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For many centuries, Cribbage was the only card game that could legally be played for money in English pubs. The Cribbage scoreboard which is often used to score other traditional games such as Table Skittles or dominoes appears to have been in existence long before the invention of Cribbage itself and bears a remarkable similarity to certain game boards used in Ancient Egypt...

Masters Traditional Games puts some effort into obtaining Cribbage boards that are excellent quality or just a bit special or unusual. We know it's easy to buy cheap and nasty Crib boards all over the place - so our range aims to be a bit different.


The History of Cribbage

The invention of Cribbage, Crib for short, was attributed to the poet Sir John Suckling (1609 - 1642) by his biographer, John Aubrey. Suckling was something of a scoundrel by all accounts. He was an expert at cards, dice and bowls as well as being a womaniser and notorious wit on top of his poetry day-job! His most notorious feat was began when he distributed large numbers of packs of marked cards to the aristocratic populace around England. He then followed up this preparation by going around the country playing the local gentry at Cribbage for money, managing to earn himself around £20,000 (about £4 million in today's money).

There's no hard evidence to show that Suckling was the inventor of Cribbage and it seems to be suspiciously similar to an earlier game played in Tudor times called Noddy, the rules for which aren't entirely clear.

A standard Cribbage board is a lesson in functional simplicity. Each player moves a pair of pegs up the outside and down the inside of their side of the board. The front peg shows the current score while the rear peg shows the previous score - a device that efficiently prevents mistakes and allows opponents to curtail any surreptious cheating. The holes are clearly divided into sets of five, a fact that allows large scores to be tallied immediately without counting and means that a quick glance is all that is needed to determine who is winning and by how much. A complete trip up and down the cribbage board is 60 holes but each end has a finishing hole into which the winning peg is placed. Thus, games scored using a Cribbage board are usually first to 61, 121 or 181.

You can learn more about the History of Cribbage from The Online Guide to Traditional Games.

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