Home Front Old Maid Card Game

Card games were hugely popular in the Second World War and many companies updated old favourites with a wartime twist. The game of ‘old maid’ has been around for at least a hundred and fifty years and is a simple card game that involved trying to get pairs of card by choosing a single card form another player at random. Completed pairs are discarded until no more pairs are left. At that point whoever is holding the ‘old maid card’, of which there is only one, is the loser. Although the game can be played with a standard set of playing cards (often called Scabby Queen in the UK), purpose made decks of cards are more common and usually have pairs of cards with characters form society on them. This set dates from World War Two and thus alongside the traditional civilian professions represented on the cards are a number of specific designs for wartime:imageThese include a Land Girl:imageA sailor:imageA colonel:imageAnd an airman:imageThere is just one old maid card:imageAnd a set of instructions:imageThe production of toys and games was severely limited during the Second World War as the resources were needed for vital war production. Limited manufacture of simple and cheap toys was allowed as the authorities recognised that, especially at Christmas, it was good for civilian morale to have some toys available to purchase for children. Card games were a popular choice as they were easy to manufacture, were not too wasteful of valuable resources and small enough to be easily shipped around the country or posted out to a loved one. The design of this set is particularly appealing to me and the caricatures used are very much of their period, I must confess I am going to try and have a game with my son with this set and see if he finds it as much fun as the children who originally played with it did.

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