This two-volume book gives as comprehensive a history as can be achieved at the present time of a family of card games that originated in the first quarter of the XV century, and is therefore one of the very oldest still practiced. It is the family of games played with the Tarot pack. Contrary to popular belief, the Tarot pack was not invented for fortune-telling or any other occult purpose: that was an accretion dating from the late XVIII century. It was invented to play a new kind of card game: its great contribution was to introduce the idea of trumps into card play. The games spread to France and Switzerland in the early XVI century, and subsequently over almost the whole of Europe. In doing so, it developed a great multiplicity of different forms: the family is far more diverse than any other, while retaining a constant central core. This book will gather material that is widely scattered and very hard to come by, a good deal of it not otherwise accessible in print at all. It will therefore be an indispensable reference work for all who are interested in the history of this game or any particular branch of it. It will also give examples, more instructive than could be given from any other family of card games, of how games evolve. Finally it will be of prime value to any who wish to play one or more forms of the game.
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John McLeod began his research into card games while studying mathematics in Cambridge in the 1970's. He is the creator and editor of www pagat.com, the primary source on the Internet for card game information. He writes regularly for The Playing Card, the journal of the International Playing-Card Society, and has visited ten European countries to learn their national Tarot games. In 2000, he was awarded the Modiano Prize for his contribution to playing-card research.Review:
"Pr. Sir Michael Dummett is the leading authority on the history of the Tarot and John McLeod maintains the reference Internet site on card games. They have produced an impressively thorough compendium of all the rules of the game of Tarot that are documented. Doing this, they offer all researchers interested in the subject a powerful tool for the history and spread of the game of tarot and thus a great lesson in cultural history. The rigorous structure of each chapter facilitates comparisons and offers a comprehensive sight of the subject. With its many appendices and indices it will soon be a reference book for all historians....I strongly recommend this book." - Thierry Depaulis; "A book like this can only be written after years of research, which in the present case includes experience of playing the games. The huge store of knowledge and experience thus gained makes possible the authority and understatement with which the material is laid out." - Prof. Dr. Detlef Hoffmann, Carl Von Ossietzky Universitat Oldenburg"
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