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The A-Z of Card Games (Oxford Quick Reference) Paperback – December 30, 2004
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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).Read more ›