Cards Anyone?

While it is difficult to calculate, some 1,000 – 10,000 card games have been developed through the years, according to the International Playing-Card Society. Not everything to do with cards is fun and games though. Fortune tellers use tarot cards in order to forecast someone’s future, magicians use cards to develop mind-boggling tricks, and history reveals some cards even being used as a form of currency.

How did cards evolve?

The precursor for playing a game of cards developed centuries ago in China, sometime around 1000 AD. They made their way through the Middle East and Egypt, reaching the European continent around 1360. Recorded in history was a Swiss ordinance banning cards in Bern in 1367. In Paris, a 1377 ordinance referenced the use of playing cards, showing that card games were catching on around the continent.

While ever-evolving, the idea of 52 cards in a deck seems to have come along from the Middle East, which was very active in the study of astronomy. The most prevailing concept is that the four suits represent the four seasons. Thirteen cards per suit, from the ace to the king, are thought to represent the nearly 13 lunar cycles of a year.

While the face cards continually changed from country to country, the idea of the king, queen, and jack undoubtedly developed in Europe. The joker came about later and is believed to be derived from the juker in the game Euchre, invented in 1860. The Euchre juker is the card that trumps all others, and the joker is similarly used in many card games today.

Game Cards Come to America

While card decks arrived with European settlers into the US, it was in 1885 that the first Bicycle brand cards were produced by Russell, Morgan & Co. Different types of games evolved including versions of poker which included gambling, family games, and, of course, solitaire.

The top three family card games, according to Bicycle cards, are Slapjack, Crazy Eights, and Play or Pay played with poker chips or candy, rather than real money. A ladies afternoon tea and game of cards often involves bridge or canasta. Some specialty games have warranted development of special decks for children such as Go Fish, and Old Maid, although regular decks of cards will also work.

Cards games have become an institution in everyday life for fun, relaxation, and skill. Few family households don’t have a deck of cards in a drawer, and few computer users don’t have at least one card game bookmarked on their favorites list.

Enjoy a Classic Game of Hopscotch

Hopscotch is a fun game that has been played on playgrounds around the world for decades. It has also been used for other purposes such as military training. Hopscotch has a rich history and still enjoyed by many school children and adult alike as a fun activity that is simple to play. It can virtually be played anywhere and very few supplies are needed to play it.

History of Hopscotch

Hopscotch traces its origins back to the early days of ancient Britain during the days of the Early Roman Empire. Hopscotch used to be played on 100-foot courts and was used mainly for military training purposes. Roman soldiers would run the entire hopscotch court in full body armor with their packs on to improve their footwork, agility, stamina, and endurance.

Over time, Roman children were drawing smaller versions of the hopscotch course with 10 spots to hop as they imitated the regular exercise completed by the adult soldiers as they prepared for battle.

Hopscotch Goes Worldwide

Hopscotch spread in popularity and has since become a worldwide activity. Hopscotch is called “Marelles” in France, “Templehupfen” in Germany, and “Hinkelbaan” in the Netherlands just to name a few options of how popular the game has become. More variations of the game have become popular as well as children look for new challenges and fun new ways to play a long-time favorite playground game.

Hopscotch Today

Today, hopscotch is a game that you can see getting played on school playgrounds throughout the US. Many playgrounds areas have hopscotch courts spray painted onto the pavement for kids to play on. In driveways in neighborhoods throughout the world, it’s an inexpensive game to play that passes time for children. Children simply draw the court out on the sidewalk or street with a piece of chalk and they have hours of fun playing this classic game.

Sometimes, even adults enjoy a lighthearted game of hopscotch for fun. Clubs exist throughout the country and there are even 5K and 1K races that have hopscotch built into them. One of the most popular events of the sort is the Hopscotch Music Festival which next scheduled to get held September 5th to 7th 2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Tossing markers (usually a smooth rock or stone) and having to pick them up while standing on one foot or “hopscotching” can make the game more fun and challenging for older children. If a player misses their marker, falters, or lets their foot touch the ground, they are effectively “out” of the game. The last person left wins.

Many children also play with more than 10 squares to make the game more challenging by making the course longer. Soldiers used 100 spots, but 25, 50, or 75 may be used by children who want to find a challenge that meets their needs. Variations of the game that children have created over time also exist, but the root of it is always a fun jumping and hopping game!


Hopscotch is a fun game that can be played almost anywhere and continues to keep children entertained for hours. Imagination and creativity can give children many variations of this game and make it a fun game to play alone or with their friends.

The Revival of Family Game Night

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there were no cell phones or computers, no television. After the evening meal, the family might stay at the table together for a rousing board game. Through all of the inventions of modern time, those evenings have nearly been forgotten. They don’t have to be, nor should they be.

Tabletop Games, a Prelude to Board Games

Many believe chess to be the oldest tabletop game in the world. This game of great wit and forethought came about around 600 AD in either India or China. It is not, however, the oldest.

Checkers dates back even further to 3000 BCE. First thought to have come about in Ancient Mesopotamia, or what is now known as Iraq, checkers, or draughts as it is known in the UK, continues to be popular today. While also a game of strategy, unless involved in tournament play, it doesn’t take the deep mindset of chess, being a game children and adults alike can play.

The First American Board Games

Board games, as we know them today, are games created for the mass market to promote family fun. Games in a box emerged with Monopoly in 1935. Made and sold by Parkers Brothers, the game actually originated as The Landlord’s Game by Lizzie Maggie at the turn of the 20th century. Her game rules were to demonstrate a monopolist mindset, versus the anti-monopolists, when finances were paid out to all investors sharing the wealth.

However, the actual game of Monopoly is credited to Charles Darrow. The Philadelphia salesman was introduced to The Landlord’s Game through friends following dinner one evening. He later patented his own version, known as Monopoly, and sold the copyrights to Parker Brothers. Learning of Maggie’s influence of the game, the company purchased her patent, as well.

More Games, and Their Future

From there Parker Brothers continued manufacturing a wide variety of board games including Clue, Sorry, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit. Their competition was the Milton Bradley Company, which invented Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and the Game of Life. The Milton Bradley Company bought out Playskool with its most famous game, Yahtzee, in the 1960s.

Through the years other types of board games emerged such as the very popular 1990s Dungeons and Dragons, originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and eventually marketed by Hasbro, who also bought out Parker Brothers. But, with the onset of video games and computer games, board games have gone by the wayside.

With an increased demand to go back to our roots of the family sitting down, together, for dinner, some are bringing out their old board games, too. There is a definite need in today’s society to return to those times together, whether through those old board games, or new ones piquing the interest of modern youth.