In continuing the occasional themed articles I write about pinochle, it is worthwhile to note that we were able to fit sixteen people in the pace between the kitchen and dining room, largely thanks to an open floor plan and having a couple of small tables to go along with the dinner table and island. One of the conversations that came up is that not everyone has the space to host games as easily. There can be all sorts of barriers to having that kind of room–a couple of the people I was talking to discussed that they would only be able to have a couple of tables spread far apart in the only rooms that could have them. Similarly, if you tables that are too large and cannot be shortened it can be hard to have enough of them to seat people commensurate with the space you have. Similarly, open floor plans often work easier than closed ones when it comes to that sort of event because one can use the space in a variety of ways.
As someone who has spent a fair amount of my life looking at buildings and building plans, it is well worth remembering that not all space is created equal. When one is looking at residential design, there are often tricky ways of dealing with questions of space. Most people start with a look at square footage, and for some people their examination of space never moves beyond that layer of analysis, judging more square footage as better and less as worse. There are, though, plenty of questions to ask about how that square footage is allotted. There are plenty of times where a single level is going to be more pleasant for the same amount of square footage than three levels or more where one has to climb up a lot of stairwells, which is not always fun for some of us. Amounts of space that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as flexible in use can be more enjoyable than space that is blocked up into many small rooms that do not offer that sort of flexibility. And that is not even to consider other aspects such as the flexibility of one’s tables or the ease of use of carpets and tile and other surfaces.
When one thinks about the playing of games, logistics matter a fair amount. In growing up I played a fair amount of card games with family members, but was not used to playing card parties. In planning card parties, one’s mindset has to be similar to that in assembly buildings, and that is figuring out the ideal setup for tables with maximum enjoyment for 4n number of people. In pinochle, as is the case for a set of card games, there are four players in a match with partner play. It is similar in many ways to games like Spades and contract bridge, in that there are trump suits and importance in bidding play as well as card play. It is also important to note, though, that before the games can be played one has to have the appropriate space where four people can sit comfortably at a table without taking up too much space that one has available for other tables.