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The A-Z of Card Games (Oxford Paperback Reference) Paperback – December 30, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperback Reference
  • Paperback: 441 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (December 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198608705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198608707
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,091,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author


David Parlett is an internationally renowned inventor, writer, and researcher in the field of games. Among his games is Hare and Tortoise, which has been published in ten languages and won three Game of the Year awards. His game books include A History of Card Games (OUP), Card Games and Card Games for One (both Teach Yourself books, 1994), Know the Game (Black, 1996), and The Guinness Book of Word Games (Guinness, 1995). He also advises on card-playing sequences in film and television and acts as a consultant to playing card and computer companies. He is a South Londoner by birth, domicile, and inclination.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you like cards, this book is a great choice. It lists several hundred card games in alphabetical order. These include both popular and obscure games from all over the world. Each entry offers clear, easy-to-understand rules for the game.

This is the 2nd edition of the book entitled "A Dictionary of Card Games" written in the early 1990s by the same author. Since I have a copy of the older edition, I wondered whether buying this new edition would be worth it. I can report that it definitely was. This updated edition adds some new international games, from countries such as China and Vietnam, that have not before been published in English.

As a card hobbyist, I've bought a dozen or so books on card games. One of the few as good as this is from the same author, entitled "Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games." That book organizes games by type, whereas this one lists them alphabetically.

You can't go wrong by buying either book (or just get both!). May all your deals be happy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mikko Saari on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
David Parlett's The A-Z of Card Games, published in Oxford Paperback Reference series, is the best compilation of card game rules I've ever seen, at least in book format. The book is full of interesting games from all around the world - the book has some Finnish games, too! It's an intelligent book and takes card games seriously, unlike many other rule books that seem to be written on autopilot.

Parlett's book passes even the hardest test: it includes few games played with the Tarot pack. That's something fairly rare and always a sign of a good book. This book isn't perfect, though: there are some errors in the rules, but fortunately those are fairly rare. Parlett's style isn't probably the easiest, so I'd recommend this book to people who already know how to play card games and want to learn new, interesting games. This isn't the best first book for card game newbies.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Callaghan VINE VOICE on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is very accessible, and contains many interesting games - the tone is pretty chatty, which makes it much easier to learn from than the Hoyle or Jacoby books, and the illustrations are very clear (why couldn't Hoyle have done this?). Also, there is a lot of information on some of the newer games (Chinese Poker, President, Gopa, and Eleusis, for example) that for some reason are absent in other collections. Also, I appreciate that Parlett's language is so colloquial, since so many other collections of rules have a 1940's academic feel to them - ironic since they discuss social gaming!

All that said, there are some serious omissions here. I've only had the book for a day, but found some oversights that must be mentioned to balance out the other reviews. Firstly, there is no index. This is pretty inexcusable in a reference book - it may be pointed out that the games are alphabetically listed, but what if I want to look up "Italy" and see what games came from there? Or find out which games are trick taking games? Can't be done.

Also, game specific here, in his description of Chinese Poker, Parlett says "There is no strategy, no vying, no sense in it at all" (p.86). While the smarmy tone might entertain other folks who have obviously never played the game, not only is there strategy, there is a book about it with full mathematical analysis (not available on amazon, but easily found with a search engine).
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