UPDATED February 18th 2015

THE CARD HISTORY PROJECT HAS BEGUN! Read below for more information, and to see the first set of results. The survey was built on Survey Monkey and up to 100 responses can be submitted. If you would like to take the survey and have not yet done so, please click here. I would ask that you only begin the survey if you are card gamer and interested in this project. A few people have answered the first question or two and then quit the survey, and this does count as one of my allotted responses. Many thanks for your consideration.

The Card History project is a long-term research project that I am going to be working on for quite some time.

I am a very keen board gamer, with my preferences being games with good story and games that use cards. The love of cards is something that stretches beyond just gaming, however. I spent some time learning card magic some years ago, and I am also fascinated with the tarot, though I have never had a reading myself.

Some time ago, I became interested with the history of cards, and began to look for books on the subject. I did find a few, but nothing recent - the latest I could find was published in 1973. This piqued my interest, as the use of cards in gaming is something that has become a very different animal in the last few decades.

Many different cultures have used cards in games for centuries, but the world has never known the number of card games that exist today. From French Deck (four-suit deck) games such as Solitaire, Bridge and Whist to the stylised, artistic cards of Dominion, Race For The Galaxy or Legacy: The Testament Of Duke De Crecy, cards now span an enormous range.

In time, I hope to conduct enough research to be able to write a book looking at the evolution of cards, particularly in recent times. I am beginning this project with a survey of 100 card gamers, asking about what they like about card games, what their favourite games are, and other simple questions. The aim of this survey is to understand what it is that attracts the card gamer of today to cards, and what other sectors, such as magic, their interests extend to.

If you are interested in being involved with this project, or just want to follow my progress, keep an eye on this page. I will post all information here as I continue my work.


The following initial results have been taken from the first 37 survey responses. I am only looking at a few of the listed questions here, as I do not want to suggest premeditated answers to some of the questions. The first question I ask is what interactions people have with cards, and the following shows the spread of uses among those that have responded.

Card interactions

One thing I was not expecting was to find that a greater proportion of my respondents thus far consider themselves game designers to some extent than those that consider themselves gamblers.

There were also a few people who selected the 'other' option. However, I will not be including the additional comments in such questions in my initial analysis, as they will take longer to process.

I also look into people's preferred card games. Naturally, with the sheer number available, there has been a great variety of responses. A substantially larger survey would need to be conducted to see if there is a clear leader in the field. However - in no particular order - the five most popular games from these first responses have proved to be Poker, Spades, Android: Netrunner, Dominion and Race For The Galaxy.

I look specifically at French Deck games as well. Around 40% of the respondents so far do not play with the French Deck at all. Of those that do, the most popular games are Poker, Klondike, Hearts and Rummy.

The last result I shall post for now is the result of a question asking what attributes people look for in a card game. Again, there are some people who selected 'other', but without those (for now), the table looks as follows:


For quite some time, accessibility, artwork and variety were all equal, but in the last few responses, artwork took a small lead to be the third most popular attribute to look for after theme and, the clear leader, mechanics.

I shall post up more comprehensive results after more people have responded to the survey.