Party Rock! Everybody Shufflin’!
Since getting back into tabletop gaming last year I’ve been plagued by that one failing every wannabe magician hates: I can’t shuffle cards. I’ve no idea why, but as much as I want to ruffle shuffle, cut decks and throw cards around a table like a professional poker player I can’t.
This is an issue with most games in my collection. The majority of them have some kind of card based mechanic, often doubling up with dice rolls to really screw your game over. Forbidden Island hinges on a well shuffled deck, Arkham Horror tries to bury you in cards, Wrath Of Ashardalon is all about killing you with them. Then you get to the games where there are clear sets in there – Ticket To Ride and Montego Bay being two of them.
Failure to shuffle a deck of cards right results in a number of Bad Things Happening. First, the game becomes predictable as you can have a damned good guess at what’s coming next. Second, if you’re the one setting it up you spend all the time around the table being called an idiot who can’t shuffle. Finally, the random element that makes these games interesting starts to disappear and that lovely smelling new box you have loses its allure.
After a particularly disastrous first game of Ticket To Ride: Europe, a game totally reliant on the card collecting mechanic that’s pivotal to its success, I decided to do something about this. I invested in an Automatic Card Shuffler, setting me back £13 including postage. It works an absolute treat, as the video below shows, and my son loves it. One word of warning, it’s bloody noisy.