Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Me quedé bailando la pollona

When one thinks of Cubans and games, doble 9 Dominoes dominate the mind. As it rightly should! However, the next popular game for Cubans, is Cubilite, a game of dice that really isn't so familiar among non-Cubans.

Some of my non-cuban friends called it Cuban Yatzee, because of it's similarities. Yet in the end, it is really a game of it's own.

To play you need a set of 5 poker dice.

the 9 side is called Negros
the 10 side is called Gallegos
the J side is called Jevas (or niñas)
the Q side is called Cundangos (or cundangas)
the K side is called Kings (or machos)
the A side is called Ases (or tomates), and these are always wild.

The order of value is cronological N, G, J, Q, K, A with Ase being the highest. The goal of the game is to get 10 points by rolling the highest five of a kind. 5 ases (Carabina de Ases) equal 10 points and it doesn't matter whose turn is next, because you win the game. 5 Kings without Ases (Carabina de Ks Naturales) is worth 5 points, you automatically win the round, and you start next one. 5 Kings with Ases (Carabina de Ks no naturales is worth 2 points, you automatically win the round, and you start the next one. All other five of a kinds are worth one point, and whoever roles the highest one wins the round.

Each round consists of three turns per person, where the individual can role and set aside the dice they want to keep. Once you make your decision, you can't go back (like if you set a side two Q's, and you then role three K's... you have to stick with what you got and role again... and hope for the best.)

There are a lot more nuances to the rules, but I'll save that for a later time. If I've lost anyone with my explaination, then you might want to check The 3 guy's from Miami. They explain it all when it comes to Cuban and Cuban-American culture.

Taking advantage of my day off yesterday, I went of on a picnic with some friends and of course we played some Cubilete. One friend continually got Carabina's de K's no naturales, which made the rest of us wonder si ella estaba haciendo trampa. Bueno, by the end of the game she made a killing, leaving the rest with measely points, and myself with a big fat Pollona (Cuban slang for zero points.) The fates were not on my side Monday.


Robert said...

I love cubilete, played it a lot as kid on family vacations. I played it again last year for the first time in ages.

I saw a cubilete set on sale at a booth at Cuba Nostalgia.

The 3 guys from Miami's site is cool. I used to visit their site quite often, it was the first good Cuban/Cuban-American web site I discovered.

Val Prieto said...


Parece mentira asere.

Y domino, que? Tampoco sabes tirar piedras?

Songuacassal said...

¡COOOOOOÑOOOOOO, del domino si sé compadre, eso si juego yo para que sepas! As for my pollona. I wasn't in the groove man, es que I think my friend estaba haciendo trampa.