“ Manufacturer: Jacques Of London „
Baize Lined Mahogany Frame
There are many different card games or poker games you can play with this set but I bought it to play shut the box and this is what I will focus on.
Shut the box was a game we used to play at University. It normally either involved playing for money or drinking forfeits. It is a very simple game. There are twelve wooden numbers. You roll the dice and then using the total on the two dice you decide what numbers you want to flip down. For example if you rolled 8 you could flip down 1 and 7 or 3 and 4. You keep rolling the dice until you are unable to flip down any more numbers. Your final score is the total of the numbers left up. So if you had 2, 4 and 7 left your score would be 13. The winner is the person who has the lowest score.
This is a very simple but addictive game. It involves a large slice of luck but as you play it you realise there are little tactics you can employ to improve your chances of winning. It is also a good little game for youngsters to help improve their adding up and thinking about basic combinations of numbers.
It is beautifully designed in a mahogany box with a baize lining. This gives a very luxurious feel to it. It costs about £35 which is quite a lot for a simple game like this but your are mainly paying for the quality of the design. It looks great and is a way of easily entertaining young and old and wasting some time. And possibly losing money down the pub!
When my daughters visit their Nan and Grandad they always seem to end up playing a very quick and easy game called Shut the Box. The girls love it and would happily play all day. I have to say that I had not heard of it before and it is definitely not one that I had played as a child so I have learned to play it with them. It was a game we always associated with the grandparents - that was until Christmas when we received a Jaques of London Shut the Box Compendium and now there's no stopping us!
Jaques of London have been established since 1795 and they have established a reputation for producing quality games. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the quality and workmanship in this set is second to none and that includes the packaging. There is an outer sleeve to cover the main green cardboard box which is strong and sturdy so there is a lot of good protection for the actual game. Inside that there is the game itself, which is contained within a dark wooden mahogany open box with a green baize floor. The set also contains five poker and two standard dice and a set of standard playing cards. Even the instructions come in their own green envelope and are printed on good quality paper. It's all very impressive before you even start playing any games.
Although there are the cards and an additional set of dice with instructions for ten different games, the main attraction of this set for us is the Shut the Box game itself. Apparently, I have discovered from looking at the Jaques of London website, that although the origin of the game is unknown, it can be traced back to the nineteenth century in France. I will briefly attempt to explain what it looks like and how it can be played (although I am sure there are lots of variations).
Down one side of the wooden box there are a number of wooden flaps. When these are open they reveal consecutively the numbers one to twelve. If you close any of the flaps the corresponding number is concealed. In order to close the flaps, the player needs to roll the two standard dice and then add up the total. If, for example, the two dice thrown show a six and a three and total nine, they can either close up the nine or any two numbers that make up nine, such as three and six or four and five. It does not have to be the numbers shown on the dice. The player keeps going continuously throwing the dice until they have no more flaps that they can possibly close. They then need to add up all the numbers that have not been closed and that is there score and the person with the lowest score becomes the winner. I hope that you can see from my brief explanation that it is a very quick and easy game but is also a lot of fun.
It is a game where any number of players can take part and it does not matter how old or young anyone is either. It is fun to play with a large group and can move on very quickly. I think it is a very good game for my daughters and it really helps them to become quick with their basic addition which is very helpful to them. My parents have told me that with some of their friends they have even played for small amounts of money but I don't think that I will be encouraging that gambling aspect with my daughters!
It has also been fun to try out some basic card games with our daughters but I have yet to really look at the other games that we can play with the dice.
I have to come back to the quality of this games set because it really is exquisite. It is a beautiful set and one that you really feel you want to keep and treasure for a long time. Luckily, my daughters are now at an age where they can be trusted to take better care of things, but I do think that I would have been reluctant to let them loose with it when they were younger - they are now six and five. As it is, it is a great game for them to get out and organise themselves to play just between the two of them. Everything is right in the box and they can just get straight on with it and really enjoy themselves - which they certainly do!
Quality does not come cheap though and the Shut the Box Compendium will set you back £29 if you buy it from the Jaques of London website (April 2010). There is however a more basic set which is only the Shut the Box game for £19 but I don't think this looks as attractive.
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