Comments on Quinto: Part 2, About the game

Professor Hoffmann’s game Quinto started out like gangbusters in 1907, and even in 1909 (in a revised edition of Hoyle’s Games Modernized), two years or so after the introduction of the game, Ernest Bergholt was addressing the question of whether Quinto might replace Bridge.

That never happened.  Bridge had become the supertanker, effectively unstoppable, and the passage of time solidified Bridge’s position, and, I suppose, pretty much squeezed Quinto into near-oblivion.  Although I do not know why this was the case, I wonder whether it is possible that the existence of the new additional card required by the game, namely “Quint Royal,” may have had something to do with it. Sure, you could use a Joker, but I think most of the more popular card-games required 32 or 52 cards.  The use of 53 cards was (I believe) off the beaten path.  In the 1909 edition of Hoyle’s Games Modernized, it appears that the Joker is mentioned in connection with only two games:  Quinto and Five Hundred.   Hoffmann wrote rule booklets for both of those games.

In the case of Five Hundred, a three-player game can be played with a Piquet pack plus a Joker (33 cards in all), but depending on the number of players, more (or fewer) cards may be required.  There are quite a few different packs that have been described. For example, Hoffmann describes (among others) a two-handed version of Five Hundred that uses a 25-card pack, and a six-player version that uses a 61-card pack.

But I suppose Hoffmann liked to think in terms of using extra cards.  After all, he wrote Patience With the Joker:  A Series of Original Patience Games, 1907, and Goodall’s manufacture of both red Jokers and black Jokers facilitated the use of two different Jokers in two-deck games.

In Hoffmann’s Preface to Patience With the Joker: A Series of Original Patience Games, Hoffmann wrote, in part:

By special arrangement, certain sets of Patience cards issued by Messrs. Chas[.] Goodall and Son, Ld., will henceforth include a Joker to each of the two packs forming the set, the one printed in black, the other in red, this difference affording scope for greater variety in the play than if both were, as customary, of the same color.

Where the red Joker is not available, the player may supply its place, after a makeshift fashion, by marking one of the ordinary black jokers with the word “Red,” or in any other manner that may serve to distinguish it.

But, okay, I don’t really know why Quinto pretty much disappeared.  But it did, and probably within several years.  In an earlier post, I hypothesized that this disappearance may have taken place by around 1915.

Its disappearance has left collectors with the existence of a semi-mysterious game (though the rules are easy to find), and with the existence of several Quinto-related collector’s items that are quite scarce.

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