What Card Games Did Colonists Play?

Photo of author

By Monica Bates

During the colonial period, card games were a popular pastime among the elite and common people alike. Card games became a form of entertainment that brought people together for socializing and friendly competition.

Popular Colonial Card Games

Whist: Whist was one of the most popular card games during the colonial period. It was a game of strategy that involved four players, divided into two teams. The objective of the game was to win tricks by playing the highest card in each round.

Piquet: Piquet was another popular card game that originated in France but gained popularity in colonial America. It involved two players, who would try to score points by making certain combinations of cards.

Farmer’s In His Den: Farmer’s In His Den was a children’s game that involved singing a song while players took turns drawing cards from a deck. The player with the “farmer” card would then choose their partner and continue playing until all players had a turn.

The Role of Card Games in Colonial Society

Card games played an important role in colonial society as they provided an opportunity for socializing and networking. People from different social classes could come together to play cards, and it was not uncommon for wealthy families to host lavish parties where guests would gather around tables to play various games such as whist or piquet.

Card games also served as a means of etiquette training for young women. Playing cards allowed them to practice good manners, conversation skills and developing strategies while entertaining guests at home.

The Importance of Cards During the American Revolution

During the American Revolution, playing cards played an essential role in military life. Soldiers used them to pass their time during long periods of waiting or downtime between battles. Cards were light-weight and portable, making them easy to carry with them on campaigns.

Cards were also used as a means of propaganda during the Revolution. For example, the famous “Washington’s Headquarters” deck of cards featured portraits of revolutionary leaders and scenes from the war.

In conclusion

Card games were an essential part of colonial life, providing entertainment and socializing opportunities for people from all walks of life. From children’s games like Farmer’s In His Den to more complex games like whist and piquet, card games played a crucial role in shaping colonial society. Even during the American Revolution, playing cards continued to provide a source of entertainment for soldiers on the battlefield.