Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let The Debate Begin

Seeing as how today is the 107th birthday of the Submarine Force, I figured it was time once and for all to settle a debate that's been raging for years: Which is the "official unofficial" game of submariners -- Cribbage or Uckers?

I've always been a cribbage man myself, but it could be because that's what the officers play. While Uckers is more often associated with the Brits, I remember seeing at least as much Uckers being played in Crew's Mess on my boats as cribbage. Cribbage seems to have a larger part in submarine mythology, mostly because of the intensity with which it was played on USS Wahoo.

So what do you think -- what is the game that you most closely associate with submarining? Is it cribbage or Uckers? Or is it something else, like poker?

And Happy Birthday to all U.S. Submariners!

Bell-ringer 0750 11 Apr: Jim C. casts his vote for cribbage. Also, it looks like I forgot about Spades, which is getting some support in the comments.

Update 0055 12 Apr: ninme celebrates the Sub Force's birthday in her own inimitable way.


Anonymous Adam Graham said...

Cribbage? We'll have to play sometime (online or off would be fun.) I learned it from my Green Beret Dad who learned it from his 4-F Dad.

4/10/2007 11:34 PM

Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Uckers? Please. The *real* game was always cribbage.

After every lunch and dinner on deployment, the CO and XO always snagged two others (the JOs always prayed it was them - best excuse to get out of real work) for at least one game.

However, for the game played by the most people underway - that was probably spades. There was always at least one game going on in Crew's Mess.

4/11/2007 4:42 AM

Anonymous CDR6290ret said...

Has to be cribbage! Even have it loaded on my palm so I can play while traveling. Happy Birthday to all those past and present who are still riding the "boats".

4/11/2007 5:14 AM

Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

Cribbage for the wardroom. Spades for the messdecks. Uckers, to me, was a failed experiment foisted upon the wardroom by the CO. After people started skipping meals, he relented.

4/11/2007 5:29 AM

Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

midwatchcowboy said...
Cribbage for the wardroom. Spades for the messdecks.

I'd have to agree with that. Under Bawden, cribbage was practically the first thing new ensigns had to learn, even before things like DC. A lot of blueshirts on Prov played cribbage (got my second 29 playing an ST on Prov), but it still wasn't as popular as spades. And I don't think I ever even heard of uckers until after I retired.

4/11/2007 5:52 AM

Anonymous Bryan said...

Cribbage may have been played more often, but I had the most fun playing Uckers as a qualifying rider on 735B back in the early 90's. The wardroom turned it into a game where every move was scrutinized and antagonized, and with a universally unloved CO and XO, it became quite the outlet for blowing off steam - anything went against anyone!

4/11/2007 7:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

will rogers gold officers played cribbage, us enlisted scum played spades


4/11/2007 7:37 AM

Blogger Jim C said...

Cribbage or if you are a Hornblower fan Wist.

4/11/2007 7:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought the officers played battleship when us enlisted weren't around.


4/11/2007 8:12 AM

Blogger al.from.wv said...


TERA after 18/3
two boats, too long on both, for a total of 10 years (both 688s out of Norva)
prototype scrape up before the boats
retired from SUBTRAFAC after the boats.

Never heard of "uckers"

For the enlisted guys I knew...

Crib - 20% (there's an ICCS that still won't play me after just one 29)
Spades - 70%
Poker - 10%

Fat the whuck is "uckers?"

4/11/2007 9:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the Drum, we used to play a derivative of backgammon (acey-ducey) along with the obligatory poker games in the crews mess (we would settle up after we pulled back into port) I paid a lot.


4/11/2007 10:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely cribbage in the wardroom. Spades did seem to be pretty popular in the crew's mess.

Probably played the most during my Eng tour on the old 639. Skipper and I used to play after every meal. Never got a 29, though I did manage a 28 once...

I saw uckers played once in my career, when SubPac (IIRC) was riding us...

CDR (ret)

4/11/2007 10:29 AM

Blogger Cookie..... said...

Cribbage fer sure. Never saw anything else played on the Piper...

4/11/2007 1:48 PM

Blogger MT1(SS) said...

Definitely Spades for us slimy blue-shirts on the boat. When we at NOTU are riding for an operation, we typically play Euchre vice Spades, since it's a faster game (and you don't have all the score-keeping requirements Spades has).

4/11/2007 2:34 PM

Anonymous Sparks said...

Only games I ever saw played in the After Battery were Acey-Deucey, Cribbage, and, mostly, Poker.

4/11/2007 3:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the late 70's on the 637 boat we had about a 1/2 dozen or so that would play Pinochle, but spades was the hands down favorite of all.


4/11/2007 3:33 PM

Blogger Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

The 4+ years I spend aboard the Richard B. Russell, Acey Deucey was the favorite in the goat locker, Uckers was for the "wierd room, and Poker was for anyone who thought spades or hearts was too boring. :-)

4/11/2007 4:59 PM

Anonymous subcomunic8r said...

Spades and Hearts for the crew, cribbage for the wardroom and chiefs. I played cribbage every once in a blue moon. Gave up poker on my first boat when I lost my Queen high flush to a King high flush.

