Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best Christmas Gift Ever?

As a child, did your parents ever give you a Christmas gift that they regretted? A drum set? Boxing gloves? A chemistry set? Somewhere in the late 70’s, my parents gave my oldest brother a card game simply called Pit. I’m sure my parents, especially my mom, ruefully looked back on that holiday often. I believe they thought it was a benign, educational game about the Stock Market. How wrong they were and how sorry they became!

Pit was packaged in a bright orange box with coordinating orange cards and of course the bell! Originally the game languished on the toy shelf for a period of time. As a game it just didn’t call out to young children. I suppose in a bog of boredom of playing the same games we finally sat down and read the rules and played for the first time. We haven’t looked back since!

Pit in a nutshell: 3 to 8 players, 8 suits of commodity items (wheat, sugar, coffee…) ranging in value from 50 to 100. Players are dealt cards, the dealer declares the market open by ringing the bell, and bidding commences to trade commodities/cards: One! One! One! – Three! Three! Players must find someone willing to trade the same number of cards, continuing yelling numbers, make eye contact, swap cards, and then check your new cards and hope they match the commodity you are trying to “corner the Market”. Yelling and trading continues until someone gets all 9 matching commodity cards and rings the bell! The winner of the round scores whatever value is assigned to the commodity; Wheat is 100 points, quite the coup when you could score with Wheat! Play continues until someone scores 500 points.

Now imagine 5 to 8 children, all with healthy lungs, playing Pit in the house. The yelling, screaming, and bell ringing were the sounds of great fun to my siblings, but to an adult it was less than pleasant to say the least. We loved the game; it was loud, quick, and fun.

My father worked a full-time job and two part-time jobs so he wasn’t at home often to endure the Pit playing. However, my mother was a stay-at-home mom, how unfortunate for her. My mom soon declared that Pit could only be played OUTSIDE. So Pit became a warm weather, outside game. Once we convinced my mom that we could quietly play Pit in the house. We whispered our bids for a while, ultimately we surrendered to the power of Pit and we started yelling thus forever ending inside playing of Pit.

Somewhere, somehow, our Pit game was “lost”. I wouldn’t want to accuse my mom or dad of intentionally throwing out one of our favorite games, but it did suddenly disappear.

A few years ago I found Pit at the Ben Franklin and of course I bought it. Pit is packaged differently and my Standard Edition didn’t come with a bell. Pit would not be the same without the bell, so I bought one. We still love playing Pit. A childhood game to be enjoyed again as adults, awesome!

Note: We haven’t been banished to the outdoors, so far.


LisaR said...

I LOVE the game of Pit. It does bring back many fond childhood memories. Pit was a favorite game just like when we played spoons.

Sprite said...

OMG! I forgot about Spoons! That was always so much fun, we'll have to play it again soon.

COOKIE_LADY1170 said...

Spoons can be dangerous...we played it on vacation in Marco Island and IPJ took a chunk of skin of the top of my hand trying to get a spoon. I called it quits after that.