Review: Cribbage With Grandpas

Cribbage With Grandpas
Released 8/10/2016
Less Than Three Interactive

When it comes to traditional card games, the mobile market is lousy with options. You can find just about any game you played after school or on a family vacation or saw played on a Boy Scout campout but didn’t actually get to play because none of the other kids wanted to take the time to teach you how to play Setback even though they had plenty of time to go smoke cigarettes behind the craft supplies shed. All sorts of classic card games represented and reinterpreted half a dozen ways each.

But whether they recreate nothing more than the basic ruleset, or they explode with themed decks and animated play areas and particle effects, they’re all missing something. They’re missing one of the most integral parts of the card game experience. Grandpas.

Cribbage with Grandpas aims to correct this, and usher in a new era of pensioner-adjacent card games. It is, at its base, cribbage. It’s a faithful and accurate recreation, to be sure, but as far as actual gameplay is concerned, its cribbage. Cards move around the screen. Some of them go into your crib. Some go in the other guys’. You put cards in order or add up to 15. Scoring pegs track your score. You know that game called cribbage? It’s that.

The important, maybe even revolutionary, feature of Cribbage with Grandpas comes not from the Cribbage, but from the Grandpas. Every game of cribbage is played against a grandpa not just of your choosing, but of your own creation. You read right. Cribbage with Grandpas has what may be the world’s first fully featured, unparalleled, grandpa editor.

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While the enormity of that sinks in, look at this grandpa I made. His name is Chico. He looks a bit like my grandpa that I used to play Dominos with. Cribbage with Grandpas not only let me customize the look of my pappy, but choose the grandpa-appropriate setting for our game, and even what he’s brought with him to nosh on. I had Chico bring a fish, because if Portuguese people don’t eat fish their bones fall out.

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Remember Abe Vigoda? This one kind of looks like him, right? Customizing grandpas doesn’t end with the visual, either. Because there’s more to grandpas than just how they look. You can choose the kind of personality you want from your grandpa, and that reflects in the playful chatter and words of encouragement he gives you during each game. Want a less chatty grandpa? That’s fine too. It’s all under your control. Here’s another grandpa I made. He looks like Al Lewis, who played Grandpa Munster, who kind of looks like Ted Cruz.

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It’s extremely difficult to not be charmed by these old men who want nothing more than to spend a little time with you and play some cards. And they do a bang up job elevating what is at its root just cribbage, to a more memorable and personal experience. With so many other games leaning hard on nostalgia saying “Hey, remember gaming in the 90’s?” it’s nice that there’s a game out there willing to say “Hey, kid, remember grandpas?” And I do. Mine wore a hat.

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