Image Source: http://www.wopc.co.uk/uk/index2
In Shakespeare's lifetime, cards were extremely popular pastime.
Not having ipads, tv, or netflix, people read books, played board games, or often played card games to pass the time.
While there are many card games to choose from, card games are referenced at least three times, and Noddy is referenced by name at least once in Shakespeare's plays including lines from Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, and and King John:
“Eros has packed cards with Caesar and false-played my glory.” – Antony and Cleopatra
“Have I not here the best cards for the game? To win is no easy match played for a crown.” – King John V. 2
“A sure card as ever won the set.” – Titus Andronicus V. 1
“That set together is noddy.” – Two Gentlemen of Verona I.1
When we ask the question: Did Shakespeare play cards? The answer is “most likely” and I hold off on firm YES just because, like so many things, I don't have an affidavit or firm primary documents that certify this beyond a shadow of a doubt, but I do know it was popular in his lifetime, he references the game in his works, and I would be pretty shocked if when we jumped inside the Tardis to visit Shakespeare to find it otherwise.
Noddy is really fun since it's also technically an “extinct” card game, only known to be played in modernity by a few people in Lancastershire, England. We're bringing it back with this week's episode of Did Shakespeare where I tell a little of the history of the game, and how you can play it at home.
This is a fascinating topic and there's tons to know. Here are a few places you can go to learn more. Inside these links are also variations on the card game and alternate ways to play.
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Download the Instructions for How to Play Noddy
I have created a printable on How to Play Noddy (which is a handy reference when sitting at a table), just for my email subscribers. If you would like to become an email subscriber, you can sign up using the form below and immediately download this free resource to get started. Unsubscribe at any time and keep the download as my gift to you.