Most game historians agree that the English poet Sir John Suckling invented the card game cribbage, also called "crib," in the early 17th century. A derivation of an earlier card game, cribbage has survived as one of the most popular card games in the English-speaking world. The object of the game is to score a certain number of points through specific card combinations exclusive to this game. Players track these points on a cribbage board by means of advancing pegs--one hole for each point scored. Craftsmen made the earliest cribbage boards of wood or any handy material. Nineteenth century scrimshaw boards demonstrate the popularity of the game among whalers. And the naval tradition continues as contemporary submariners consider cribbage an "official" pastime. With a long history, a unique method for play, and the addition of the particular board for scoring, cribbage is both similar to and different from other traditional games.

While versions of cribbage allow for 2, 3, or more people to compete, the 2-player version is most popular. Sometimes called the greatest two-handed game, it retains numerous devotees despite competition from other kinds of games. The American Cribbage Congress, a club for serious players, claimed over 6000 members as of 2012. This organization sponsors local chapters all over the United States and holds yearly tournaments. Bloggers linked to the Congress website report fond childhood memories of family bonds formed over cribbage games as well as more than one marriage kept happy by regular matches. Cribbage, like other traditional games, allows for healthy competition and for enduring and memorable play.


  • Title: Cribbage board:Horn Cribbage Board
  • Creator: McCrillis
  • Date Created: ca. 1950
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Subject Keywords: cribbage
  • Type: Card Games
  • Medium: wood, metal, paper, cardboard
  • Object ID: 113.6139
  • Credit Line: Gift of Douglas Killion in Memory of Charles and Charlotte Killion

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