Dobble and the Viva

Dobble is a simple-but-tricky card game. In our house it’s firm favourite for quick fun. A deck of circular cards covered with colourful symbols, the trick is that every card matches every other card in terms of one symbol: it’s kind of like snap, but where every card matches only one detail on every other. You have to be the first to spot the symbol to “snap”.

I love Dobble, despite the moments when my six-year-old daughter beats me.

(every game)

I mention it because it strikes me that Dobble cards are a lot like vivas: they’re structured, you know the general shape of them, there’s a pattern and a method to how they’re organised, and the details can be very similar.

But they’re always different, with no exceptions.

By studying a handful of Dobble cards you can’t divine some special thing to tell you about the card you’re about to draw, but it can give you something to think about. You can learn to expect things. This goes for vivas too: asking about your friends’ experiences or looking at the regulations won’t give you exact details for yours, but they can helpfully influence your expectations.

The repeated symbols you hear about in viva stories can give you a sense of what to expect when it’s time to play your own game.