Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wizard Junior Graphics

The back of the card and the Jester and the Wizard card graphics are shown .

There are 2 Wizards and 2 Jesters in the Wizard Junior deck.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Wizard Junior
The 4 color-coded suits are shown .
The cards are numbered from 1-8 making 32 suited cards plus 2 Wizard and 2 Jesters for a total of 36 cards in the deck.

Wizard Junior is a simplified version of the regular Wizard Card Game.

History of Wizard Junior:

Why did Wizard Junior become a reality so late in the day? I never saw any need for a Junior version of Wizard because I always believed the game was simple enough in concept to be learned and played by players aged 7 and up. My experience with youngsters tells me that 7 year-olds can learn and play chess so they can certainly play Wizard. What then was the motivation for the introduction of the Junior version? The most frustrating part of our effort to market Wizard has been our failure to interest the Major USA chains...Wal-Mart, Target, Toys 'R Us, etc. There are many reasons for this which I will not attempt to explain here. The creation of Wizard Junior rests with one particular incident. One of the big US chains buyers said that "Wizard" was not a family game. It was too sophisticated for younger family members and suggested we needed something with bright colors, simple graphics with more family appeal. I never did agree with this analysis but if a simpler, friendlier, less expensive version of Wizard would get us into a major chain then I was prepared to give it to them. Hence Wizard Junior was created. "US Games System" and I did not agree on the graphics that were required to market the Junior Game. "US Games Systems" had the final say on this issue because they pay for the production run and market the game. If you have a copy of the Junior version you can compare the graphics with those used on the Wizard site and reach your own conclusion. Unfortunately the chain still did not take on the Junior version and sales have been slow. However, actual play of the Junior game by new, young players was very positive. I had always felt that we needed to offer young players of UNO a more sophisticated game as they matured and Wizard Junior introduces concepts such as TRICK and TRUMP in a simple yet enjoyable format. Consequently it was in an attempt to raise the public profile of the Junior version that it was programmed for online play. However for the online version I chose to use the graphics that I had preferred for the original retail version as the default cards. The Junior version is what it is. I see it as a valuable tool to introduce young players to new card-playing concepts that they have not experienced in card games such as FISH and UNO. I would expect that the time lag between learning Wizard Junior and graduating to the Regular version would be a short one.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

German World Wizard Tournament

Wizard World Championship
The World Wizard Tournament for 2010 will be held in Germany on October 2, 2010.
The event will be held at the Burg Frankenstein, near Darmstadt.
* Information on how to enter the tournaments which could win you a free trip to participate in the finals is available at: or by e-mailing

Friday, January 22, 2010

2 of Spades

Bampfylde Moore Carew

Bampfylde Moore Carew was an English rogue, vagabond and imposter, who claimed to be "King of the Beggars". Carew claimed to be a master of disguise. He masqueraded as a shipwrecked sailor (a popular way to claim alms), a clergyman, a rat-catcher and then as a woman whose daughter had been killed in a fire, (another staple of fraudulent beggars). He escaped being pressed to serve in the Navy by pricking his hands and face, and rubbing in bay salt and gunpowder, so as to simulate smallpox.

2 of Hearts


Diogenes. a beggar who made his home in the streets of Athens, made a virtue of extreme poverty. He is said to have lived in a large tub, rather than a house, and to have walked through the streets carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He eventually settled in Corinth where he continued to pursue the Cynic ideal of self-sufficiency: a life which was natural and not dependent upon the luxuries of civilization. Believing that virtue was better revealed in action and not theory, his life was a relentless campaign to debunk the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt society.

2 of Diamonds


In the Gospel of Luke 16:19–31, Jesus tells of one Lazarus, a beggar who lay outside the gate of a rich man, who dressed in fine clothing and dined sumptuously every day, but gave nothing to Lazarus. Both men died, and the beggar received his reward in the Hereafter, in Abraham's bosom at the everlasting banquet, while the rich man craved a drop of water from Lazarus' finger to cool his tongue, as he was tormented with fire.

The Hermit (Beggar)

2 of Clubs
Nell Trent

Little Nell is the main character in “The Old Curiosity Shop”. She lives with her ailing grandfather in a run down London antiques shop, unaware that her grandfather has a ruinous gambling addiction that has left them nearly penniless. Her grandfather suffers a breakdown that leaves him bereft of his wits, and Nell takes him away to the Midlands of England, to live as beggars.She gradually becomes weaker throughout the journey, and although she finds a home with the help of the schoolmaster, she does not recover and dies before her friends in London find her.

3 of Spades

Joss Fritz

In the early 1500’s, there emerged a new peasant leader named Joss Fritz. He led three separate German rebellions, each of which were quite large and threatening. One of the reasons he was able to gain such a large following was because he appropriated the bundschuh symbolism of the previous generation. The peasant shoe (Bundschuh = tied shoe) the peasants displayed on their flag symbolized the rising and advance of the peasants.

