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                                             February 19-20, 2010

   The card games that
   I like best are solitares    The cards are
   played with all cards        never used to       The function of
   face-up, e.g. freecell.      conceal a piece     the cards is
                                of information.     typically to
                                                    generate a
     There's a really           The card game       random layout,
     obscure one called         equivalents of      and the goal is
     "Gaps" that I found        chess.              to impose order.
     in my old book of
     "101 Ways to Play

                                One reason I was fascinated by
     You lay out all the        this game is the book claimed
     cards in 4 rows, and       it was purely "mechanical"
     pick up the aces to        without room for exercise of
     create "gaps".             skill.

     You are then allowed          Clearly not so: it's just
     to move cards only            so hard to think about, it
     where they follow in          might seem that way to you.
     sequence and match in
     suit the card before            It's pretty cool,
     the gap.                        though impossible
                                     to win.
     A gap at the front
     may be filled with                 As opposed to "freecell",
     any available 2.                   which is probably always
                                        winnable, though you won't
     Goal: order the entire             always see how.
     deck in suit and sequence.

There were a number of
(largely) solitary atheltic
pursuits that I liked when
I was a kid, (such as tree

I was prone to inventing new
game-like activities...  for
example "frisbee juggling":
once you've mastered the art
of throwing a frisbee up
against the wind so that it
comes back to you, can you do       I found I had to work
that with two frisbees?  More?      really hard just to
How long can you keep them in       keep two in the air,
the air?                            and could manage three
                                    only briefly.

     One of the more interesting ones
     I came up with was "vampire".

     This requires an open field, speckled
     by shadows of cumulus clouds.               I had access to these
                                                 in New York... in
     The goal of the game is to get              California the skies
     from one side of the field to               are depressingly
     the other.  You're only allowed             clear, except on the
     to move through the shadows.                rare occasions when
     If you're touched by sunlight,              they're completely
     you have to stand still and                 overcast.
     wait for the clouds to move
     and put you back into the shadows.

         If you're playing this
         with a partner, the
         two of you can race.