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Boy's Bulletin

Special Goshen Issue

"All things are ready, if our minds be so" - Shakespeare
The first week of Goshen was a week later than last year, so as to give the staff more time to prepare. This meant that we came on the Fourth of July week, from 29 June to 7 July.

The busses were sans movies this year. As we rode to Goshen, card games were very popular, esp. Egyptian Ratscrew. The rules will be included in this bulletin for those who haven't played. When we played, we noticed that large amounts of dust were stirred up when we slapped the seat (usually one player crouched on the ground so we could use his seat for a table), and the dust got all over us and the cards.

When we arrived, we were directed to site 6. We found, to our dismay, steel spring cots awaiting us. Those who were unlucky to have counted on the new canvas cots we had last year were doomed to be a little uncomfortable. We went about setting up the campsite. For the week of Goshen, the adult leaders had to assign special patrol leaders and a senior patrol leader. The SPL was James Acevedo, the PL of the Hawks was Robin Zimmermann (the Scribe), and the PL for the Lost Timberwolves (only two patrols at Goshen) was Matt Morris. The leaders did a good job.

Half the Scouts present were new to the troop from Pack 460. They did a good job, however, and I believe everyone came home with at least two merit badges. It was funny, but the Totin' Chips were earned on a one-a-day basis, despite all efforts to the contrary. The shilleighly was the main holdup.

We managed to get the troop to march in lines by patrol most of the time, but never in step. We had two cheers, 'Thermopylae' and 'Pep'. There were attempts to introduce others (one suggestion was the song 'It's a Jolly Holiday with Mary', from Mary Poppins), but they failed. We performed a flag ceremony for the whole of Camp Bowman on Wednesday, with eight people from the troop (Please send me names if you know them); we were drilled so well by James that it was almost professional in quality.

Evening past-times in camp included Egyptian Ratscrew, B.S. (a card game identical to 'I Doubt It'), and, on Thursday night, attempted bunkings. We did not sleep as well as we might have that week. We were sometimes late finishing meals, but towards the end of the week we were doing well in that respect. Free swim and boating were popular in the afternoon, as was going down to free shoot. More than once the fire or food men were absent when they shouldn't have been.

The greatest disappointment was getting neither the Honor Oar nor Troop of the Week. Every day, the leaders score was just a few point better than ours. On one day, we got a 46. Somebody got a 50. That was our luck all week, and, despite an average score of 39 2/3 over the week, we didn't get Honor Troop of the Week either. However, we did so well that we knew we could be proud of ourselves.

Because of the Fourth of July, we got fireworks. They were originally scheduled for the 2nd, but we had a rain check and enjoyed them on the 3rd. They were good. They were fired from Campfire Hill in Bowman, and all of Goshen watched from Camp Post. Our own troop had a couple bonfires of its own.

The bus ride back was like the one there, save that the main activity was the inactivity of sleep. Also, the bus got a flat on the way. We got back at twelve noon.


Egyptian Ratscrew

The origins of this slapping game are unknown, but it is clearly based on Beggar-my-Neighbor. There is a game called Snap that may also have inspired it. Slap-jack, though it is the first game you think of, is probably didn't figure largely in the game's invention. Egyptian Ratscrew may exist under a different name somewhere in a card game book.

The game is best played with two people, though three could theoretically play. The deck is split between the two players, and cards are flipped of the top of each player's deck like in 'War'. The goal is also like 'War', namely, to empty the others pack.

The non-slapping part of the game is identical to Beggar-my-Neighbor. Each player alternates turning cards into a pile between the players until a face card, Ace, or Joker turns up. Then it goes into the second mode of play.

When a face card comes up, the opponent has a certain number of cards to get another face card before he must give of the pile. A Joker lets him get 5 chances, and Ace 4, King 3, Queen 2, and Jack 1. If he gets a face card, then play returns to the other player, who must get a face card just like the first. Here are a couple example plays between good friends X and Y.

X turns an Ace, which means Y has four cards to turn. Y flips a 2, a 9, and then a Jack. This is good for Y, because now X has only one chance. X flips, and it is a 6. Y wins the play.

Y leads off the next play with a 4. X puts a 7, and Y drops a Joker. Now X has 5 tries. X flips a 2, a 6, a 3, a 9, and a 8. Bad luck, and Y gets it. Y goes again with a 5, then comes a 8, a 10, and a Ace from X. Y turns, and gets a Jack. But X gets lucky, and flips a King. Out comes a 7, a 3, and another Jack from Y, and just in time too. But X's luck has turned, and a Ace hits the table. 10, 6, 2, and 7 come from Y's deck, and X picks up 21 cards and two Jacks in one play.

Now to throw slapping into the mix. When certain combinations of cards come up, the first hand to slap the pile wins it. The standard is doubles, which is any two cards of the same rank (e.g. two 3s, two Aces) coming one right after the other. Once you have mastered this, the game becomes much more interesting with the addition of other things to slap.

Now penalties. If you flip a card out of turn, or two in a row, put the extra card at the bottom of your pack, no harm done. If you slap when there isn't a combination, hand the pile to your opponent. If you both slap at nothing, then the hand on the bottom gives up the pile.

If one player runs out of cards in the middle of a play, the other player finishes it. The last chance of the one who ran out is to slap back in while the other finishes, so both players must watch for the slap. If the play is finished and only one player has cards, that one wins.

Some suggested things to slap: (an x represents any old card)

Note that I have played all of these except slapping primes alone. It makes for some wild games, and many mis-slaps.