Goes Back, b'y    Card Game Rules - 120's

Nothing says Newfoundland fun like a good, old-fashioned game of 120ís.

Visit the 120s page for the complete listing.

A Bit of History and Background
Itís a game that spans generations, one that untold numbers of Newfoundlanders have learned at the kitchen table with only a well-worn deck of cards and the patient instruction of a parent or grandparent.

Itís something to do for a laugh ó throw in a few dollars, build up a little kitty.

The 120s version of choice there is partners, three sets of two. Thereís so many different ways of playing the game: thereís call-for-your-partner, partners ó you can even play on your own.

The game involves a dash of skill, a pinch of luck ó and a healthy dollop of social interaction. There is a bit of skill involved,- even if youíre lucky enough to get the cards, youíve still got to know how to play.

The card game many Newfoundlanders know as 120s has many different monikers: among them are Auction and Growl. There is also an abbreviated version of the game called 45s, usually just played by two or three people.

Itís also undeniably a part of the rich fabric of Newfoundland and Labrador life. Many a dining room table is scarred by wedding rings slammed down in the joy or frustration of playing a particularly passionate card.

The gameís roots are thought to trace back to Ireland and Scotland in the mid-16th century, when it was called Maw, then Spoil Five. It is believed to have made its way from there to Newfoundland and parts of Nova Scotia.

This card game evolved in rules and name as it travelled from Scotland and Ireland to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and ultimately to the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts. The general belief is that the game was called Spoil Five or 45's in Ireland and was played the way that 45's is played in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland today with no kitty, only a 5 card draw, and a total score of 45 points and the trump is determined by a cut of the deck. Somewhere along the way, someone invented the variation of 45's that you know as 120's and that we know as 45's that includes the 3 card kitty, the ability to discard and draw up to 4 cards and a total score of 120 points and the winning bidder determines the trump. This version of the game is the most exciting and fun to play especially if you have 4 people to play partners.



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