My sister Alice generally gives the most lavish gifts in the family. Her 2010 Christmas bounty included Korean movies on DVD for my mom, which spurred a brief but intense movie-watching spree. The gift-giving theme this most recent holiday season, however, was games.
Alice gave my mom two games which she thought would be easy for a non-English speaker to learn: Connect 4 and Trouble. My mom seemed unenthused. We made a big show out of playing a round of Trouble in front of her, but she still wasn’t very interested. She put the boardgames away that Christmas and hasn’t opened the boxes since.
When I visited my mother last weekend, though, she was excited to play this old Korean game with me.
Yooch involves a board (this version was very cheaply made; I assume there are better ones out there), 4 wooden sticks with some kind of writing on them, and black and white game pieces. My mom chose the white pieces and I was the black. The sticks function as sort of dice: you take turns tossing them and then moving one of your game pieces along the board according to what combination of sticks end up blank or writing side up:
1 blank stick: move 1 spot ahead
2 blank sticks: move 2 spots ahead
3 blank sticks: move 3 spots ahead
4 blank sticks: move 5 spots ahead
0 blank sticks: I think you move ahead zero spots, but this didn’t actually happen while we played so I’m not 100% sure.
You basically move all your pieces, one by one, from behind “Start” and try to be the first to get all of them to the finish line – or, on this board, “HOMEIN.” The skill lies in which of your black or white game pieces you choose to move towards the finish line or introduce onto the board. If you land on the other player’s piece, you knock it off the board and your opponent later has to reintroduce it from the starting line.
If you must know, my mom won.
Does this game sound like Trouble to you? Because it’s basically the same concept – just replace the pop-o-matic bubble with sticks, and forget that annoying requirement to roll a 6 to pass the starting line. I pointed this out to my mom, but she still didn’t seem interested in giving her holiday boardgames a shot.
What she was excited about, though, was the prospect of a Yooch tournament. See, this Yooch set was apparently a gift from one of her co-workers. This co-worker is planning a night where a bunch of people play this at my mom’s apartment. Seeing as how Yooch is so different in nature from the drinking-and-judgment-based games my friends and I play during game nights – and because I’m not used to the idea of my mom hanging out with friends – it struck me as odd at first. I asked my mom why they were planning this and she said, “[Because it’s fun.]” Oh, right.
***You know what’s also fun? Today’s my sister’s birthday!***
***HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALICE.***