Old Parker Brothers Game of Birds
The old Parker Brothers Game of Birds consists of 52 cards and numerous counters. Each of the early 1900’s cards found within the box displays a unique image of a feathered friend or foe. Making the box of cards all the more special is that there is a choice of two different games to play.
The first instructions are for the featured game of Birds. The object of this game is to acquire the most points by the taking of tricks. Cards of various types are avoided and sought after by players. This element of play adds to the fun and exciting challenge.
To play the game of Birds, players are aware of how the birds are grouped into 4 special series. Each card displays a Letter and Number with the picture of a bird central. The name of the imaged bird is in Bold beneath the picture (The other three names on the card are not important for this first game). A sample card is shown right:
The 4 groups of birds are marked by A,B,C, and D and include 13 birds in each. The following is a list of each bird in each category:
A series (represents Fighting Birds): Starting at 1, Snowy Owl, Arizona Jay, American Blue Jay, Saw-Whet Owl, Screech Owl, Red-Winged Black Bird, Bronzed Grackle, Crow, Night Hawk, Marsh Hawk, American Sparrow Hawk, Osprey, and American Bald Eagle.
B series (represents birds of bright plumage): Vermilion Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Allen’s Humming Bird, Nonpareil, Goldfinch, Blue Bird, Evening Grosbeak, American Red Bird, Blue Mountain Lory, Cockatoo, and King Parrot.
C series (represents birds who haunt the woods): Mourning Dove, Passenger Pigeon, Sora Rail, American Woodcock, Scaled Partridge, Mountain Partridge, Bartramian Sandpiper, Mallard Duck, Ruffed Grouse, Bob-White, White-Fronted Goose, Wood Duck, and Wild Turkey.
D series (represents song birds): House Wren, Wood Pewee, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Chickadee, Catbird, American Mocking Bird, Barn Swallow, Bobolink, Brown Thrush, Meadow Lark, Robin, Red-Headed Woodpecker, and English Sparrow.
Cards are dealt out evenly to players (if there is an uneven divide, the no.2 cards (D2, C2, B2) are taken out as needed (A2, last). The A series’ cards are always Trump, and will take any trick played upon. The highest trump takes a lower numbered trump, if two or more are played. Taking turns, players must play a card of suit led, or play Trump.
Two cards, A13 (Bald Eagle) and D13 (English Sparrow) are especially important to the game (shown above). Once all cards have been played, each player tallies a score based on the tricks taken. The player with the American Bald Eagle receives 25 points for capturing this majestic bird during the game. The player with the English Sparrow, however, deducts 15 points from his score for capturing the most destructive bird of the game.
The only other cards offering players points/deductions are as follows:
All no1 cards of each of the 4 suits are worth 10 points
The holders of B13 and C13 cards deducts 5 points from his score
The person taking the First Trick deducts 5 points from his score
The person taking the Last Trick adds 10 points to his score
The player with the most points of one (or more rounds) wins the game.
The second game offered in the box plays like the Game of Authors. The instructions state, “the game of Authors which was originated in Salem and first published here, can be played with these cards by using the inscriptions at the bottom.”
The inscriptions on the cards include sets of birds. All same numbers of a lettered series make a set. There are 13 sets to collect. (example A1, B1, C1 and D1 make a book/set) This is accomplished by asking for cards of a set to match one in a player’s hand. Players take turns asking other players for cards. A player may go again if he receives the card asked for. His turn passes to the next player, if unsuccessful. Once all cards books are collected, the player with the most wins the game.
A small slip of paper was inserted in the game’s box to provide instructions for the use of the counters provided, and another way to play the above game. It states the following, “The player who first makes a set is given 10 counters, the second set wins 5, the next 4, then 3, 2, and 1. After this set, the count increases one. The seventh set taken is worth 2 counters and so on up by one. The 13th set taken would be worth 8 counters.”
Playing this way (with the counters), the winner is the player with the most counters at the end, and not the player with most ‘books/sets’ as in many games of Authors.
Bringing out the Game of Birds and playing a few rounds in the various ways players can use the cards, offers a fine time. The charming birds makes playing the games an interesting experience and players can take time to learn and enjoy the different appearances of the birds.