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How to Play Cribbage Without a Board

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Cribbage is a card game that is scored on a specific board. The board has pegs to score and track points.

It’s not a do or a die situation if you don’t have a board, a board is not required all the time time to enjoy a game of Cribbage. The integral part of the game is to score and record point, and there are other ways to do so.

How do you play Cribbage without a board? Players can play Cribbage without the board, provided they have a way of keeping and recording scores. The most common methods used are pen and pencil, online boards, improvised boards, counting methods (for instance, coins, beans, or small objects), and smartphone apps.

The most integral element in Cribbage is the deck of cards and not the board itself. For this reason, it seems to be more of a card game than a board game.

If a person finds themselves in this situation, the five ways listed above can help score and keep the game moving. Answered below are frequently asked questions about scoring Cribbage without a board and the best way to keep track of points.

Can you play Cribbage without a board?

Yes, as long as players have a way to keep and record the score, a board is unnecessary. With a deck of playing cards, one can get creative and find ways to tally points without a Cribbage board. 

The following are innovative methods a person can tally Cribbage points without aboard:

  • Download a Cribbage app on a smartphone.
  • Use online virtual Cribbage boards.
  • Use a pen and paper.
  • Makeshift a board using locally available materials.
  • Counting method with coin or beans.

How do you keep Cribbage score without a board?

The objective of any player in Cribbage is to reach 121 points before the opponent does. Use a Cribbage app, virtual board, pen and paper, make a board or use a counting method to track scores of both players.

The scores are typically recorded on a Cribbage board, but that doesn’t mean one needs a board to experience the game. So get creative, and keep score using any number of counting methods.

How to play Cribbage without a board

If players do not have a Cribbage board, they can keep score on paper. The commonly used method is a pencil and piece of paper.

There is no rocket science about it! Use a piece of paper to track the scores as the gameplay moves on. 

Players can use two methods to update their scores: tally marks or real numbers. Whichever method, totals must be updated by the player who makes the computation every time they peg or count their hand. 

The piece of paper used should be subdivided into columns depending on the number of players playing the game with their initials at the top of each column. 

In turn, the person counting the scores can start by tallying their score from pegging. Once the player counts their hand, the score is added to the initial tally, a horizontal line is drawn, and the total score for that player is indicated for that round.

Contrary to what many people think, a Cribbage board is not an integral element for one to play the card game. Good news, with just a piece of paper and a pen, one can score totals and keep the game moving.

Way to play Cribbage without aboard 

The following are five ways to enjoy a game of Cribbage without a fancy board.

  • Pencil and paper: The most common method, one requires a piece of paper and pen to make tally marks or use real numbers for computation. Fold the paper into columns indicating the initials of the players involved at the top of each. 

    The first tally for each player should be from pegging scores and the other one from their hand. The two phases are added, and a horizontal line is drawn below the two tallies to mark the total score.
  • Virtual Cribbage board: There are free online Cribbage boards to track games without errors. Sometimes, these boards come with mental math, which resembles a real board.

    The best feature about these boards is that one can undo scoring faults and save the game to play later. Unfortunately, these boards have two tracks that only work for a two player game.
  • Phone app Cribbage board: With a smart phone or tablet device, one can download a Cribbage board. One of the commonly used apps is Cribbage Pegboard, which can be easily downloaded in the app store.
  • Use coins or small rocks: Each player is dealt with 121 coins or small rocks in this method. In turn, they peg and count their hands. Once they do that, they have to pile the number of coins they earn from their turn. The first player to pile all the 121 coins in a pile win.
  • DIY Cribbage board: With a free Cribbage board template, and a toothpick, one is good to go and have their makeshift board to enjoy a competitive game.
How to play Cribbage without a board

Cribbage Without Board: Conclusion 

Contrary to what many people think, a Cribbage board is not an essential element in the card game Cribbage. The crucial aspect of this game is to keep the score, but nowhere in the official rules does it specifically point out what a cribbage board must look like.

That said, it means one doesn’t need a fancy board to count their 121 points. As long as players have a deck of regular playing cards, they can improvise their ways to tally points.

However, none of the methods without a board are as fun as the real Cribbage board when keeping the score during the gameplay. 

For new players who might be wondering whether to buy a Cribbage board or not, it is highly recommendable to have one. There exist cheap and portable boards available on the market, but playing Cribbage with a board is much more enjoyable.

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