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A jug of wine, a loaf of bread ... and Cribbage

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: MICHAEL SPROLES - Urban Decanter bartender Matt Marin says Cribbage is easy to learn and fun to watch.All you need is a deck of cards, an old-fashioned pegboard and a little help from some experts at Urban Decanter if you want to learn how to play a 400-year-old game that’s still fun: Cribbage.

The game was the invention of poet and gambler Sir Jon Suckling and has survived the centuries. According to the Bicycle Playing Cards website, Cribbage became a regular part of the day for American submariners during World War II as they passed time on patrol for Japanese ships.

Here in Forest Grove, Urban Decanter gives newcomers a chance to learn — and veterans a chance to play — at Cribbage Night, which happens every first and third Tuesday between 5 and 7 p.m.

“It’s really cool because I feel like we’ve seen this resurgence in board games,” said Matt Marin, a bartender at Urban Decanter. “Anytime Becky has downtime, she’s playing cribbage,” he said, referring to Urban Decanter owner Becky Kramer.

Traditionally, the game is for two players, but is commonly played with three, four or more and involves playing and grouping cards in combinations which gain points. The objective of the game is to be the first player to peg their way around the board, typically 61 or 121 spaces. Points are scored for card combinations that add up to 15, and for pairs, triples, quadruples, runs and flushes.

“It’s something that you can pick up relatively quickly,” said Marin, who’s dabbled in the game, but mainly likes observing. “It’s a great game, because you can be anywhere — at home, at a bar — and it’s a good way to sit down with someone and connect with them and get to know them a little.”Head to Urban Decanter to learn to play Cribbage.

Cribbage Nights started last October, when Kramer decided it would be a great way to relate with customers coming into her wine bar. The idea generated interest but getting people to show up was the real challenge.

Usually around 10 people make their way into the wine shop to play, breaking up into three different groups.

“We didn’t really make it a huge thing,” Marin said. “Maybe in the future we could work on creating buzz and incentives to get people off of Netflix and come socialize.

“All you need is a deck of cards and a cribbage board, and you’re set.”

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