Throughout time, the common game has changed drastically; just look how much it’s changed in the past decade from board games to high-technology dance studios and all too realistic armed warfare. It’s hard to imagine people playing “go fish” and “poker” so long ago but everything has a history, right?
In 9th Century China, during the Tang Dynasty, a deck of cards was created and forever changed the way people played games. The cards were then brought to Europe in the 14th century where they eventually received a major face-lift: Chinese characters and symbols were replaced by kings, queens, knights, and princes and the 4 suits (spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs). These symbols are very similar to what we see today.
During the Renaissance, these cards were used to play games such as Primero, Cacho, and Flor. Primero is actually very similar to modern-day poker and while there can be many variations to how it is played, this is one of the most common. You start with a 52-card deck and take out the 8’s, 9’s and 10’s. The remaining cards are given point values like a face card counts as 10 and aces count as 16. Four cards are dealt to each player and they can choose to bid, stake, or pass. This is when the game gets a little trickier and certain rules need to be followed in order to achieve different goals. The directions to play Primero are available as Much Ado About Sebastopol’s August Monthly Favor . Download them to help you get in the Renaissance spirit before Much Ado About Sebastopol's special educatinonal fundraising Renaissance Faire on September 14th and 15th.