Words about worlds

Games for the gloaming

by | Oct 2, 2022 | Games | 0 comments

As the nights grow longer, I find myself thinking about games that are best played in the dark. Outdoor games like hide-and-seek and kick the can took on a special zest when the sun went down. Frisbee goes from tame to reckless when you can barely see the disc. I have a vague recollection of a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee but it had two drawbacks: it was kept in a closet most of the time, so it was never ready to use; and one of the dogs had chewed it. Probably more than one.

One game I invented for my own use was a form of Solitaire. You start after sunset and set up away from artificial lighting. It’s easy when you start. Play any variation you like. Keep playing until the colors dim, until the numbers grow hard to see. Quickly, finish the game you are on—win or lose, doesn’t matter, just finish. Now, shuffle and set up again. Set up one of the variations with an elaborate layout, plenty of cards there in front of you.

Now play, very slowly. Try to remember each card. As the last light fades, you’ll have only your memory to go on. Play as fairly as you can but don’t stop. When you can’t see, play by your best guess. Press on. Only when you have won or the cards have beaten you, only then, turn on the light–and laugh at the results.

Someday, I would like to write a game along those lines: something like Memory, something like gin rummy, for several friends to play as the day’s light fades.


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