Cribbage or Crib is a card game that involves forming combinations of cards over a series of hands to accumulate points. Points are mainly scored by runs, regardless of suit; by pairs, triples and quadruples; and by cards that add up to 15.
Cribbage was invented by a British poet, Sir John Suckling (1609 - 1642) according to biographer, John Aubrey, around the year 1635. Cribbage is actually no more than an extension of the well-established Tudor game of Noddy or Noddie. Noddy means 'fool' or 'dimwit' and, in 'The Compleat Gamester' published by Charles Cotton in 1674, the upturned Jack in 'Cribbidge' is referred to as 'Knave Noddy'. Cribbage is exactly like Noddy in all respects including use of the special scoreboard except that Noddy does not use a Crib. Cribbage has survived, with no major changes, as one of the most popular games in the English-speaking world.
In the 17th century, Cribbage or Cribbidge, as they spelled it, referred to what we would now call "5 card cribbage" so 5 cards were dealt to each player and 2 of those discarded into the crib. It is generally played by two people, although it can be played by three or four, or by a pair of two-person teams. 6 card cribbage is the modern game, and is the version played exclusively in organized tournaments.
The game has several unusual features: one is the crib (or box), from which the game takes its name. This is a separate, four-card hand made up of discards from each player, which counts for the dealer. Another is that each hand has two distinct scoring stages, the play and the show.
Cribbage is known for its scoring board - a series of holes on which score is tallied with pegs. Scores can be kept on a piece of paper, but a cribbage board is almost always used, since scoring occurs throughout the game, not just at the conclusion of hands as in most other card games.
Six-card cribbage is the most common game. Here each player is dealt six cards, leaving them with four once two are placed in the crib. Play is to 121.
Five-card cribbage is the oldest version. Each player is dealt five cards, so the crib consists of four cards but each hand only three. Whoever is non-dealer first is given a three-point start and play is to 61.
These days Cribbage is one of the most popular card games around and is still played all over Britain in pubs.