4/11/2007 5:47 PM

Blogger FTG2/SS said...

We Enlisted folks are pretty good at cribbage also. As a matter of fact I beaqt a slew of O-Gangers to become the USS Annapolis cribbage champion. My vote is for cribbage.

4/11/2007 6:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on experience during some recent underways, I would say XBOX/Play Station/PSP have replaced card games in the Chiefs Quarters and Crews Mess/Lounge. I have even seen video games in the Ward Room. There is an occasional poker game on weekends.

Caution Note: These underways have been on

4/11/2007 6:58 PM

Blogger WillyShake said...

I started playing Euchre in the 7th Grade, so it is a game that I love and always will.

That said, it was my experience that Cribbage was/is the official unofficial game of submariners, and I have fond memories of playing with the XO at sea and with my roommate (also a submariner) when in port. Also a great game.

I'm just thrilled that card playing--poker, etc--has reinstituted among the younger generation. Many of my students and younger colleagues are avid poker players.

Now, could somebody please teach me to play Bridge!!!??? There's gotta be a website where you can watch/learn/play!

4/11/2007 9:11 PM

Anonymous Lazlong said...

For the dirty coners of the boat, it was usually spades, unless they got permission to hook up the x-box and play Madden.
For myself, it was either making up rumors to see how fast they could come back to me in the form of a NUB, or rack time, because underway was rest time for M-div.

4/11/2007 9:27 PM

Anonymous blunoz said...

In the six boats I've been on in the last 14 years (three as a member of the wardroom, three as a rider), I have never seen or heard of "Uckers" before. We've always played cribbage.
My first XO taught me to play cribbage when I was a JO. Now, as an XO, one of my JOs was ready to earn his dolphins last month, but he had to prove he knew how to play cribbage before the CO would pin on his fish.
In the crew's mess, I haven't seen a consistent favorite. Sometimes it's spades, sometimes it's poker, nowadays it's XBox or PlayStation more often than not.

4/12/2007 6:32 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

What about poker? There was always a continuous poker game going on, and even my dad talking about poker games when he was on the 599 in the 60's. In fact, that's how he won the Seiko watch he wore until he died. It was a very nice watch. And he was damn proud of that watch, too.

Next to that, I would say cribbage. My dad played cribbage, even after he left the Navy, all the days of his life, and could not be beaten.

4/12/2007 7:51 AM

Anonymous BKT(SS) said...

We played Twister. Just kidding. Spades in the crews mess. Acey-Deucey in the goat locker and Cribbage in the wardroom. 80's fast attack boats out of Pearl.

4/12/2007 9:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cribbage. No doubt. Euchre and Spades a distant second.
MM2(SS) ELT USS Chicago.

4/12/2007 11:32 AM

Anonymous Over-the-hill spook said...

"A mixed tit is no tit"; that about says it all...

Uckers it is!!!

4/12/2007 11:53 AM

Anonymous unkawill said...

uxWhile I wasn't a sub sailor, Acey-Deucy was popular and poker ruled.

jacks or better to open, trips or better to win, progressive.

I have dealt several 10 grand in the pot hands and won one.

4/12/2007 8:30 PM

Anonymous bullnav said...

I rode the mighty Honolulu back in early '89 for a first-class (ROTC mid'n) cruise, and the XO taught myself and another rider to play Cribbage. So he would have someone to play.
First boat was new construction, so no games. Well card games anyway. Plenty of "games" went on...
Second boat: CO brought Uckers for our 6-month Northern run. Lots of fun...

4/13/2007 3:49 PM

Anonymous reddog said...

Acey-Duecey, hands down. The board was printed onto the tables in the Crews Mess.

What's an Uckers?

4/14/2007 11:16 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who keep asking: uckers (pronounced "you'-currs") is like spades with a variable suit of what is "spades" (called trump) the in suit jack is high and the same colored jack is the next highest card.

Cribbage on the other hand is not just a submarine game, but overall a navy game: Ilearned it from my AX1 parents.

5/02/2007 2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cribbage is what we played (officer and emlisted). Plus, (this just in) it is what passes on the USS Memphis link:

Singapore Sid

5/03/2007 11:35 AM

Anonymous Boomer Homo said...

RM1(SS) (ret):

And here under Bawden I thought the first thing JO's would have to learn is how to sleep with Enlisted guys' wives....

6/29/2007 12:50 AM

Anonymous KY commo said...

I see this thread hasn't been active for a while, but I'll add my two cents by saying that on the Kentucky Blue (in the early 90s when it was still in Kings Bay), the game of choice in the wardroom was cribbage and in the JO's study it was video games. Don't remember much about what they played in the crew's mess (as a matter of respect I didn't usually go in there uninvited). Never heard of uckers.

6/16/2008 10:27 PM

Anonymous Mabel said...

It can't work as a matter of fact, that is what I consider.

9/08/2012 12:55 PM

Anonymous Final Fantasy XIV Gil said...

After every lunchtime and supper on implementation, the CO and XO always snagged two others (the JOs always interceded it was them - best reason to get out of actual work) for at least one activity.

9/24/2013 12:14 AM


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