GAMES DOODLERS PLAY

5-Card Nancy; 1,000 Blank White Cards;
Eat Poop You Cat!

Do you want to win, or do you want to have fun?

Cartoonists have special games of their own, and one of the most entertaining is 5-Card Nancy, invented by comics theorist Scott McCloud. Its deck consists of a big pile of individual panels from the comic strip “Nancy”—preferably dating from the late ’40s and ’50s, when it hit a peak of deadpan inanity. Each player gets a hand of five panels, and one additional panel is placed on the table to begin the story. When it’s your turn, you can either 1) add one of your cards to continue the narrative (as in some kind of nightmarish fiction workshop, the other players vote on whether or not the card works; if not, you have to take it back), or 2) discard one of your cards and pick another one. As the game progresses, the story inevitably takes on head-spinning psychosexual overtones. The first player to run out of cards wins. This means, of course, that your competitors decide whether to let you play your final card; winning, as such, is not really the point of 5-Card Nancy.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Douglas Wolk

Douglas Wolk lives in Portland, Oregon, runs the record label Dark Beloved Cloud, and sings karaoke every Monday night. His book Reading Comics will be published by Da Capo next year.

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