A Brief History of Card Games

I grew up playing games. Playing chess, checkers, cribbage are some of my earliest memories, with our parent’s game night inlcuding 6 to 20 people hanging out, drinking beer and playing pinochle, cribbage, and trying to beat one of “the kids” in a game of chess.

Games have brought people together throughout the ages. The earliest record of card games can be found in 9th century China. It was then called the “Leaf Game” and played by royalty. By the 11th century, card games are found throughout Asia. Characters from popular novels were the faces and the cards each had four suits, very similar to today. The cards were printed onto domino tiles when they were widely used and looked very similar to Mahjong.

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Playing cards were introduced to Europe in the 14th century, with the first documentation being a ban on them in 1377. Believed to be brought through Egypt, they resembled both styles of cards found in India. They were round, intricately hand painted, and had four suits.

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In the middle ages, a new era of commerce and industry was changing society. Towns and markets were the center of activity and new ideas, and playing cards became a luxury for the wealthy with time on their hands.

“By the sixteenth century, popular sayings had entered into everyday language, as well as literature, poetry and popular ballads relating to card playing, including metaphors based on cards and card games (“devil’s picture book”), the moral character of gamblers (“cheats, swindlers, card-sharps”) and the divinatory, amorous, social, religious or political meaning of cards. At the same time they were a bond which united people together.” – History of Cards

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Cards remained part of society and culture ever since, and there has always been a stigma associated with being a card player. Outlaws, rebels, and bad boys were the real card players, and that stereotype still hangs around today, regardless of all the bridge clubs we have.

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Project Update:

This is a slow time for our project, Goblin Pit Fight. We haven’t lost hope for this game, despite it’s slow movement on Kickstarter and are working with other game manufacturers for alternative ways to produce our game. We are also working out the logistics for other games we have in the works, and will fill you in when we have a more concrete plan.

If you would like more comprehensive information about the history of card games, please check out THIS site, where we found one of our pictures and much of our information. See you next week, tonight is Poker Night!

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12 thoughts on “A Brief History of Card Games

    • We do too! That’s what makes it so fun. When my parents come over we have played pinochle with partners – me and dad vs Corey and mom – I haven’t caught them cheating yet but I am sure they do!

  1. Pingback: Games | The Rio Norte Line

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