The Oxford History of Board GamesOriginally commissioned by Oxford University Press as a sequel to The Oxford History of Card Games (below), this volume was published in 1999 and is no longer in print. It is, however, available direct from the author as a zipped pdf for £35, or €55, us$65 or equivalent. Each of 19 chapters traces the historical development of a family of related games, including race games (Backgammon, Pachisi, Snakes & Ladders etc), space games (Halma, Chinese Checkers, Merels, Go, Othello etc), chase games (Fox & Geese, Hnefatafl etc), capturing games (Chess, Draughts/Checkers, Mancala etc), and modern classics (Monopoly, Scrabble, Diplomacy, Trivial Pursuit etc). Rules or brief descriptions of some 200 games in 386 pages, 140k words. Many b/w illustrations. ISBN 0-19-212998-8, hardback (only).
The Penguin Book of Card GamesThe latest edition of this title, first published in 1979, is also available as a Kindle e-book. Counting variations, about 500 games from all over the world are described in nearly a quarter of a million words occupying over 650 pages. This completely new edition replaces the "The Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games" (2000), which was more of a mouthful and sounded a bit pretentious anyway. ISBN 978-0-141-03787-5.
The Book of Word GamesAn updated revision of my former Penguin Book of Word Games and Guinness book of Word Games has been republished under the title The Book of Word Games by Echo Point Books. It's available as an e‑book and as a paperback from Amazon.
The Oxford A-Z of Card GamesUpdated and expanded version (360 to 440 pages) of what was originally published as the Oxford Dictionary of Card games (1992). Over 300 card games and solitaires arranged in alphabetical order for ease of reference. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-860870-5, paperback.
Teach Yourself Card Games2006 edition replacing those of 2003 and 1999, this updated version describes 33 popular and classic card games, with strategic tips, illustrative deals, and internet resources for further information and on-line play. There is an introductory chapter for those who have never held a hand of cards before. Contents include Bridge, Canasta, Cribbage, Euchre, Hearts, Poker, Skat, Spades, and (newly added) Scopa and Scopone. Hodder Headline, London, ISBN 978-0-340-9278-1, £9.99, paperback.
A History of Card GamesFirst published in hardback as The Oxford Guide to Card Games, later in paperback as A History of Card Games (without illustrations). Reviewers described this "Handy and erudite" (Salman Rushdie), "Monumental and magisterial" (T J Binyon), "A work of scholarship lightly worn" (Anthony Curtis), "A compelling piece of cultural history" (Prof Sir Michael Dummett), etc. Out of print, but you can get a mint copy of either title from the author. Oxford University Press, 1990
Entensuppe und 53 andere SpielePeer Sylvester has translated into German a number of games of my invention, mostly card games but also word games and board games, many previously unpublished in any language. From Bambus Spieleverlag, € 14.50 (D), paperback, 148 pages, ISBN 978-3-9811892-1-6
(Duck Soup and 53 other Games)
(Duck Soup and 53 other Games)
All my game books
Published by Oxford University Press:Hover over images for details. The Oxford Guide to Card Games (1990) was republished in paperback (and without illustrations) as A History of Card Games and followed in 1999 by a companion History Board Games. The Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, giving the rules of play of many games listed in the History of Card Games, appeared first in 1992 and later in several different editions. It is now known as the Oxford A-Z of Card Games.
Published by Penguin Books:
Hover over images for details. The Penguin Book of Card Games was first published in hardback by Allen Lane in 1979 and in paperback (white cover) by Penguin the same year. The paperback plus two packs of specially designed Penguin cards appeared in a faux-leather boxed set soon after, followed by the cardboard boxed set. Two American editions followed, as well as a translation into Japanese. A rewritten and expanded edition appeared in 2000 (as The Penguin Encyclopedia of Card Games), but the original title was restored for the latest revised edition with the Poker-playing Jack on the front cover in 2008. A companion volume, the Penguin Book of Patience, came out in 1979 both in hardback by Allen Lane (black cover) and in paperback by Penguin (white cover). The paperback also appeared as a boxed set with two packs of Penguin Patience cards. The American edition was published under the title Solitaire : Aces Up and 399 other Card Games.
Teach Yourself books (Hodder Headline):
Hover over images for details. My first card game book was Teach Yourself Card Games for Three, in the Teach Yourself series then published by Hodder & Stoughton (which became Hodder Headline in 1986). Hodder then invited me to write additional titles - Card Games for Four, for Two (replacing the former title originally written by Kenneth Konstam), Poker and Brag, and Card Games for One, which was subsequently translated into Hungarian. In 1983 I was invited to compile T.Y. C. G. for Everyone from material contained in the foregoing titles plus some extras. This was replaced by a new compilation in 1992 under the simpler title Teach Yourself Card Games, and this has appeared in several editions since. The fourth edition (2006) is still current. My Teach Yourself books differ from the Penguin series in that they deal with a smaller number of games but in greater depth, including notes on play and illustrative deals.
Original Card Games and others:Hover over images for details. Original Card Games was published by B. T. Batsford in hardback and paperback (same cover design for both) in 1977. In 1993 Jaime Poniachik of Buenos Aires asked me to provide some new material for a Spanish translation he wanted to make, and this appeared as Anarquía y Otros Juegos Sociales de Cartas. In 2008 Peer Sylvester made a German translation, again with additions and revisions from me, which was published by Bambus Spieleverlag under the title Entensuppe und 53 andere Spiele in 2008. All the Best Card Games was a one-off commissioned by Batsford in 1978, as was Family Card Games for a small book company in 1984. I wrote this one under the pseudonym "P. R. Jackson".
Word game books:Hover over images for details. My Penguin Book of Word Games appeared in 1982, with the same cover design for both hardback and paperback, with an American edition published by Pantheon Books under the title "Botticelli and Beyond". In 1995 a revised version, now expanded to included proprietary games, was published as The Guinness Book of Word Games (by Guinness Publishing, of course). These have since been superseded by an updated version entitled The Book of Word Games (see above).
Hover over images for details. Selections from the Carmina Burana (Penguin Classics, 1986). A translation into English verse of about 70 lyrics from the medieval Latin manuscript found at the Bavarian monastery of Benediktbeuern. They include the 20 or so set by Carl Orff in his well-known cantata. It was republished in America by Barnes & Noble in 2007 and in 2010 as an e‑book by Penguin Books. For further details and the Orff selection, see my Carmina Burana pages. This was a personal project, done for fun. Learning a Language Alone (Isaac Pitman, London, 1968). I wrote this after getting sidetracked from trying to teach myself Catalan, there being no self-teaching books on Catalan then available. As the blurb says, "This work sets out the problems of the student trying to learn a language on his own and gives guidance on each of them. It also provides a useful introduction to general linguistic principles. All private students of languages will find this book useful, particularly the large numbers of people following courses on radio and television." (I couldn't have put it better myself.) A Short Dictionary of Languages (English Universities Press, London, 1967), my first published book, was the product of a cross between an interest in languages and a mania for collecting things. It is out of date, unreliable, and only mentioned here for the sake of completeness. Dalcroze Today (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991) is my translation of Marie-Laure Bachmann's "La rhythmique Jaques-Dalcroze: une éducation par la musique et pour la musique" (Neuchâtel, 1984), commissioned by the Dalcroze Society of Great Britain.
Language books and translations
Language books and translations