The Counties of England, England

The Counties of England, England, 1870
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Counties of England game was the most popular and widely followed before the introduction of Happy Families. This game, like Happy Families and Snap, was published by John Jaques & Son of London. There are three different packs, which could be sold separately or together as a complete set. Each pack has 61 cards, 13 of which bear the names of counties and principal towns, while the rest carry pictures of those towns. One pack covers the Midland counties, another, Northern and Western counties and the third, Southern and Eastern counties. The complete set of three packs was issued in a wooden box with a sliding lid.

One player is nominated as President, and he or she retains the 13 county cards while the rest are dealt to the remaining players. Each player is given 6 counters, of which an agreed number is put into a pool. The President names one of the counties and asks all the players in turn for a card of a town belonging to this county. If a card of another county is offered, the player forfeits one counter to the pool. If the card is offered, the player takes a counter from the pool. Any player able to relate a fact or describe the scenery or products connected with the card, receives an additional counter. When the sets are all made up, the player with the most counters wins. The game can also be played using the same rules as for Happy Families.