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12:48pm on Saturday, 27th November, 2010:

One in Twenty-Three


Earlier this week, I bought a 23-pack lot of cards on eBay, knowing that they were all incomplete. As it turned out, one was actually complete, but the rest were incomplete. I bought them because they were cheap, and because I wanted to give them to my CE217 students to make games with in the class that week.

In the end, I didn't give them to the students because I had to go in early that day so was out when they arrived. This morning, after beating World of Warcraft at Plants versus Zombies, I sorted the cards out into their packs. Some are missing just one or two cards, and one consists of only one card with no others having the same back. I have no idea how come anyone would have 23 packs of cards all but one of which are missing cards, but they did. Bizarrely, some have duplicates.

One almost-complete set of cards is a Piquet deck that looks like it comes from the late 19th century (wide, rounded corners, small indices, although no duty or manufacturer on the ace of spades, which is odd). Others are pre-war, and several have quite interesting designs on the back. I'll maybe show you those in another post, because I know how interested QBlog readers are in old playing cards...

Three of the packs aren't of playing cards but of other card-based games, and these are what I'll mention now. One is of a game called Lexicon, a copy of which I remember we had when I was a kid, although we never played it. My dad may still have it somewhere. The cards (the deck I bought is missing a Y) aren't interesting in the least:

The second game not to use standard playing cards is Happy Families (missing half a dozen cards), which includes this alarming sight:

Yes, well there's a child born to be a hairdresser; or, alternatively, a serial killer.

Finally, I have five cards from a game that's a spin-off from the Muffin the Mule TV series that ran in the 1940s and 1950s. Boardgamegeek dates it as 1949, which explains the presence of this image (warning: those of a racially sensitive nature may wish to look away now):

Muffin the Mule was broadcast in the days of black and white television; I don't suppose these characters made it to the remake series they did in 2005...

Referenced by Gas Fires Give Bedroom Comfort.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).