Indoor and Board Games

We wanted to keep things small and concise for our minivan camper conversion, so anything we suggest in this line will be the “travel versions” of normal sized games.  There are many available, and any search for “travel games” is sure to bring up a bunch of them, but we won’t make suggestions. We’ll show some examples, and you know by now that if you don’t see what you want, just search for any of the thousands more on the Amazon site! Everybody to their own taste. Heck, maybe you don’t even like board games!

We probably should have also said “table games” because many games played at tables do not require boards, and the first thing that comes to mind is card games. Just a plain old deck of playing cards can provide almost an infinite variety of games. It is probably the most ingenious game tool ever devised by man!  Along with a deck of cards, you probably should carry a good book on card games, too, so that you can learn about new games and how to play them.

I won’t even offer regular playing cards, since just about every convenience store has them. But what I will do is offer the rules to one of our favorite games below. I get easily bored with card games where you have to wit  your turn until everyone around the table takes their turns. That seems to me to be a lot of useless “down” time. I like more action in my games. So I was thrilled to learn this variation of solitaire, where everyone is moving at the same time. It can also be played by only two people, but is also fun to play with four (on two teams). I suppose you could even figure out a way to play with six, if you divide up the “duties”, but I think that might be a bit crowded. The game is called “Peanuts”, and here are the rules:


A fast moving, high-energy card game!

Peanuts is a game that can be played best with up to four players, but can work with more, less, and even with odd numbers of players. For our purposes here we will explain procedures for four players, playing as two teams.

It is a very fast game, with all players doing “something”, all at the same time. You have to be observant and fast-acting, as points can be lost easily by not getting cards into the center when you can. And you don’t want the other team to get there first!

If you are the type that gets bored with typical card games, and the waiting for play to go around the table and get back to you, then this is the cure!

Items needed:

-Two decks of cards with different colored backs (one color for each team).

-A pencil and blank pad of paper for keeping score.

The setup:

Two couples will be teams of two. It is necessary to use two full standard poker decks of cards, preferably of the same size, but of different colors on the back, such as red and blue. When a team chooses a color, that will remain their color throughout the play of the game.

Teams sit next to each other. Opposing teams sit across a table from one another.

The deal:

One person of each team starts off as the dealer for that team, and then with each round, the other team member deals. To determine who deals first, you can “cut” the deck to see who gets the highest card.

The dealer deals his partner 7 cards, 6 face down, and the 7th card face up on top of those. Those cards will be the partners “hand”. After that, the dealer also lays out 4 cards face up in columns next to each other. (These should be placed near their side of the table, leaving approximately a foot between the top of their rows, and the tops of the opposing teams rows. The rows of cards should be within sight of all teams, and the open center space within reach as well.)

Then the dealer lays 3 cards (one each) on top of the first three columns, then 2 (one each) on top of the first 2 columns, and finally one last card on the first column.

At this point the partner should have 7 cards in his possession, and 4 cards in the first column facing up on the table, 3 in the second column, 2 in the third column, and one card in the last column. The dealer holds the rest of the cards face down.

The play:

When both teams are ready, they agree to “go”. If there are any aces immediately showing, they may be placed face up in the center of the table to build on, and are open to either team to place cards on as they find them. Each ace of a particular suit must be followed by the deuce of that suit, and so on, until a deck is completed with a king. The colors of the backs don’t matter, as each team will be playing on it. When completed with a king, the full deck is turned over, and becomes out of play, but is later added to the total count to keep score. Immediately upon starting, the dealer starts flipping through the remainder of the deck in his hand, 3 cards at a time, just as he would for solitaire. He typically places the 3 cards face up on the table, but he may hold them in his hand if that works better. When he gets to the bottom of the deck in his hand, if he has 2 cards left, then he flips the stack on the table over (to be face down), picks them up, and then draws one more to be his “top” card in the “new” stack on the table. If he has only one left, then he would flip the stack and draw 2, the last of which would become his “top” card. In other words, only the “third” card can be used for an initial play before any can be used that are under it. Do not shuffle the cards. They must remain in the order in which they started.

