Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Game of Ombre

Ombre (from the Spanish, meaning "man") was a game invented at the close of the 16th century which, by the late seventeenth, had spread across Europe and easily become the most popular card game.

What follows is a description of how the game was played in the seventeenth century, using English terminology (which is derived in some cases from the Spanish and in some from French adaptations thereof), along with notes on the ways the game may be simplified without serious impact on its mechanics. The name "Ombre," in seventeenth-century English, should be pronounced "umber."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cards and Card Games in Europe

Playing cards appear to have originated in China and migrated west via the Near East, but much of their noteworthy history is in Europe. (Cards in China have mostly developed into gaming tiles, the history of which will be the subject of another post sometime.) Beginning in the late 14th century, printed cards have been mass-produced cheaply and used in a large number of games, especially of the trick-taking type. (The form of a standard European deck of cards closely follows this particular function.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

We come a cob-coaling for Bonfire time

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!