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  • Writer's pictureJon Mullett

The Origins of Cribbage

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

The game of cribbage has spanned centuries and continues to be enjoyed by people all around the world. It's a great way to spend quality time with friends and family, but when and where did cribbage start?


The game has a long a storied history and dates back to 17th century England during the reign of King James I of England. The inventor of the game is said to be Sir John Suckling, a poet, courtier, and, of course, an avid gambler.


Cribbage quickly became popular among the upper classes in England, and it soon spread to other parts of Europe and the Americas. Today, the game is still widely played, and it is considered one of the most enduring and beloved card games of all time.


The origins of cribbage is not entirely certain, but it is thought the name comes from the Old English word "crib," which means a manger, an animal trough, or a small wooden box. Some theories on how cribbage got its name include:


* the word "crib" being a discard pile where cards "lye down"

* the small compartment in the board used to hold the cards

* the word "cribb," which means a cheat or deception, possibly referring to the use of strategy and deception in the game.

* refers to the small wooden board that is used to keep track of the points in the game. The word "bage" is thought to be a variant of the word "bawd," which means a game or a play.


Cribbage is most popular today in the UK and northern North America. In England, it's the only card game that can be played for money in public.


Large cribbage board with orca
Cribbage and the Military

Cribbage is a card game that is often played by military personnel during their free time, particularly during deployments. It's popular among sailors and soldiers, including those in the British Navy. During times of war, cribbage was often played as a way for soldiers to pass the time and relieve stress. It was also used as a form of entertainment and socialization among the troops. Cribbage boards, which are used to keep score in the game, were even issued to soldiers in some cases. The game remained popular among soldiers and sailors during World Wars I and II, and continues to be enjoyed by military personnel today.


Find Cribbage King in stock and custom made cribbage boards with large pegs.

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