizontal bars are placed at 12", 24" and "36 inches about the ground. If one piece of 1/2" rebar is placed in the each base piece before caps are glue on, your frames will easily withstand the hit of a rope/ball combo on the top rung.

After we first saw this game and learned how to play it, we made a stop at a Parker, AZ, hardware store to buy the parts, take them back to our RV, and put the game together. However, being ever mindful of the limited storage space in our RV, we carefully thought out the construction phase, so that all the parts are three feet in length, and only the bases, and uprights have glued fittings. The horizontal bars are just 3-foot lengths of 3/4" Schedule 40 PVC pipe. When disassembled, the entire game easily fits into a foldable chair storage bag!

Buying 12 golf balls can sometimes be a bit pricey, but vendors in Yuma usually have bargains where you can buy 12 balls for sometimes as little as $3. One word of caution, from experience—don't use the plastisized rope from your favorite home center. Get ordinary 1/8" cotton clothes line rope for making your six ball/rope pieces.

We have often been stopped when playing this game by folks interested in what we were playing, and many of them were also interested in it as a game for their grandkids. We always seem to run out of instruction sheets for building this game.

We have seen this game played successfully by folks in wheelchairs, and even a blind person or two (who was accompanied by a good spotter.) Polish Golf makes a wonderful party game.

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