1920’s Old Card Game of Stop Thief
The old Stop Thief card game, produced by Wilder MFG. in the 1920’s, is similar to the new Rats! card game of today. Of course, there is a difference in theme between the two games, and subtle variations in rules, but the card games provide a good example for proving what was fun back then, is still fun today!
Stop Thief consists of 32 cards. There are 20 thief cards and 12 officer cards. The officer cards include 4 cards depicting each a detective, cop, and police chief.
As shown on the box cover, the thief has stolen a pig and is running away from the officer who is assumingly yelling, ‘Stop Thief’! The Thief cards display part of this scene. They illustrate a silly looking man dashing away with a squealing pig.
Two players compete in trying to collect all the cards in the deck. To play, all cards are dealt one by one to each player face down in a pile. The dealer goes first and flips over his top card from his pile onto the center of the table. The other player flips over his top card onto the played card. Like in the game of Rats!, if the player places on top of the pile a card with a number (Officers in Stop Thief and Big Fat Rats in Rats!), he captures the pile unless his opponent can recapture them.
Recapture is achieved by the player flipping over an Officer card (Big Fat Rat in Rats!) in the amount of turns of the previous displayed numbered card. For example, if the player placed a ‘Cop’ card which is numbered 3, then the opponent would have 3 turns to try and place on top of that card another numbered Officer card. If he cannot recapture, his opponent gets to take all the cards in the pile.
The complete rules to Rats! is explained in the post entitled Family Game Night Idea with Rats! Card Game. The Rats! card game does include additional exciting elements, like a Ratslap! rule, not found in the old game of Stop Thief. It also allows up to 4 players to play, where Stop Thief is a game for only two players. Both are fun games, though!
It is interesting to notice the differences and similarities amongst games throughout the ages. What I find amazing is something which has never changed. This is demonstrated by the first ever games played and still being played today; Senet and The Royal Game of Ur. And that is, people will always enjoy playing games!
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