hist-games: card games--Naib/ganjifa

Thierry Depaulis thierry.depaulis at freesbee.fr
Wed Dec 20 10:12:23 PST 2000

Sally W wrote:

>While I'm asking impossible questions, does anyone know of any directions,
>period or contemporary, for card games using ganjifa? I seem to be only
>finding them as art objects.

There is a chapter on traditional ganjifa games (by Michael Dummett) in:
Rudolf von Leyden, Ganjifa: the playing cards of India, London, 1982
(exhibition catalogue of the Victoria & Albert Museum).

>And would it be reasonable, do you suppose, to posit a pre-Hombre simple
>trick-taking game played with the 52-card deck described by John of
>Rheinfelden? It seems very odd that the cards were introduced with 52 cards
>and the oldest games we know of are played with 40 and 48 card decks. But
>many of you are more learned in this than I, and I haven't read this
>suggestion anywhere. . .or have I missed it?

Records show that the 52-card primeval pack was adapted to new games
involving less cards. At a very early stage the Spanish dropped the tens,
while the Germans forgot the aces (and replaced them with deuces, German
Däuser). In France, 36- and later 32-card packs were introduced for
specific games (piquet) during the 17th century. Hombre appeared around
1600 and introduced the 40-card pack.
Thierry Depaulis

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