Games in the Regency ~ Cards Part 1

By Ann Lethbridge

Fun and games anyone? Without TV our Regency ancestors spent more time in activities that involved -- other people. I thought it might be good to look at pastimes in a little more detail. We did look at those specific to women, but I thought we might look at those which one might find at a party.

Card Games

There were lots of them. The best place to find out about the rules, if you want to play a la Regency, (hows that for a bit of French late on a Thursday night) is to look at Hoyles, on Google. This link is for one for 1823, there are probably others. In 1750, the first compendium of various games was published, as Mr. Hoyle's Games Complete.

Here are some of the more familiar card games we see in books:

  • Whist
  • Ving-et-un
  • Piquet
  • Cribbage
  • Pharo

I thought we could work through them from time to time. Do you also see how clever I have become with my html. lol


This is a whist marker from 1820. A way of keeping score. Each marker would have a number from 0 to 9 because in those days whist was played to 9 or 10 points, known as long whist.

This is a game played with partners and with trumps. It is similar to bridge but less complex. It does require keeping track of what cards have been played. The cards your partner plays will often reveal their cards in relation to yours.

There is some interesting terminology that goes along with a game.

Whist: According to Hoyle it is called this because you need to be quiet when you are playing.

Revoke: This means one of the players did not follow suit when he had a card of that suit in his hand. His partner is actually allowed to ask if he made a mistake, because the penalties are severe.

There are other interesting terms like, Quint, Tierce, Quart and Finessing and more.

Points are scored: one for each trick above six tricks between the partners. Thirteen tricks make a hand, because each player is dealt thirteen cards. However, in order to win the game, you have to make nine points, which would mean dealing more than one hand.

If you are playing a rubber of Whist, then you play the best of three, which means that one partnership must reach nine points twice.

Well I don't know about you, but that is more than enough for me. I am looking forward to looking at another game, next time we Ramble through the Regency.