Hop Ching 24 Aug 1938
Childhood No. 2 By X REPORTER Scooters and roller skates, I almost fear, will be my next great interest. Tou wouldn't suppose that an old "boy" who can remember the McKinley-Bryan election campaign would be piaying marbles, now would you? But yes. Not longer ago than half an hour before this piece was written your corespondent* was engaged in a vicious game of Hop Ching. The Chinese nomenclature, is, I suppose, a bit of psychological flub-dub designed to permit pompous and dignified adult humans to dodge admission of the fact that they have been playing marbles. If <t isn't playing marbles to take 10 marbles all of a given color and go into a competitive game against three or five other ten human beings, all similarly armed with 10 marbles of different colors, the Hop Ching isn't marbles. Now these human beings are adults, grown-ups, men and women who, the chances are, know all the intricacies of cribbage, pinochle, bridge and maybe man Jong and Russian bank. But have no fear that a good hot game of marble-jumping fills them with ennui or general lasti- tude. They eat it up. In Hop Ching you do not shoot the marbles after the good old time-honored method, knuckle down, and all that. You move them, when your turn comes. You move the marbles of your own particular color, red, green, blue, brown, blacx or white. And you may move or jump across a holed board filled with other stationary marbles. You may jump as far as you find spaces in which to land your own jumping marble. Sometimes, if lucky and discerning, you may start a marble far back behind your own goal line and run Him through a broken field to the far opposite side of the board. The winner of a Hop Ching game is the ruthless—and I mean ruthless—individual who can run his 10 marbles across the board first and place them in 10 squires laid out in a diamond shape placed there for his goal. I'll promise you that something of the same spirit that governs the Japanese and Russians in their argument over that hill over east of VTadivo- stock will pervade your being in about your fourth or fifth game of Hop Ching. The fever probably won't last long, but I've played about eight games and am still a fiend. Big game again tonight. Hot doggy!