What is the history of card games

The history of playing cards and their origins!

There is evidence that cards that were hand-painted at the time were played in Italy as early as the 1370s. The rapid spread of the card game, its connection with money stakes and the associated increase in gambling debts, including playful house and yard, promptly provoked urban authorities, which often reacted with restrictive game regulations and also prohibitions (mostly in a relatively mild form, but occasionally also more violently; dice) e.g. was pursued much more strictly than card games).

More intense persecutions are associated with the names of particularly fanatical monks, among them San Bernardino, Johannes Capistranus and also Savanorola, who generally had games burned at the stake along with other reprehensible trinkets. The suppression of the game varied from place to place and also from time to time and decreased over time. As far as documents are known, it can be concluded that there were fewer bans in Germany and France than in Italy. Most of the older playing cards that have survived were hand-painted and were a luxury reserved for the nobility, but these cards were particularly valuable and were therefore more likely to be kept. The oldest surviving European game (dated 1427-1431) comes from Stuttgart and shows hunting scenes of the court society. Cheaper games only had a chance to reach our times when people began to incorporate misprints of the playing card images into book spines as inexpensive reinforcement.

It was spread more quickly to the general public when cards could be reproduced using the woodcut technique, making them inexpensive to produce in series. The production of playing cards is probably the beginning of the development of the woodcut. The so-called “court office game”, which was created around 1450, is the oldest, printed and subsequently colored card game that has been preserved to this day. Due to its symbolism, it is assumed that it originated from the court environment. Mapmaker guilds are known from this time in German-speaking countries from Nuremberg, Augsburg, Ulm and Strasbourg. In Austria, Vienna was an early starting point for playing card production.

In Italy, so-called Trionfi cards developed, which in some stages of development developed into the Tarot (French), Tarock (German) or Tarocchi (Italian) game (documented under this name for the first time in 1505). The beginning of this development was probably in the courtly culture of the Visconti family in Milan and the Este in Ferrara (approx. 1440) Tarot game around 1440 at the court of Ferrara. The term Trionfi later led, inter alia, to to the German term "trumpfen", which is still used in card games. The colorful Visconti-Sforza tarot, created around 1450, contains additional cards with a trump function in the game compared to the normal card sets.

In the course of time, local color sign systems emerged in Europe: including the French system, which was gradually gaining dominance, with hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs, the German with hearts, leaves, acorns and bells and the Spanish / Italian with coins, sticks, swords and goblets.

In the early days, as far as it can be seen from the documents, the production processes were simplified, especially in Germany, which made the playing cards an export item. As a result, woodcut, copperplate engraving and letterpress printing developed earlier in Germany than in other countries. From around 1480/1510 Lyon developed a central role in card game production and made card games its export hit. The result was a dominance of the French color system, which still prevails. Playing cards were given cœur (heart), pique (lance), trèfle (clover leaf) and carreau (square).

From the 16th century onwards, card games were cultivated in the gaming parlors of social circles. Fiscal interest later gave birth to the playing card tax. Pure games of chance with playing cards were finally banned by the state and only allowed under state supervision in casinos, such as poker and blackjack. In Germany, from January 1, 1900, the civil code stipulated that gambling debt was not enforceable (Section 762 of the German Civil Code) unless it was based on government approval. Gambling debts are debts of honor.