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Jaques’ Games

Jaques' Games established 1795

John Jaques & Son (established in 1795) has been a family business for the last six generations. The company has published a large range of popular parlour games, board games and beautifully illustrated card games, many of which have become classics. Jaques is possibly best-remembered for being the company that invented Happy Families, the game containing a series of “Grotesque Characters”.

  • Show list of Jaques’ games

    extra card with list of new games, c.1880

    Most of Jaques’ parlour games were of considerable educational and instructional value, involving skills such as numeracy, general knowledge or spelling and promoting conviviality. From amongst the dozens of games published over the years, the following are typical examples:

    Anno Mundi, Backgammon, Birds of a Feather, Bowls, Brides of all Nations, Candid Confessions, Characters from Charles Dickens, Chess, Comic Races, Croquet, Deck Quoits, Devil Among the Tailors, Dominoes, Draughts, Dr Busby, Enfield Skittles, Entente Cordiale, Epsom Races, Faces, Fireside Fun, Floral Loto, Floral Snap, French for Fun, Frogs and Toads, Geographical Loto, Gossima, Great Guns, Halma, Happy Families, Her Majesty's Privy Purse, Hide & Seek with the Kings & Queens of England, Historical Loto, Hook-it, Hunting the Hare, Illustrated Proverbs, Irish Scenery, Kick Off, Lawn Tennis, Lotto, Ludo, Manifesto, May Day, Minoru, Old Soldier, On Guard, On Spec, Parole, Patchesi, Picture Pumblechook, Ping Pong, Poker Roulette, Pontoons, Pumplechook, Quits, Quinks, Reversi, Robin Hood, Russian Draughts, Safety First, Salute!, Shearing the Sheep, Shove Ha'penny, Skits, Snakes and Ladders, Snap, Sol, Solitaire, St Andrews, Stock Exchange, Table Billiards, Table Croquet, Table Tennis, The Book of Books, The Bride, The Counties of England, The Golden Goose, The Great Galumphus, The Kingdoms of Europe, The London Post, The Moorish Fort, The National Gallery, The Realm, The Reason Why, The Spider and The Fly, The Streets of London, The Sovereigns of England, The Wedding, The White Cat, The Whitworth Gun, The XVI Century, The XVIIth Century, The XVIIIth Century, The XIXth Century, Tiddley-Winks, Tints, Tip, Tap and Take It, Trente-Six, Ujiji, Weights and Measures, Who Knows, Who’s Sir Roger?, Worlds Parliament, Zoological Snap, etc.

    list of new games, c.1875

Snap, 1866

Snap published by John Jaques & Son, London

Above: 1870s edition of Snap published by John Jaques & Son, London.   See more →

Happy Families, 1851

1880s edition of Happy Families published by John Jaques & Son, London

Above: 1880s edition of Happy Families published by John Jaques which included 11 families of four members each.   See more →

The Streets of London, c.1880

The Streets of London, c.1880

Above: cards from The Streets of London, c.1880. The complete street cry is printed along the top of each card in the set.   See more →

Quits, c.1880

Jaques' Quits game, c.1885

Above: cards from Jaques' Quits, c.1885.   See more →

Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885

Jaques' Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885

Above: cards from Jaques' Illustrated Proverbs, c.1885. The complete proverb is printed along the top of each card in the set.   See more →

London Post

Jaques' London Post, c.1895

Above: cards from Jaques' London Post game, depicting important buildings from London in the Victorian era, c.1895.   See more →

Counties of England

Jaques' Counties of England card game, c.1880

The most popular of Jaques’ geographical card games, Counties of England, was published in four series which saw several editions over the years. The cards in each set contained key facts about the town, its history, local industry and inhabitants, etc. The first series comprised the Northern Counties, the second series Midland Counties, the third series Eastern Counties and the fourth series Southern Counties

Jaques' Counties of England card game box, c.1930 Jaques' Counties of England card game box, c.1910

Right: two different boxes and four cards from the 1st series of Jaques' Counties of England card game, depicting Northern counties served by the London and North Eastern Railway. The left-hand box has the original retail price of 1/6d marked in pencil. The sides of the orange box describe the game as "Of Highly Instructive and Educational Value". An advertising leaflet reads: "...containing exquisite illustrations in colours of the chief towns in each county, their products, notable buildings, etc. 1s. 6d."  See more →

On Spec, c.1900

“On Spec, c.1900

“On Spec”, a round game based on selling stocks and shares, c.1900  see more

Light Refreshment, c.1905

“Light Refreshment”, c.1905 “Light Refreshment”, c.1905

“Light Refreshment”, c.1905. 42 cards made up of 24 slices of bread, 5 knives, 12 fillings and 1 bones card. Based on pass a card to the next player rules the object is to make sandwich tricks out of your hand, the higher the value the better, but you can't make a sandwich without a knife in your hand. The bones card is the old maid of the deck as you cannot make a sandwich with a bone. Images courtesy Nick Thomas.

Candid Confessions, c.1905

“Candid Confessions” published by Jaques & Son, Ltd, c.1905

“Candid Confessions” published by Jaques & Son, Ltd, c.1905  see more


Salute! The Four Services promotion game by John Jaques & Son Ltd, London, c.1930s

Salute! The Four Services promotion game by John Jaques & Son Ltd, London, c.1930s  see more

Learn more about Jaques of London - the oldest games company in the world
See also:  Golden Egg Game   Jaques advertising pack

Note: For further reading see: The English Playing Card Society Newsletters, Vols 12/13, Nos 48-51, May 1995-Feb 96. If any viewers have old Jaques Card Games and would like to contribute images for The World of Playing Cards, these will be gratefully added to the site with full acknowledgements.

Last Updated December 12, 2017 at 08:50pm


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