His partner must try to play the first “face up” card in his stack of 7, either on one of the columns, or on one of the decks being built in the middle. Both partners on each team must be constantly watching the cards in their hands, in their columns, and the decks in the middle, as well as staying aware of what the opposing team is doing. As each top card in the partner’s hand is played, the next one can be revealed, but not before.

The dealer can play cards from his hand, as he flips them, or from those in the columns on the table. However, for every flip of 3 cards he must play the top card first, in order to use any under it.

As soon as an ace is uncovered, it must be placed face up in the middle as a starting point for a new deck that either team can play on. Whoever can place the next card on the deck in suit and numerical order gets the point. There can be as many as 8 decks started in the middle, unless someone ends the round by calling “Peanuts”.

The object:

The object of the game is for the “partner” (not the dealer) to get rid of the 7 cards in his hand, either on the columns, or on the decks in the middle, before the opposition does, at which point he calls out “Peanuts”. Whichever team has cards left in that stack must count them at the end of the round, at one point each, and that amount is deducted from their total points that were built up in the decks in the middle.

The scoring:

The total points are counted by gathering together all the cards in the decks in the middle of the table (the ones that were built on the aces), and then separate the cards by the colors of the backs (such as red for one team and blue for the other). Each card counts as one point. The points (colors) are counted for each team, and then the losing team (the one who didn’t go out first) has to also deduct the number of cards that were still in the “partners” hand at the end of the round. The remainder is their points for that round.

The cards in the columns and in the dealer’s hands are not counted. Simply push them aside at the end of the round, for re-grouping later, after the other cards have been counted.

Every card, from ace to king, that gets onto a deck in the middle, gets counted as one point. It doesn’t matter if the deck is not complete. That’s why it is important to get as many cards out there in the middle as you can. Rounds have been won by points, even though the partner still had cards in his hand and couldn’t go out first.

Separate the cards into their color groups, and count each team’s points. Don’t forget to deduct what the losing partner had in his hand when the round ended.

A simple “them and us” type score sheet can be used, and just keep adding the points up to the specified number that you decide to play to. It is usually convenient to play to 100 points, but you can adjust it as needed. If time is limited, another method would be to score by highest points out of “so many” rounds. As long as all teams agree to the rules, you can score however you want.

Once the counting is done, and the cards of the proper color are back with their respective teams, they are shuffled by the dealer from the last round and then the person that was the “partner” in the last round becomes the dealer for this new round. Alternate the dealer this way with each new round.

Alternative methods of play:

For two people: The dealer and the partner simply become the same person. Not only does one person have to deal and then flip cards, he must also keep an eye on the stack of seven cards and try to get rid of them, while watching the columns and the decks in the middle, plus watching his opponent’s moves. For those who love “multi-tasking”!

For three people: You can either use three decks and play as in the paragraph above, as three “teams”….. or the odd man out can play as a “team” against the other two, who will be working together as a team.

For five people: Two couples can play as teams with the odd man out playing as a third team by himself, with a third deck.

For six people: Simply use three different colored decks, and play as three teams.

More than six: Just about any combination of the above can be used, but if you have more than six people, it would be best to divide them into two different groups. Table space gets to be cramped with too many people, and a bigger table only puts the cards out of reach, and makes play difficult. It works best when all players can reach the decks in the middle so they can quickly put a card down before someone else.

If you want to copy these rules, just highlight the text within the box, and then go to “file”, “print”. When the printer dialogue box opens, click the button that says “selection” and then only your highlighted text will print. Depending on your printer settings, it will probably be about three sheets. That’s what my original document was.

There are many variations of dice games, too. Many of them don’t use normal dice with one through six dots on them. Some have other combinations of letters, numbers or symbols for use in all kinds of games. A quick search of “dice games” on Amazon will reveal many more then I show here.

And of course, there’s always dominoes! As always, if you don’t like what we offer, then search the  Amazon site for something else!

As we learn about other small, compact games that work great with RV’s, we’ll be sure to let you know about them! If you have any suggestions, post it to our blog!