Historical images of Plymouth in the Old Card Game of The Mayflower

On the old cards in the Game of The Mayflower published by The Fireside Game Company in 1897 can be seen historical images of Plymouth.

fireside game company card game mayflower

Game of The Mayflower (1897)

Collecting games, whether they are old board, card, or other types of games, often provide the collector with an amazing glance at historical times.  The Mayflower card game is an exceptional example of just how a game can offer such a unique look.   The game consists of 52 cards which relate the story of the voyage of the Mayflower and the life of the pilgrims during their early arrival at plymouth.

On many of the cards are displayed images of a past time.  Below is an image, which the card reads as the oldest house in Plymouth.   It is of the Doten house.  The card reads, “The Doten house, built in 1660, by Sergt. William Harlow, a prominent citizen of the town, stands on the seaward site of Sandwich Street, and is one of the ancient landmarks pointed out to tourists.  Since the card game was published in 1897, they are tourists of that era.

Doten house in plymouth

Oldest House in Plymouth Mayflower Game Card (Doten House)

Another card (shown below) shows Governor Bradford’s house.  The base of the card reads, “The first Governor, John Carver, died shortly after the landing, and William Bradford succeeded him.  For him was built a house of rough, hewn logs, the roof thatched, the windows covered with oiled paper.

fireside game company mayflower game card

Gov. Bradford’s House Mayflower Game Card

Playing the old card game of the Mayflower is like taking a history lesson.  Although the cards can be used to play the game like ‘Authors’, the Mayflower game is played by the Letters and Numbers found in the corner of the cards.

All 52 cards are dealt completely out to any amount of players.  The player to the left of the dealer goes first and must begin by placing a card numbered either 1 or 13.  If the player cannot set a card of that number down then he or she receives a penalty point and play moves on to the next person.  This player can lay a 1 or 13 card down of any letter or may lay a 2 on a 1 or a 12 on a 13 on a matching letter, if the first person was able to set a card down.

Players continue to set cards down by the sequence of numbers on matching letters going forward or backward.  If any players are unable then penalty points are given and play moves on.  Once the Lettered series gets to 1-6 and 8-13, the 7 is placed to complete the series (only once the 6 and 8 are both played can the 7 be placed across).

An example of the A Lettered series is as follows.  It depicts the departure of the pilgrims to an image of the Old Fort.

fireside game company mayflower card game

Plymouth in 1622 Mayflower Game Card

A-1  Departure from Delft Haven
A-2  Embarkation of the Pilgrims
A-3  The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor
A-4  Landing of the Pilgrims
A-5  John Alden and Priscilla
A-6  Treaty with Massasoit
A-7  The pilgrims going to church
A-8  Pilgrim exiles
A-9  Two farewells
A-10  Gov. Bradford’s House
A-11 Plymouth in 1622
A-12  Pulpit Rock, Clark’s Island
A-13  The old Fort/ Burial hill

The object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all his or her cards from their hand.  Although a great card game to play over a hundred years ago, it is still (and even more so) a great old card game to play today.  The history found in the game can be appreciated and reminds players of life during those times.  Thanksgiving may hold new meaning for those who play.

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 ( kardtects.com. ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: mysteriouswritings.com (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and kardtects.com (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email: Jennykile@outlook.com

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4 Responses

  1. Donna W says:

    My friend found an old card game called, “The White House” in which pictures of presidents up to McKinley made up the deck. . .indicating the card game was published during that president’s term.

    Are you the same publishing company? I would be interested in other historical card games that you may have, also.

  2. Don B. says:

    I have this game and it is in good condition. Do you know if it has any monetary value?

    • Jenny Kile says:

      Hi Don,

      In the book I have, American Games: Comprehensive Collector’s Guide by Alex Malloy (with the copyright of 2000), this game was listed with a value of around 85 dollars. Prices do vary on condition and the market. I also saw postcards of some of the same images found on the game cards on ebay recently. They sold for around 5 dollars each I think (Although I love old games and would never consider splitting it up that way.) Hope that helps…

  1. November 3, 2012

    […] example, The 1897 Mayflower card game displayed and described scenes of early Plymouth.  Some of which are not presently seen.  Another […]

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