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85 years playing card board from Koehler

"In China they hunt for pigs"


Card games are a favorite pastime for many around the world. Whether large or small, whether Mau-Mau, Rummy or Poker, they are played, won and lost. At Koehler, we have been producing excellent quality card board for playing cards for 85 years. Join us on our journey to find out what card games are played all over the world.

"In China they hunt for pigs"

Let us begin our journey in Asia, the birthplace of playing cards. Playing cards existed in China and Korea as early as the 12th century. What games were played with them is unknown, however. It is assumed these were more games of chance than combination games.

Card games are still played in Asia today, although the preferred games vary from country to country. In Thailand, for example, they play "Black Frog, Red Frog" or "Gob dum Gob dang," which is very similar to the Indonesian game "Main Merah" and the Chinese "Chinese Ten." In the Thai version, the black number cards 2-9 have their respective values, 10 to king are worth 10 points and the ace of spades 50 points. The red cards and the ace of clubs have no value.

Winning voters with a deck of cards

In Malaysia, a new game took the market and the hearts of players by storm in 2013. It's called "Politiko" and is reminiscent of Monopoly. However, the players represent political parties that have to win voters. Of course, there are also scandal cards based on actual political scandals. And, as in real life, the players can take voters from each other and ruin the reputation of their opponents.

British colonial history can also be felt in the card games of India; Rummy and poker are really popular. But catchily-named local games such as "Teen Patti," "Satte Pe Satta" and "Teen Do Paanch" are also widely adored. Generally, card games are very popular in India and are only overtaken in popularity by cricket. And in India, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Point and pig hunting with playing cards

In Russia and many Eastern European countries, a game known simply as "1,000" is popular. The game is played by three or four players with 24 cards. The goal is to be the first player to score 1,000 points. Queens and kings score bonus points.

When the Chinese play cards, they hunt pigs. "Gong Zhu" basically means "Hunt the Pig," which on the one hand refers to the queen of spades, but also to the loser. The game is played with a French deck of 52 cards. The queen is lured out by playing spades.

Somalia needs the most cards

Cards are also played in Africa. In Somalia, for example, "Arpaa Turup" is popular. You need 144 cards and four players forming two pairs. Each player is dealt 36 cards and the two partners are allowed to signal to each other. With 36 cards per player, there’s no chance of losing track of them, at least.

When it comes to card games in the USA, the measure of all things is of course Poker. A few kilometers further south, in Mexico, "Conquian" is played. For this you need a Spanish deck, which instead of clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds features swords, batons, cups and coins. Apart from that, the game is very reminiscent of Rummy, which is also popular in Germany. In bordering countries of Central America the comparable "Loba" (English: she-wolf) is very popular.

Variations of Rummy are played in South America

Variations of Rummy are also played further south. In Chile and Argentina, for example, "Carioca," which is also a tile-based game, is very popular. However, it takes place over seven rounds. In each round it becomes more difficult to place your cards in runs (for example, ace-two-three-four of hearts) or as three-of-a-kind (9 of hearts, spades, and clubs). If you want to get rid of all your cards in the last round, you have to lay them all in one go. In Rummy this is known as a Rummy Hand, but it is not a requirement.

Skat, which is very popular in Germany, is not very widespread in other countries. Schafskopf, Doppelkopf and Mau-Mau also enjoy great popularity. These games do not use a 52-card deck; Skat and Mau-Mau are played with only a 32-card deck. Schafskopf and Doppelkopf are played with 40 cards (two decks with 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace).

Playing cards connect people all over the world

"Tarot" is usually associated more with fortune-telling and less with playing cards. However, it is also an old French game, but it does not use the French deck that we know so well. The game is played with 78 cards: The knight ranks between jack and queen; instead of the ace, there is a 1; and there are an additional 21 trump cards, which are beautifully decorated and represent different life situations. And one mustn't forget the "bout" card, which means "end."

The end of each card game, however, is only the beginning of a new round. Of course, this selection of games is far from complete. Whole books have been written about the world of card games, and yet by no means has everything been said on the subject. Koehler has been helping to shape the world of playing cards for 85 years. And this is a good thing, because playing cards are one of the things that connect us in this world. They are manufactured by Koehler in Oberkirch.

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