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Published March 19, 2021 Updated March 18, 2023

French for Fun

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

1930 United Kingdom Jaques Education Card Games Quartet Add to Collection
French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1925

French for Fun, a sort of visual phrase book, was first published as an instructive and amusing pack of cards by John Jaques & Son Ltd in the 1930s. Each phrase is spread over four cards which complete a set. The illustrations undoubtedly make the process of practising French vocabulary more fun whilst playing a game. Players learn words in French whilst exchanging cards and trying to assemble a complete phrase. There are several editions of this game, some have a different number of cards and/or different illustrations, back design or card size. See the Box

First Edition

French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930 French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930

Above: French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., Kirby St, London EC1, first edition c.1930. 60 cards in slip-box + rules.

French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., c.1930

Above: a slightly different version of the first edition of these cards, but with the same back design and address: John Jaques & Son Ltd., Kirby St, London EC1. The differences are most noticeable on the following cards - UN GILET, UN HABIT, UN PANTALON, UN PARAPLUIE. On the first three, there is only the faintest hint of any colouring but all three garments have a very distinctive herringbone pattern. In the case of the umbrella card, mine is black, not red. See the rules. Images courtesy Roddy Somerville.

Second Edition

In this edition the number of cards and phrases is the same, but the cards are wider and the illustrations have been re-drawn against a grey background. There is also a new back design. The rules leaflet also gives a different address to the first edition. See the Rules

French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., second edition c.1942

Above: cards from French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., White Heather Works, Whitehorse Road, Thornton Heath. Second (wartime) edition c.1942. 60 cards in slip-box + rules.

Third Edition

In this edition the card size has reverted to the normal narrow card size. See the Box

French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., third edition c.1946

Above: cards from French for Fun published by John Jaques & Son Ltd., Thornton Heath, Surrey. Third edition c.1946. 44 cards in box + rules. This was a time (after the war) when Jaques were replacing their range of games with a cheaper product in whist size packs, usually with 44 cards. After a short while it was realised that some of them were not selling. They dropped French for Fun and the Counties of England range and just published Snap and Happy Families. Eventually Jaques gave up publishing cards themselves and passed over Snap and Happy Families to Pepys to publish those games for them.

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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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