The World of Playing Cards Logo

Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Vic Joc de Cartes

Vic Joc de Cartes, happy families quartet game, 1990.

Vic Joc de Cartes, c.1990, a Souvenir Quartet game

Vic Joc de Cartes is a happy families quartet game, printed and published in Vic, (Osona, North East Spain), c.1990. This game cleverly combines two purposes, 1. to promote the cultural attractions of the city of Vic, and 2. to serve as an entertaining card game for a wide age group. The publishers have expressed their wishes, on the extra card which accompanies the pack, to provide visitors to the city with an engaging souvenir which also teaches about Vic's wealth of historical, artistic and traditional heritage whilst providing an entertaining and educational game of cards.

Vic Joc de Cartes, c.1990, a Souvenir Quartet game Vic Joc de Cartes, c.1990, a Souvenir Quartet game from North Spain

Above: Vic Joc de Cartes, happy families quartet game, printed and published in Vic, (Spain), c.1990. 42 + 1 extra card, square corners, in box. The game is organised into seven categories, or families: Architecture; Sculpture; Episcopal Museum; Cathedral; Town Council; Information Media and Traditions. Each card lists the remaining cards comprising the set, and the objective of the game is for each player, by luck or intuition, to ask other players for cards that hopefully will complete one or other of his or her sets. If the other player does not possess the requested card, the turn moves to the next player, and so on.

avatar

By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

View Articles

Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

Recommended

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

Andere Zeiten - Andere Kleider

‘History of fashion’ cultural quartet game designed by Erika Werner-Nestler, 1954.

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Netherlands Kostuum Kwartet

Dutch costumes quartet game designed by Gerard Huijg, 1983.

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet

Nederlands Stedenkwartet with heraldic needlepoint patterns by Permin, c.1970.

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett

Österreichisches Trachten-quartett Nr.282 published by Ferd Piatnik & Söhne.

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes

Geschichte des Buchgewerbes illustrated by Ludwig Winkler, published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck.

So Fängt Es An

So Fängt Es An

“So Fängt Es An” beautifully illustrated by M. Neugebauer, published by Helingsche Verlagsanstalt, c.1950.

Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt

Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt

“Verkehrsmittel Einst und Jetzt” transport quartet game by Bielefelder Spielkarten Fabrik GmbH, 1958.

Asterix Abenteuer

Asterix Abenteuer

Asterix Adventure quartet game by ASS, 1989.

French for Fun

French for Fun

French for Fun instructive card game published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930s

Counties of Britain

Counties of Britain

Counties of Britain by John Jaques & Son Ltd. c.1930.

Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien

Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien

‘Tout Est Bien Qui Finit Bien’ family card game by Dondorf.

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

Jeu de Quaternes ‘Rizá’

Polska

Polska

Polska with artwork by Katarzyna Tomala & Krzysztof Korzeniak, 2011.

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel

Zwanenberg’s Kwartetspel printed by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, 1938.

Havermout Kwartetspel

Havermout Kwartetspel

“H-O Kwartetspel” children’s card game promoting quick cooking oatmeal (instant porridge), 1930s.

Asperge Kwartet

Asperge Kwartet

Asperge Kwartet published by Knorr.

Geschichte des Motorrades

Geschichte des Motorrades

History of Motorcycles quartet published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pößneck, 1989.

Ethiopian

Ethiopian

Ethiopian playing cards designed for the Ethiopian Tourist Organization by Afewerk Teklé.

Sapra Studio Original

Sapra Studio Original

Sapra Studio Original playing cards featuring wild animals of S Africa, 1999.

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente

Musikinstrumente quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel, Pössneck, 1984.

Brazil Pictorial Aces

Brazil Pictorial Aces

Genoese pattern with Pictorial Aces for Brazil by Brepols, Turnhout, c.1920.

El Al Airlines

El Al Airlines

El Al Airlines deck designed by Jean David, Israel, c.1970.

Stationskwartetspel

Stationskwartetspel

Railway Stations quartet game illustrated by Wim Dolk and published by Servex BV, Utrecht, 1975.

Natuurkwartet

Natuurkwartet

Nature Quartet game published by Staatsbosbeheer, printed by Roem Speelkaarten, Kampen.

Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique

Dynastie Royale de Belgique by Mesmaekers, 1934.

Sprookjes Kwartet

Sprookjes Kwartet

Fairy Tales quartet published by Heinrich Schwarz + Co for Dutch market, c.1970.

Botany Quartetts

Botany Quartetts

Botany card game published by Houlston and Wright & Henry Greenwood, c.1860.

Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie

Neerlands Glorie Kwartetspel published by Hausemann & Hötte N.V, Amsterdam, 1945.

Verkeers Kwartet

Verkeers Kwartet

Verkeers Kwartet by Nederlandse Spellenfabriek BV, Amsterdam, 1965.

French Revolution

French Revolution

Bicentenaire de la Révolution Française 1789–1989 created by Christian Offroy.

Authors

Authors

Authors quartet game published by Whitman Publishing Co., 1951.

Deutsche Nutzpflanzen

Deutsche Nutzpflanzen

Deutsche Nutzpflanzen - Quartett game promoting Kali brand crop fertilizer, 1938.

Märchen-Quartett

Märchen-Quartett

Märchen-Quartett (Fairy Tales) illustrated by J. P. Werth and published by J. W. Spear & Söhne, c.1915.

Märchenquartett

Märchenquartett

Fairy Tales quartet designed by Annemarie Gramberg, published by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken AG, 1955.

Historische Verkehrswege

Historische Verkehrswege

“Historische Verkehrswege” quartet game published by Verlag für Lehrmittel Pössneck, 1988.

Boekenkwartet

Boekenkwartet

Boekenkwartet featuring illustrations from children's books, 1970s.

Souvenir from Zakynthos

Souvenir from Zakynthos

Souvenir from Zakynthos by Euro Card.

Souvenir of Norway

Souvenir of Norway

Souvenir of Norway deck.

Deutsche Geschichte

Deutsche Geschichte

German History Quartet published by Otto Maier Verlag Ravensburg, c.1930-35.

Views of New Zealand

Views of New Zealand

Views of New Zealand published by G.B.Scott Souvenirs, Auckland, c.1960.