Ah, games of chance...you gotta love em'. I remember as a kid spending an entire summer's Sunday mornings in a church basement with my Mom playing Bingo. She, (well, we) were determined to win one of the gorgeous, handmade quilts that were the big prize of these weekly games. We never won a single quilt, but when Sunday rolled around the thrill of the possibility that we could win one of those humble works of art was almost as intoxicating as the prize itself. So when the designer, Lydia Esparza, (she of the visionary restaurant, Great Lake) asked us to recreate one of her favorite, childhood Mexican games, Loteria, for Great Lake -but with a modernist twist - we were more than happy to oblige.
Loteria is a lot like Bingo, only instead of just numbers on the tablas (boards), there are iconic pictures as well. Each tabla has a randomly created 4x4 grid of pictures that correspond to images in the caller's deck of 54 cards. Each card is named and numbered, though the numbers are rarely used; the image rules in this game of chance and their identity is often teased out to the players with a riddle or a humorous description by the caller. Talk about exciting your imagination! I am sure if that Sunday lottery game from my childhood had used fantastic images and entertaining riddles to play it, I would have lost my little friggin' mind. A blissfully heady combination of risk and art and a most worthy game to recreate. Loteria del viva!