For a game that’s remained mostly unchanged for over 400 years, Damien Blond has done an exemplary job of igniting it online in a way never seen before. And it shows no signs of slowing down.
“Unfortunately I’m seeing cribbage fading off in the younger population these days,” Damien told me, “so one of my goals is to make sure that doesn’t happen.” One needs only go to the website to see just what that entails, and how that goal is being reached. The site is growing at breakneck speed. It’s on Facebook. It’s on Twitter. “We are breaking records left and right,” he said, “just last night we had a tournament of 96 players with a total of 205 online. Those are both new records. By 2012 we’ll have 50,000 users.”
eCribbage offers all the customization and interactivity modern internet users are used to; from avatars to rankings, friends and trophies and organized competition to over half a dozen styles of play and more, eCribbage is the virtual embodiment of what cribbage players everywhere enjoy; the sociability of the game coupled with the fickle and whimsy of every hand dealt, every 15 laid. One can enjoy individual standard games, 4-player, cribbage with jokers, low-ball, ACC-style 9-game tournaments, and more. And the virtual deck pulls no punches; when asked if he’s ever been dealt 29, Damien’s response was immediate and enthusiastic; “No 29s or 28! Not even on my own gaming site!” I’ve been dealt 28 once, but never 29. Not yet.
In previous posts I spoke briefly about how I learned that game. Damien learned from his grandmother. “I first learned to play in the maritimes. I think it was on the way to Prince Edward Island…we had a few hours to kill so Grandma taught me cribbage.” He played cribbage in high school “like crazy” and it followed him to college and beyond, just like me and many other cribbage players out there.
We had a lot to talk about, and have been emailing for quite some time. There’s far more to say about Damien and his website than a simple blog post could ever entail (or what I want to reveal fully here!), but check back shortly; next week we’re scheduled to play some 15-2 over lunch in Reno during the world’s largest cribbage tournament.
Pushed by the wishes of his late father and the passion to pursue what he wanted, eCribbage was formed. “Once you get an idea like that in your head, you can’t get rid of it…you think about it everyday. My goal is to succeed [with eCribbage] for him. I am still just as passionate about it as day one when he told me to go for it. I know he is really proud of me.”
Right on. I look forward to meeting Damien in person and discussing our mutual projects. My medium of choice is generally the written word; his is the Internet. And since you’re on the internet and reading this post, you probably like cribbage, so check out his site! You won’t be disappointed. You may even find Damien himself, the author of this hair-brained blog, or–wait for it!–Damien’s mom. Best of luck, and we’ll see you in Reno!