Cribbage boards have been used for hundreds of years, and the traditional design of the board probably predates the game itself. Similar boards have been used to score whist and other card games since before the origins of cribbage in the 1630s. A game scoring board with rows of holes which looks very like a modern cribbage board has even been found in the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. Nowadays, antique cribbage boards can be valuable collector’s items.
If you want to find out more about cribbage, we’ll show you the rules, teach you the strategy you need to win, and even tell you how to organise your own tournaments. There are hundreds of questions being asked and answered on the Cribbage Corner Forum if there’s anything that you want to ask about, or just settle an argument!
The cribbage board is normally made of wood, and drilled with a series of holes to represent each player’s score. It is traditionally rectangular, with two tracks of holes going around the outside of the board. There are many other designs, including 3 and 4 track cribbage boards, spiral type boards, boards with unusual or decorative designs, and the most popular modern board design is the ’29’ (which refers to the perfect cribbage hand of 29 points.)
A cribbage board is not essential to enjoy playing cribbage, but it does add to the fun of the game. While you can keep score using pencil and paper, it is much better to use a cribbage scoring board so that you can see at a glance who is ahead and how far there is to go to victory. The cribbage board is also a crucial aid in positional strategy.
Cribbage boards unique designs make them excellent gifts and collectibles, and you can find out more here about what kinds of board are available, where to buy them, and even how to build a cribbage board yourself using free cribbage board templates! You can use it for scoring other card games too.
Cribbage boards for sale
Nowadays it is very easy to buy cribbage boards and crib pegs online, and we have some links to recommended suppliers. If you know of a good on-line source for cribbage boards, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us.
Hand made cribbage boards
If you really want an impressive gift for a cribbage fiend, how about a hand-made cribbage board? There is a great range of designs available. Here are some of our favourite suppliers:
The Cribbage Guy
My friend David Oakes, aka The Cribbage Guy, makes beautiful handcrafted cribbage boards such as this circular “golden eagle” board. David is a master craftsman and makes a number of unique designs including a “tortoise and hare” non-linear board, and boards engraved with sentiments such as “Congratulations” and “Happy Birthday”. These are amazing boards made from attractive woods such as maple, walnut and mahogany, and something to be treasured for a lifetime. The perfect Cribbage gift! Visit the Cribbage Guy site to see his work.
Enumero Cribbage Boards
Jeff Kent’s handmade ‘Rhea’ board
Jeff Kent of EnumeroCribbageBoards.com makes beautifully-crafted hardwood cribbage boards in a variety of original designs, inspired by themes such as the Tour de France, California ghost towns, and the moons of Saturn!
Maine Metal Art
‘Parallel Force’ board by Robert Peaslee
Maine Metal Art craftsman Robert Peaslee produces these stunning precision machined metal cribbage boards from stainless steel and aircraft aluminium, engineered to look beautiful and last a lifetime. Cribbage boards probably do not come any more unique and original!
Alaska Native Arts
Alaska Native Arts sell hand-carved ivory and scrimshaw cribbage boards.
Amazon has a selection of cribbage boards and cribbage sets. If you are new to cribbage and just want to get started with a simple cribbage board, we recommend the Fat Cat Cribbage Board.
Buy the Fat Cat Cribbage Board from Amazon.com
Cribbage boards UK
England is the birthplace of cribbage, and many traditional games shops sell cribbage boards and sets of cribbage pegs. Compendia Traditional Games is based in Greenwich, London, and sells five different cribbage boards including an attractive 29 cribbage board. You can visit the shop in person or buy cribbage boards online through Compendia’s web site.
Unique and personalized cribbage boards
The long-standing popularity of cribbage means that there are many interesting and unique cribbage boards around. These are usually hand-made and reflect the interests or preoccupations of the maker. For example, a Boston Red Sox cribbage board!
Personalized cribbage boards make great gifts for cribbage players. Here are some links to sites offering personalized cribbage boards.
Fine Cribbage Boards
‘Mountain Lion’ board from Fine Cribbage Boards
Fine Cribbage Boards of Tacoma, WA supply attractive wooden cribbage boards featuring a variety of art prints, including works by wildlife artist Dave Bartholet. You can also order a personalized board with your own photo.
Extra large cribbage boards and cribbage tables
Cribbage Connection makes folding cribbage tables, ideal for outside play, with extra large holes and pegs which make it easier especially for older players to see and keep score of the game.
Cribbage pegs for sale
Fancy Pegs sell beautiful cribbage pegs made from brass, crystal, gold, hardwood, and even woolly mammoth tusk! These would be wonderful gifts for the cribbage fiend in your life.
How many holes on a cribbage board?
The traditional cribbage board layout has 60 holes for each player, and the winner must go round the board twice and peg out to win with 121. Some larger boards have 120 holes each; one common design has the two 120-hole tracks going down one side, back up the other side and finally down the centre to the finish line.
The original game of cribbage was played to 61 points, and the 121-point game for two players dates back only to the early 1900s. Traditional cribbage boards all feature 60 holes. The earliest known 120-hole cribbage board was patented in 1940 by S.C. Eddy.
Types of cribbage boards
Cribbage boards vary greatly in price depending on the materials used. Some manufacturers sell 4 track cribbage boards which make it easier to play three player cribbage and four player cribbage. Of course you can use a four track cribbage board for playing the regular game as well.
Traditional materials are popular; ivory, bone and horn cribbage boards are available although these tend to be much more expensive than the normal wooden board. A scrimshaw cribbage board is made by carving whalebone or walrus tusks, and can be a very attractive cribbage accessory, but make sure that the raw materials come from legal sources.
You can even make your own cribbage boards using a free cribbage board templates. This is a fun project for anyone interested in woodworking and crafts.
Vintage cribbage boards
Antique scrimshaw cribbage board from 1911
Vintage cribbage boards can be extremely valuable antiques. An antique cribbage board could be worth thousands of dollars, though some very attractive 19th-century cribbage boards can be bought for $100-200 in local antique stores. Try also
Century cribbage board
The “Century 715 continuous track cribbage board” was made in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, sometime in the 1960s or 70s. It was an elaborate three-track board, and with many extra holes for recording skunks, legs, and so on.
Collecting cribbage boards
Some people are much more interested in collecting cribbage boards than playing the game of cribbage itself! Bette Bemis, founder of the Cribbage Board Collectors Society, has written a series of fascinating articles at the American Cribbage Congress web site on collecting cribbage boards:
History of cribbage boards
If you are interested in the history of cribbage boards, you might enjoy this book:
Cribbage board museums
The Horatio Colony museum in Keene, New Hampshire, has a wonderful collection of over 70 vintage cribbage boards, including Japanese and Chinese carved ivory cribbage boards, bone boards made by 19th-century prisoners of war, an English cribbage board that folds out to become a writing desk, and a board carved from a whole walrus tusk!
Online cribbage boards