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Does anyone actually play dreidel games? - Input Junkie
December 17th, 2014
11:43 am


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Does anyone actually play dreidel games?
I've never seen or heard of anyone doing so, and by modern standards, dreidel is a really pathetic game.

Still, I hardly have a random sample of Jews, and I may have missed something. And for all I know, someone may have figured out a better game based on dreidel.

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[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 05:17 am (UTC)
Off-the-cuff suggestion: use a dreidel instead of a die in a regular board game. (As long as being able to roll a 5 or 6 isn't crucial, that is)
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
When my kids were young I guilted them into playing one round of dreidel a year since I would fry anything they wanted during the holiday. But only one round!

But we accumulated pretty little dreidels over time anyway, because even though it is a boring and unfair game, it is a lovely artifact.
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 06:32 am (UTC)
Was taught the rules in childhood. Never actually played it.
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 02:26 pm (UTC)
Not Jewish, but a friend who is once gave our kids dreidels and taught them the game. The Elder Daughter and the twins then used them to play for Oreos, and the Elder Daughter won (and ate) all the Oreos, and at that point the Elder Son came downstairs and pointed out, with great indignation, that they had in fact been his Oreos, and that was what life was like around our house during school holidays.
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
... so I was taught to play dreidel in Methodist Sunday school. I don't remember it though.

We have a copy of No Limit Texas Dreidel though. I think, unless we got it for someone as a gift, but I think we still have it....
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 07:05 pm (UTC)
...no. I mean, I've played a fair amount of dreidel, and while entirely mechanical, it's a not un-fun timewaster, but that's basically it. However, it never occurred to me to design a new game around the mechanic.

No Limit Dreidel seems to be too much from their description. Too many dreidels, operating in a very unlike dreidel-like way (really? Hiding dreidel spins behind a screen? Like that's going to work at all?). And overall, too much equipment, and not enough like Dreidel.

But you know what? Challenge accepted. A dreidel game, played with only dreidels, rolled in the open as was intended, gelt, and for the sake of having something to work with, paper (I'll see if I can do without the paper; want to be Shabbos-friendly, after all).

How about this:

Dreidel-to-go (name is a work in progress).

This is a push your luck game played with dreidels.

Setup: For each round, either ante up 5 gelt per player (if playing as a gambling game) or seed the pot with 5 gelt per player. The game is played in turns, with the youngest player going first (or choose a start player randomly).

On your turn:
1. Spin the dreidel exactly three times. If you spin a Gimmel, double your winnings (or gain a single gelt in your winnings if you have none) (not including gelt that have been put aside). If you spin Hey, add a gelt to your winnings. If you spin Nun, nothing happens. Finally, if you spin Shin, put one of your winnings aside (if there are no winnings to put aside, take a gelt and immediately put it aside); if you have three gelt put aside, then your turn immediately ends and your winnings are forfeited (as are gelt that have been put aside) and returned to the pot. If you roll gimmel or hey and the pot is empty, you can put into your winnings gelt from your "put aside" pile.

2. You can choose: either take another turn (go back to 1, but do -not- take your winnings), or take your winnings (but -not- any gelt that have been put aside with Shin; those are returned to the pot).

Play until the pot runs out; players can then play another game/round. (a game may be defined as a certain number of rounds, in which case players who do not play subsequent rounds forfeit the game).
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
Just spinning the dreidel and seeing how long it goes is fun for me.
[User Picture]
Date:December 17th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)
"Someone may have figured out a better game based on dreidel" instantly fired up the idea of dreidel drinking in my head. Rather predictably, there are already several variations.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:December 21st, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
Our family once made a serious attempt to play it, but the all-or-nothing nature of the game made it not much fun, and we gave up after just a few rounds.

If you designated a certain number of rounds as the end point, I suppose it could have something in common with musical chairs.
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