Jokers is a racetrack game, popular with the recreational-vehicle crowd. But, hey, why let the retirees have all the fun? Children catch on more quickly than adults. Many who play Jokers compare it to Sorry! or Aggravation.
The game board consists of a track of 18 play spaces, home for five game pieces, and the castle, where the race ends. Game tracks accommodate either pegs or marbles. Poker cards are used, including jokers. Using one deck per player decreases the need for reshuffle during play.
Play initiates to the left of the dealer after each player receives five cards. Face cards and aces allow entrance to the game track. Ace moves forward one, clockwise. Two through six move a player forward. Seven can be split between two active pieces on the track, both moving forward. Note, a player cannot pass or land on his or her own game piece. Eight always moves back. Nine must split between two active game pieces, one moving forward and one back. Ten moves forward. After all game pieces are active on the track, face cards have values 11, 12 and 13, moving the player forward.
During play, landing on opponents sends them home, placing the player strategically near his or her own castle. Maybe.
Jokers rule the game. A joker allows players to take a game piece from home or any space on the track and replace their opponent's piece on the track, sending the opponent home. This strategic move should only be used to position players near the entrance to their own castles. It is advised to have a card ready to play, ensuring entry to the castle and safety.
Team play is an exciting variation of the game. Even numbers of players, or teams of three if nine tracks are available, face off. Every other player is a partner. Game play is exactly the same except for the joker. Using the joker replaces the partner on the track and positions the partner at the entrance to his or her castle. Additionally, when a partner has all five game pieces safely in the castle, the playcard is used to benefit the partner to the left. This method of play continues until all are safely in their castles.
Although not available in retail stores, finding Jokers boards is easy enough. First, try Marvin Wilke at 402-640-3863. He makes high-quality boards but does not supply cards or marbles. You can also find information and supplies online at JokersAndPegs.com.