I strayed from board gameplay this cycle and instead opted for a Korean card game, which is most often called Go-Stop, in the west. The game originated in Japan where it was introduced in hopes of reducing gambling. And yet, Koreans routinely gamble when playing and although wagers can be large they are normally quite small where the winnings for a game is less than 2,000 Won ($1.70 US). In Korea it is known by two names, with three players it’s called Godori (고도리), and with two players Matgo (맞고). The unique names are assigned to differentiate two and three player play. The game is played with forty-eight small playing cards called Hwatu (화투),which are based on Japanese Flower cards. They are approximately one-third the size of standard playing cards and have solid colored backs. The fronts, or might I say the business sides, are adorned with flowers, birds, people, and other animals.
Try as I might, I was not able to grasp this game with my feeble game playing brain and it wasn’t from lack of effort on my part or a lack of patience on the part of my wife and mother-in-law. My mother-in-law is visiting from Korea and was a very enthusiastic teacher, although she was likely a bit disappointed in my failure as a Godori player.
Due to the fact that I was unable to grasp the game I include the following brief description from Wikipedia:
The object of this game is to score a minimum predetermined number of points, usually three or seven, and then call a “Go” or a “Stop”, where the name of the game derives. When a “Go” is called, the game continues, and the amount of points or money is first increased, and then doubled, tripled, quadrupled and so on. A player calling “Go” risks another playing scoring the minimum and winning all the points themselves. If a “Stop” is called, the game ends and the caller collects their winnings (“Go-Stop,” n.d.).
After some time trying to learn Godori I withdrew to the sidelines and became a spectator while my wife and mother-in-law settled in for an hour or so of Matgo. It had been over twenty years since the two of them played Matgo and they had a lively time of it. At one point I was called in from the sidelines and asked to mediate a disputed play, although I’m wise enough to know that was a lose-lose situation, so I and played the ignorance card, which was not only appropriate, but turned out to be my only skilled move of the evening.
Go-Stop. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go-Stop
Korean Hwatu. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2016, from http://www.wopc.co.uk/korea/royal-hwatu