II have done some research on nineteenth century children’s games before, but this time I was looking for card games in particular when I came across a mention of Happy Families, which is played something like Authors. From Board Game Geek:
This game was designed in England and was originally published for the Great Exhibition by John Jaques & Sons. The outside of the box described the name as Happy Families while the inside of the box describes the name as Merry Families. Each quartet consists of four family members — a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter. The fathers are Mr. Daub the Painter, Mr. Dough the Baker, Mr. Pill the Doctor, Mr. Sand the Grocer, Mr. Saw the Carpenter, Mr. Snip the Barber, Mr. Stain the Dyer, Mr. Smut the Sweep, Mr. Thread the Tailor, and Mr. Tub the Brewer.
What I like about this is the art work:
Compare this game to more current editions of Old Maid:
So maybe I’m being overly picky here, but why are the modern illustrations for children’s card games garish and shoddily done? There are so many wonderful illustrators out there, is it just a matter of the manufacturer going with the cheapest options?
I went to look up Authors just to see if that game has had better treatment, and the answer is, as far as I can tell, no. There are multiple editions of the card game Authors. When I was a kid the deck was all dead white men, but there are now games called American Authors, Women Authors, Children’s Authors. Unfortunately it seems none of them are especially carefully or artistically done, as you can see by this example.
But there are great illustrators who do author portraits. Ryan Sheffield sells his work on Etsy, including his version of Emily Dickinson, below.
Somebody like Ryan Sheffield should put together a modern version of Authors using original artwork. It would be a good idea to have some info about the author along with the titles of their work, of course.
Would you be interested in a game of Authors like this? I’m really curious.
Note: I don’t know Mr. Sheffield and he doesn’t know me. I just found his work on Etsy and my imagination took off.