Manufactured in the early 1960s by the Altenburger Playing Card Factory of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) — better known as Communist East Germany from post-World War II to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall — this vintage German Animal House (or, Das Tierhäuschen) playing card game is a rare, collectible treasure from Pössneck educational materials. The card game depicts a series of traditional German folk and fairy tales about animals.
The style of the game is that of “Happy Families,” a common playing system for many European games in which players strive to collect the most sets of four cards from the same “family.” In Das Tierhäuschen, card families are noted by the large letter and smaller number found in the upper left-hand corner of each card.
Though an instruction card no longer exists with this card game, the rules of a “Happy Family” game are similar to those of regular rummy. Players are dealt four cards, and then they can pick either the top card of the draw or discard pile to see if they can make a set of four cards from the same “family.” If so, all four cards are placed face-up in front to the player, and four new cards are drawn. If not, the player must discard a card of choice.
Das Tierhäuschen is in good vintage condition. The box does show some signs of wear around the edges, and its top inner flaps are missing. The 32 playing cards of eight “families,” on the other hand, are in excellent vintage condition, free of tears, bends, and frayed edges; it seems as if these cards had never been used. The illustrations on the cards remain very bright and vivid. Please see all accompanying photographs to review condition issues of this card game.
The colorful card game Das Tierhäuschen would be an ideal educational tool for a child (or anyone, for that matter) just learning to read and speak German. The game is also a rare find for those who collect international games and toys, especially one manufactured during the communist era of German history.