Games: In a Pickle

I went garage saling yesterday. I have fun just looking, but with my 9-year-old son with me, I knew I’d need to find at least one fun thing for him. He was quite disappointed with the first few sales, as they just had boring stuff like clothes and housewares and knickknacks. But in the end we came home with a wooden heart-shaped box with a trick lid, a Scene-It Jr. DVD, a very large teddy bear, and the card game In a Pickle. (Also two baseball hats for my husband.)

I’ve probably seen it in stores, and didn’t buy it because it’s for ages 10 and up. (The woman selling it explained that it had been a gift to her son, but as he’s only five years old, they decided not to hold onto it until he was old enough to enjoy it.) But with his tenth birthday coming in just over two months, and the game being sold for a fraction of what I would pay in the store, I decided to buy it without having much of any idea what the game was about.

Well, it’s all about what fits in something else. Each card has a noun on it, and in order to play a card, the noun on it has to fit inside the noun on the other card, or the other card has to fit in it. And they not only have to fit, there has to be some reasonable explanation for one being in the other (it can be creative, but it has to make some kind of sense). Plus, to win a set of cards, there has to be a sequence of at least four cards, so you don’t want to put something small in something really big, because you might not be able to find anything bigger to fit it in.

The fun part is trying to come up with creative ways to use cards when what you’ve been dealt doesn’t seem to fit with anything that’s been played so far. Can I put a bank in a tunnel? Can I think of some reason there would be a haystack in a hospital? How about in the jungle? I really wouldn’t want to put a book in a bathtub, would I? Oh, but it could be one of those plastic baby books. And then there could be a balloon in the book.

English being as flexible as it is, some words can be very big or very small. For instance, we had a diamond in a pocket (most likely on a ring, but I suppose someone could put a loose diamond in a pocket). On the other hand, I could have (if I had the right cards) put the pocket in a pair of pants (worn by someone) in a baseball diamond. Or maybe the baseball diamond was in someone’s pocket, because it was on a baseball card. (Players have to decide before they play whether to allow “on” as well as “in” relationships.)

I suspect this is a game I’ll enjoy even more than my son will. But I hope to get him to play it with me from time to time.


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