So Frankly...

So Frankly...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Helping Hands

Sadly out of print (image by Patrick Carroll)
This weekend I was talking to one of my cousins about playing games with his three-year old.  They are playing the classics: Candyland and the like.  It brought back memories of Clue: Little Detective played before bed time with Daniel, my now 13 year-old.  I remember the beginning being about teaching him a basic game mechanism: draw a card, play a card.

Of course, that's fine with Clue: Little Detective, since you aren't holding a full hand of cards. Managing a hand of cards becomes one of the first game playing skills a child learns.  Small hands have a tough time though, particularly with standard sized cards.

Enter the card holder.  They come in two main variations.

Promotional image from Gamewright Games.
Most card holders commonly found in teacher's store and the like are a variation on a theme: two disks fastened together so that cards slide between them.  Sometimes they are just a half circle, sometimes they have evolved into having a handle attached such as the ones from Gamewright Games above.  These work great.  The best part is that the cards are displayed in the natural fan of an adult holding cards, so the rest of the card handing habits are formed.

Sunnywood rack promotional image
The second type is more like a tile rack.   This type isn't held in the hand, but rather set on the table.  This isn't so great for little ones, since it doesn't allow for teaching things like holding your hand where it can't be seen, and laying it down face-down when its time to go potty. Where it has it's advantages is at the other end of the age spectrum, where holding anything in the fingers for very long might cause arthritis pain.  Cards are self standing and fully on display to the player.

As it is, we have a set of the first type (literally two disks fastened together), and I am about to purchase two of the second type.  No, I don't have arthritis, but there are games where having the cards up where I can see them while my two hands are doing other things would be very convenient.  This is particularly true in games where the cards have a lot of text on them.  The first game that comes to mind is War of the Ring, but historical card driven war games like For the People (the American Civil War) or political games like 1960: The Making of the President would be helped too.  On a more casual game level, I can see using them for themed variants of Risk, like the copy of Risk: Star Wars - Clone War Edition we have.

We need more Star Wars movies so we can have more great games like these! (Photo by Rich Chamberlain)
Getting some type of card holder is almost essential if you have little ones running around your house, either as parents or grandparents.  The opportunity for family bonding is something to start early, and those before-bed game sessions, short though they be, have the same effect as reading to a child.  The biggest difference is that you can involve more of the family.

It's Your Move!

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