3 of Hearts


Rasputin (Grigori Efimovich), a Russian peasant, claimed to hold mystical powers capable of curing every illness. Nicholas and Alexandra allowed Rasputin entry into the imperial apartments. As she sought to keep her ailing son alive, Alexandra fell under the spell of the pernicious monk. Mystical or not, Rasputin's presence transported the young Tsarevich Alexis into a stupor which stopped his profuse bleedings.

3 of Diamonds

Sakura Sogoro

Sakura Sogoro was a famous Japanese peasant martyr of the mid-seventeenth century who became the archetype of self-sacrifice on behalf of the community. During the Tokugawa period his story was told in nursery rhymes, songs, stories, and plays. Sogoroy emerged as the patron saint of protest.

The Peasant

3 of Clubs

Wat Tyler

Wat Tyler was the leader of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, the first great popular rebellion in English history; his leadership proved one of the chief factors in the success of protest against the harsh taxation of the poorer classes. Tyler led the rebels in the capture of Canterbury; the Savoy palace, London Bridge and the Tower of London. Although King Richard II promised concessions Tyler's men refused to disarm and disband. They met with Richard at Smithfield, where Tyler presented more radical demands, which included the confiscation of all church lands. Fighting broke out in the course of the negotiations, and Tyler was badly wounded. His followers carried him to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, from which he was later dragged away and beheaded. After Tyler's death the government quickly reasserted its authority and ended the rebellion.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

4 of Spades

James Small

James Small, in the Scottish ‘Borders’, scientifically developed the plow. He focused on the wooden moldboard profile that he later produced in cast iron. The principles of plow making that Small incorporated into his ‘Swing’ or ‘Chain Plough’ by 1765 were key to the ‘Agricultural Revolution’ and by the 1780s were widely adopted in Europe and North America.

4 of Hearts

Thomas Tusser

Thomas Tusser was an English poet and farmer, best known for his instructional poem “Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry”, and for the oft-repeated proverb, "A fool and his money are soon parted." Tusser includes a homely mix of instructions and observations about farming and country customs which offer a fascinating insight into life in England at the time.

4 of Diamonds

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.

The Farmer

4 of Clubs
Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull was one of the first scientific farmers. He realized that the usual way of sowing seeds by scattering them on the ground was wasteful. Many seeds did not take root. The seed drill, which he invented in 1701, allowed the farmers to sow seeds in well-spaced rows at specific depths. When his invention was used, a larger share of the seed germinated. As a result, crop yields increased even more.

Domitian was a Roman emperor who was particularly devoted to archery. There are many who have more than once seen him slay a hundred wild beasts of different kinds on his Alban estate, and purposely kill some of them with two successive shots in such a way that the arrows gave the effect of horns. Sometimes he would have a slave stand at a distance and hold out the palm of his right hand for a mark, with the fingers spread; then he directed his arrows with such accuracy that they passed harmlessly between the fingers.

5 of Hearts


Tametomo was a famous samurai warrior known as a powerful archer and it is said that he once sunk an entire Taira ship with a single arrow by puncturing its hull below the waterline. It is also added in many legends that his left arm was about 6 in. longer than his right, enabling a longer draw of the arrow, and more powerful shots.

5 of Diamonds

William Tell

William Tell was known as an expert marksman with the crossbow. Hermann Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian mayor of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the local townsfolk bow before the hat. When Tell passed by the hat without bowing to it, he was arrested. He received the punishment of being forced to shoot an apple off the head of his son, Walter, or else both would be executed. Tell had been promised freedom if he successfully shot the apple. On 18 November 1307, Tell split the fruit with a single bolt from his crossbow.

The Archer

5 of Clubs

Robin Hood

Robin Hood is a hero in English folklore, a highly skilled archer, marksman, swordsman, and outlaw. In particular, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor," assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Robin and many of his men wore Lincoln green clothes.

6 of Spades


Celebrimbor is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. His name means "silver fist" or "Hand of silver". In Tolkien's stories, Celebrimbor plays an important role as the maker of the Rings of Power. Under the guidance of the Dark Lord Sauron, Celebrimbor led the smiths of Eregion in making 19 Great rings for the Elves, though seven would later be given to the Dwarves and nine to Men. But secretly, without Sauron's knowledge, Celebrimbor created the 3 Rings of the Elves, the greatest and fairest of the Rings of Power. These rings were thus free of Sauron's corrupting influence. Celebrimbor named the rings Vilya, Narya, and Nenya after the principal Middle-earth elements of air, fire, and water, respectively.

6 of Hearts


Masamune is widely recognized as Japan's greatest swordsmith. As no exact dates are known for Masamune's life, he has reached an almost legendary status. It is generally agreed that he made most of his swords in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, 1288–1328. He created swords, known as tachi in Japanese and daggers called tantō, in the Soshu tradition

6 of Diamonds

William "Will" Turner, Jr.

