Who Wrote the Book on Card Games?

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By Monica Bates

If you’re a fan of card games, you might be wondering who wrote the book on this popular pastime. Card games have been around for centuries, and their origins are shrouded in mystery. However, we do know that many influential people throughout history have contributed to the development of card games as we know them today.

Early Origins of Card Games

The earliest known reference to playing cards can be found in literature from 9th century China. At that time, cards were used as a form of currency and were decorated with various symbols and characters. It wasn’t until the 14th century that playing cards began to resemble the deck we use today, with four suits and court cards.

Influential Figures in Card Game History

One of the most famous figures in card game history is Edmond Hoyle. Born in 1672, Hoyle was an authority on games and authored several books on whist, backgammon, and other popular games of his time. His books were so influential that his name became synonymous with expertise in gaming.

Another notable figure is Charles Cotton, who was a contemporary of Hoyle’s and wrote “The Compleat Gamester” in 1674. This book covered a wide variety of games, including cards, dice, and billiards.

Modern Contributions to Card Games

In modern times, many game designers have contributed to the growth and development of card games. Richard Garfield is one such designer who created the wildly popular trading card game “Magic: The Gathering” in 1993. The game has since spawned numerous expansions and spin-offs.

Another notable contribution comes from Susan McKinley Ross who designed “Qwirkle,” a tile-based game that won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award for best board game in 2011.


While we may never know exactly who wrote the book on card games, there have been many influential figures throughout history who have contributed to their development. From Edmond Hoyle to Richard Garfield and Susan McKinley Ross, the world of card games continues to evolve and grow with each passing year.

  • Key Takeaways:
  • Card games have been around for centuries.
  • Edmond Hoyle and Charles Cotton were influential figures in card game history.
  • Modern game designers like Richard Garfield and Susan McKinley Ross continue to contribute to the growth of card games.

So next time you gather around the table with friends or family for a game of cards, take a moment to appreciate the rich history behind this timeless pastime.