Then Dreidel I Shall Play!

Last night we were invited over to Missy and Marty’s house to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah. We had latkes and chicken, Marty lit the menorah, and afterwards we played Dreidel!

I never knew any Jewish folk growing up, so this was my first time playing this traditional game. For those like me with no previous experience, here’s how it works. Everyone starts with a certain amount of “gelt” (coins, beans, or in our case, Hershey’s Kisses.) You all put one in the middle and then take turns spinning the dreidel, which is like a little top. There are four Hebrew letters on the dreidel, and whichever one it lands on tell you what to do:

SHIN – put one gelt into the pot.

HEY – take half of the pot.

GIMEL – take all of the pot.

NUN – nothing happens.

(You’re also supposed to each put one in after each spin, but we didn’t have that many Kisses, so we just did this when the pot got low.)

Although my spinning technique was complimented, I was not very good at Dreidel. I usually spun Shin and eventually required “pity gelt” from Becky and Missy to keep playing. Now, you might claim the game is totally random and has no skill whatsoever, but who spun Gimel twice? Marty did, the person there who’s been Jewish the longest! Obviously it rewards repeated play. Josh eventually spin the final Gimel and ended the game.

We had a lot of fun playing Dreidel, and I’d certainly play again. I see it’s only rated a 4.3 on Boardgame Geek but I just gave it a 9. Hey, it’s fun, it has replayability, people of all ages love it, how can you criticize? Also, I’ve played their beloved Puerto Rico about a half-dozen times and NOT ONCE got any candy out of it. ADVANTAGE: DREIDEL.

Why not a 10 instead of a 9? Come on, Dreidel is great but it’s still no Power Grid.

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