Antique McLoughlin Bros. Game of Puss in the Corner
McLoughlin Bros. is known for the beautiful, colorful images produced in the company’s books, board, and card games. The 1888 antique game of Puss in the Corner provides a wonderful example of such cherished work. It is one of the reasons why people love to collect McLoughlin Bros. items and hold them so dear.
The game should not be confused with the 1895 game by Parker Brother’s of the same name. Parker Brother’s Puss in the Corner consists of a board, spinner, and 12 wooden pawns (3 each for up to 4 players). It too is a prized collectible, but is different from McLoughlin’s.
McLoughlin Bros. Puss in the Corner game includes 32 charming chromolithographed cards with a small instruction booklet on how to play. These are kept inside a 4.5×5.5 cardboard box that shows an adorable tiger kitten (puss) looking out a window with a potted red flower on the sill. The playing cards are illustrated with prowling pussy cats, hungry rats, and sneaky mice.
Players begin with placing the four special marked Puss in the Corner cards in the center of the table, corner to corner. Interestingly, the directions mention the arrangement of these is a nice additional puzzle for young children to enjoy by creating the vacant square the 4 cards will make (shown on right). It seems simple amusements of the time were gladly appreciated.
The dealer then takes one card for each player playing from the pack and sets it to the side for using at the end of the game. The bottom card should be a Puss card. Puss cards are numbers 23 through 28.
After the remaining cards are all dealt to the players, players take turns placing cards to the Puss in the Corner cards. Top cards are turnedover from the player’s face down pile and placed in the following ways.
If a player turns over an Even numbered rat or mice card, he plays it to an Even numbered Puss card in the center of the table. An Odd numbered rat or mice card is played to an Odd numbered Puss card.
If a player turns over a single Puss card, he can take the pile that states the either Odd or Even card. A Puss card depicting two cats can take any pile. If there aren’t any piles to take, then the player just plays the card to the matching Even or Odd pile.
When the players are out of cards, they take from the dealer’s set aside pile. Once these are all gone, then the winner is decided upon.
The winner is the player who has the most cards. Or, if agreed upon before play, the winner is the player who captures the most mice and rats. This is determined by counting the rats and mice on player’s cards. Some cards only have one rat, and others have up to six mice.
No matter which way the winner of the game is found, the game is found to be a winner. It is a unique look at how families gathered and played together in the past. Sitting inside a game cabinet, Puss in the Corner reminds of simpler times.
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