Smooth seas make the voyage more pleasant.
A ship in port is safe, and that's just what ports are for.
I think varying the rules is a slippery path. I'm now to the point of resisting any rule variations in games as it makes anyone I teach anything to an anarchist when they play anyone else. It reduces the portability of games. Play a game ten times by altered rules, go away from it for 2 years and try and play someone else and you're subversive.
Variants and house rules are the reason we have these games the way they are today. It simply makes zero sense to declare that no longer allowed after one completely arbitrary point in time. It's good to have official sources for reference, but it's more important for people to just accept that there are many ways to play any game, and in fact there should be. It's people arguing about one single "correct" way to play that kills games.
There are two sides to it. Standardization of rules means the same game is played in more places, by more people, and it's much easier for its popularity to spread. Then again, innovation is also fine; it's gonna happen, and there's nothing to prevent it.
If a game is going to be big enough to have a national or international "cribbage congress," it's got to be standardized so that everybody will know the official tournament rules.
Variants foster provincialism--each community playing by its own rules.
So, it depends on what you're after. Chess hasn't suffered because of standardized FIDE rules. The rules to the game of go probably haven't changed in centuries, and it's not dying out.
Other than a few disagreements about how the game should be played, it sounds like there are many people on here who really enjoy playing the game of cribbage.
That be said, I love it way beyond what you could imagine.
For anybody living in the United States or Canada there is an organization called the American Cribbage Congress.
It is a great organization with 7000 members strong across the two nations.
Cribbage is played on 3 levels within the organization.
We play a grass roots level with over 400? clubs nationwide.
We also play internet cribbage with a point based system.
We also play tournament circuit events all around the country almost every weekend of the year.
Information for all 3 of these can be found at the above webpage.
It is probably best to go to the "local clubs" tab when you go to the website and do a state or province search for your area.
If you love the game even half of what I do, I promise you you will be hooked.
I live in Vermont, but I recently began playing at two monthly partnership cribbage tournaments Richmond, Quebec. These are always held on non-conflicting Saturdays, except in the summer months, at the local Legion and a place called The Grand Central (a.k.a. "Gunter's"--even though Gunter hasn't owned the place in years ).
While playing at both places, my girlfriend & I were reminded that the local rules were "No going-out on a Cut Jack [Heels]," and "No points for a Cut Jack in the last five [116-120]." These are not the same rules we've encountered in Vermont, or in some other places in Quebec. However, they are not uncommon, because they merit mention on the site Cribbage Corner:
The stinkhole is the 120th hole on the cribbage board, one short of winning the game. It's so called because you really don't want to find yourself there!
A commonly-used optional rule has it that if you're in the stinkhole, you can't peg out on a Jack (two for his heels) or a go. Sometimes this also applies if you need 5 or fewer points to win. While this is not part of the standard Cribbage rules, you are free to use this rule so long as all players agree on it beforehand.
The official ACC [American Cribbage Congress] cribbage tournament rules specifically say that this score still counts even if the dealer would peg out and win the game as a result:
Rule 6.3. Scoring When The Starter Card Is a Jack (His Heels)
a. When a Jack is turned up, the dealer is entitled to two points.
b. The dealer may peg out into the game hole by turning a Jack starter card.