Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nomination Whist

Was rereading David Parlett's History of Card Games today.

I've come across critics who say morosely that, while people often SAY a book was laugh-out-loud funny, very few people literally laugh out loud reading a book, and they themselves never do.  Possibly because they have never read Parlett's History of Card Games?  I sat at a café reading Parlett's account of the history of whist and kept shouting with laughter - the people at the next table kept looking around and laughing sympathetically.  OUP has apparently allowed the book to go out of print (what were you THINKING, OUP, what were you THINKING?) but no doubt secondhand copies are floating around online.

Nomination Whist, anyway, was not one of the funny bits, just a game that sounded terribly attractive:

In Nomination Whist -- much played in the Royal Navy, according to my correspondent Rodney Jones -- whoever bids the highest number of tricks announces trumps and names a card, the holder of which becomes his partner in the contract but may not reveal himself except by means of play. The bidder may alternatively play a secret solo by naming a card held in his own hand.

[italics mine. It's enough to make one want to join the Royal Navy.]

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