Designed, copyrighted and printed by J. Ottmann Lithograph Company of New York in the late 1880s, the Game of Rex is a rare card game in which players seek to become Rex, or the king. J. Ottmann Lithograph Company was better known for its posters and postcards, many of which were associated with the circus. The company produced only four games during its existence, of which Rex is one.
This game is easy to learn yet scientific in its strategic play. Its play, researched on the Internet, is described here as the original instructions to the game are no longer contained within the game itself.
The card game has a mammoth 151 cards, ranging in number from 1 to 15, and a Rex card, (which acts as a joker that can represent any number required). Each player is dealt 12 cards that are kept face-down in front of him; the top card is revealed. This is a player’s “Rex” pile.
Now everyone gets a hand of five cards. The first player to the left of the dealer who has a card numbered 1 places it in front of him. This becomes his “Build-up” pile. He can now play a 2, if he has one, and so on. Once he cannot play any more cards in numeric order, he must place one of his cards face-up in front of him. This is his “Store” pile.
Eventually, all players will have a “Build-up” pile, a “Rex” pile, a “Store” pile and a hand of cards. A player can play from his hand, his “Store” top card or his top card on his “Rex” pile. If he can play a card from the “Rex” pile, he must do so, but other cards can be played or not as he so wishes. When the “Build-up” pile reaches number 15, it is placed aside and a new pile started with a 1 card.
The first player to use up his “Rex” pile wins.
For a game from the 1880s, Rex is in relatively good antique condition. It game box’s color graphics remain vivid and bright. The corners of the box top and the box bottom do have some shelf wear and frayed corners. The game cards have yellowed a bit with age; some of the cards have spots, stains and creases. Please see accompanying photographs for condition issues.
The Game of Rex promises many enjoyable hours of challenging family entertainment. For those who collect antique game and toys, this strategic card game makes for a wonderful addition to such a collection.