The Cleveland Card Game Players
The North Coast's Most Unique Social Group!


You have reached the official website of what may well be the most unique card-playing social club in existence! Since its founding on March 14, 2008, members of this club, the Cleveland Card Game Players (CCGP), have been meeting in small groups at local coffee houses and restaurants to spend an evening, or a weekend afternoon, playing cards. In fact, this currently happens an average of four or five times per week (with different members attending, of course). What is the game that they are playing? Is it the seemingly omnipresent game of Texas Hold'em, or perhaps the great American game of Bridge? The answer may surprise you!

While they have been known to play some of the games that are common in North America, they are usually playing one of over forty different games that they have learned since the group was founded, and very few of these are well known in the United States! The group's focus is mainly directed toward the classic traditional games of continental Europe. Why Europe? Because, historically speaking, Europe is where the playing card deck and the games played with it experienced their greatest period of evolution. From the time that they first entered Europe, probably through late fourteenth century Spain or Italy, or both simultaneously (the records are not conclusive), playing cards experienced great changes as they made their way across the continent, as did the games themselves. To this day, regional differences persist in each of the countries where card-playing traditions became the strongest.

For example, the "standard" playing card suits of Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds that we are so accustomed to are actually of French origin. They crossed the English channel soon after their invention and became the predominate suit system in England, which, when taken one step further, explains why we use this system in the US. However, this suit system is actually the newest of several used in Europe. Because its suit symbols are solid red and black, it is the easiest and cheapest to print, which further explains why it has become so commonly used around the world. However, the older, more colorful suit systems are still commonly used in their respective countries of origin.

Another interesting difference is that, generally, only French-suited card decks regularly feature Queens among their court cards. With few exceptions, card decks featuring the older suit systems portray only male figures on the court cards (a King and two officers of different ranking).
 The following table will give you a general idea of the layout of each system:

Suits Suit Titles
(English translation) 
Court Card Titles
(English translation)
 
Latin suits of Batons, Swords, Cups, and Coins
(Spanish style)
King 
  Horse 
Jack Information on games played
with Latin-suited cards
can be found here

Latin suits of Batons, Swords, Cups, and Coins
(Italian style)
King Queen
(exists in some Italian decks as a fourth court card)
Horse Jack
German suits of Acorns, Leaves, Hearts, and Bells
(Bavarian style)

King   Over Under Information on games played
with
 German-suited cards
can be found here
German suits of Acorns, Leaves, Hearts, and Bells
(Austrian style)

King
Over Under
Swiss suits of Acorns, Flowers, Shields, and Bells
King  
Over Under Information on games played
with
 Swiss-suited cards
can be found here

French suits of Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds  King Queen 
Knight
(exists in some French decks as a fourth court card)
Jack 
Information on games played
with
 French-suited cards
can be found here

The members of the CCGP play many different games using all of the above-listed suit systems, and they feel strongly that if you are going to learn to play Italian card games, then it is only appropriate do so with Italian cards, German games with German cards, and so on. It is the combination of the games they play and the cards they play them with that makes this group so unique!

The organizer of the CCGP, as well as the other members, would be very happy to teach you these games as well. If you are adventurous and would like to learn some really great card games, why not join them? You will not only be learning some new card games, but will also be indulging yourself in a very important aspect of European culture.
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More About the CCGP, and How to Join...

The CCGP is organized by local business owner and card game enthusiast, Gary Brunger, and serves as an educational and social extension of his web-based store, TaroBear's Lair, which is North America's premier distributor of European regional playing cards and accessories. TaroBear's Lair currently subscribes to the services of the social networking site, Meetup.com, for all of the CCGP's membership management, scheduling, RSVP handling, and other tasks. It has proven to be a very dependable medium.

The CCGP event schedule basically follows a repeating two-week pattern. Take a brief look at their calendar and you should be able to see it.

Membership itself is FREE. However, to help compensate for the time, energy, and physical expenses (website fees, Meetup.com fees, imported card decks, printing costs, promotional materials, etc.) that are invested in running this group, there is a nominal admission fee of $1.00 in cash (per person) which is due at most events. That is really a bargain when you consider that the average event lasts for about 4 hours!


To join the CCGP, follow the link below to visit their site on Meetup.com, where you will be able to join for FREE. 
That's all there is to it! After you have joined, you can start signing up to attend some events. When you arrive at an event, the other members present will be happy to take the time to tutor you and bring you up to speed. The CCGP is generally a laid-back crowd, and most are not ultra-competitive. They simply love to have fun playing cards! You will, with little doubt, make some new friends there.

The Cleveland Card Game Players is an educational and social organization of which membership is made available to the Cleveland area public by TaroBear's Lair, North America's premier distributor of European regional playing cards and accessories.
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