Antique 1890’s McLoughlin Bros. Where’s Johnny Game

antique mcloughlin bros gameWhere’s Johnny: A Pleasing Game by McLoughlin Bros. of New York consists of both a reading card game and a matching card game in its box.  Produced in the 1890’s, it includes forty- one colorful playing cards used for both amusements.  A small booklet containing instructions to play the games is included in the adorable game box as well.

Along with the title of the game, the box displays one central image.  It depicts one large owl looking over at four young owls perched on a limb of a tree.  One of the small owls is shown wearing a ‘dunce’ hat.  This type of creative imagery is one of the reasons Mcloughlin games are so collectible.  They present beautiful illustrations of past times that are cherished today.

where's johnny old game cardsThe first game of Where is Johnny? begins with the dealer taking out one card from the entire deck for each person playing.  One of these must be the lone Johnny card (shown with the Where is Johnny? card).  These special cards are shuffled and placed on top of the remaining deck. All cards are then dealt to players, one by one, facedown into piles.  Although it is not known who has the Johnny card, it is known one of the player’s piles includes it at the bottom.

Counters, either beans or buttons, are also passed out. Each player receives ten counters.  Approximately twenty-five counters are placed in the center of the table for all players to pay into, or take from; according to what their cards state.

Taking turns, players flip up the top card on their piles and place it in front of them. They read the card aloud for all to hear, and follow the instructions to ‘pay’ or ‘take’ counters (examples below).  Unlike the popular Peter Coddle’s game stories, which involve a full printed story with blanks, there isn’t any main book.  The cards themselves relate the tale of Where is Johnny?

antique game cards

The deck consists of one ‘Where is Johnny?’ card (shown above with the Johnny card).  When this card is turned over, the card is passed to each player for one round.  Whoever holds the card during the round is free from making any payments into the center.  He can receive, though.

Once the final Johnny card is flipped over by a player, the game ends.  Whoever has the most counters at this time wins the game.  Enjoyment for the game is found by the laughter shared in reading the cards and hearing the story.  It was a way to gather together.

The second game is Johnny’s Matching Game.  In this game all cards are dealt one by one to the players, face down.  Taking turns each player flips over the top card from his pile and places it in front of him.  If a previous flipped card matches the letter of his flipped card, he takes the match.  If a match is missed, the person who sees it first takes the match. (example of a match shown below)

mcloughlin bros. game cards

If the ‘Where is Johnny?’ is flipped over, the holder of this card, for one round, receives all matches created by players turning over their cards; if he sees them.  After the one round, it is passed to his right, for now it is this player’s turn to hold the ‘Where is Johnny?’ card.  This card is passed until all players hold it for one round.

Once all cards are flipped, the winner is the player with the most matched points.  The ‘Johnny’ matched cards count as five.  Other picture card matches count as two.  And the border card matches (shown below) count as one.

antique cards where's johnny

Although simple in play, the above two games offered enjoyment and fun to players.  Today, they still do so; and are even appreciated more for their sharing of the wonderful graphics and words of times gone by.


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Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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