Will Turner is a blacksmith character in, “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Will is a blacksmith's apprentice working in Port Royal. He is in love with the governor's daughter, Elizabeth Swann although he is a member of a lower social class. Will is an exceptional swordsman, although he lacks actual combat experience compared to other duelists. Although mild mannered, Will is brave, as seen when he confronts Captain Jack Sparrow in a sword fight.

The Blacksmith:

6 of Clubs

Wieland, the famous smith of Scandinavian fable, is known as,“the divine blacksmith”. He and Amilias had a contest of skill in their handicraft. Wieland's sword cleft his rival down to the thighs; but so sharp was the sword, that Amilias was not aware of the cut till he attempted to stir, when he divided into two pieces. This sword was named Balmung. Wieland made 2 famous swords: “Flamberge”, for Maugis; and “Balmung”, for Siegfried.

7 of Spades

William Caxton

William Caxton was an English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. As far as is known, he was the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England. He was also the first English retailer of printed books (his London contemporaries were all Dutch, German or French).

7 of Hearts

Niccolo de' Conti

Niccolò de' Conti was a Venetian merchant and explorer,who traveled to India and Southeast Asia, and possibly to Southern China, during the early 15th century. After the return of the Polos, there is no record of Italian traders returning from China until the return of Niccolò de' Conti by sea in 1439. Niccolò departed from Venice about 1419 and established himself in Damascus, Syria, where he studied Arabic. Over a period of 25 years, he traveled as a Muslim merchant to numerous places in Asia. His familiarity with the languages and cultures of the Islamic world allowed him to travel to many places, on board ships owned by Islamic merchants.

7 of Diamonds

Antonio: The Merchant of Venice

Antonio is the title character in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. When Bassanio asks him for money to impress Portia, Antonio wants to give it to him but cannot because all of his money is tied up in goods that are being transported by ship to ports where they will be sold. Out of kindness to Bassanio, he agrees to secure any loan Bassanio might get in the marketplace. Bassanio requests that loan from Shylock, a moneylender with whom Antonio is not on the best of terms.

The Merchant:

Marco Polo : 7 of Clubs

Marco Polo was a merchant from the Venetian Republic who wrote “Il Milione”, which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolo and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had 3 children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The 8 of Spades

John Milton

His masterpiece, “Paradise Lost” is considered by some to be the greatest English-language epic poem. He also wrote English and Italian sonnets and political pamphlets. On becoming totally blind he worked through secretaries.

8 of Hearts

William Wordsworth

A leader of the English Romantic movement, known for his worship of nature and humanitarianism. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be “The Prelude”, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which the poet revised and expanded a number of times. Wordsworth was England's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.
8 of Diamonds

Robert Burns

Scottish poet best known for his descriptive, humorous, playful poems in conversational rhythms about rural Scotland, including, “Auld Lang Syne, “Comin’ Thru the Rye” and, “Flow Gently Sweet Afton”.


The Eight of Clubs

The Bard
Considered the greatest writer in the English language. Wrote comedies, histories, tragedies as well as 154 sonnets and 2 heroic narratives. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".

9 of Spades


Jean Jacques Rousseau in his political thought went beyond economic liberalism to recognize the role of the general will of the people. His philosophy of education with its freely accepted “contract” between teacher and pupils inspired modern educational theory. He is known as the father of romantic sensibility in his longing for closeness with nature.

9 of Hearts


Buddha was an Indian philosopher who renounced his wealthy heritage to lead an ascetic life. He taught for 45 years and founded monastic orders. His teachings offered a prescription to cure suffering. He considered everything to be impermanent and preached rigorous disciplines for overcoming dependency. His Buddhist movement played a central role in the entire Eastern world.

9 of Diamonds


Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, during the Han Dynasty. Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as, “Confucianism”.

9: The Scholar

Nine of Clubs

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle's writings constitute a first at creating a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics.

The 10 of Spades

Saint Patrick

When he was about 14 he was captured from Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the Church, he returned to Ireland as an ordained bishop. He is known for his successful conversion of Ireland to Christianity. By the eighth century he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

The 10 of Hearts

St. Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian religious leader. After his conversion to holy life he attempted to live literally by the Gospel, renouncing material goods and family ties. Wandering as a preacher he gathered a large following, leading to the establishment of the Franciscan order of priests. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and and it is customary for Catholic churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October.

The 10 of Diamonds

St. Augustine

Saint Augustine, (354-430), Bishop of Hippo and "Doctor of the Church". Accepted by most scholars to be the most important figure in the ancient Western church. St. Augustine was born in Numidia in North Africa.He exerted a tremendous influence in the Christian world; stood forth as a champion of orthodoxy and fused the religion of the New Testament with the Platonic tradition of Greek philosophy.


The 10 of Clubs
Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to his death. He is venerated as a saint and martyr by both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. He engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church. and was assassinated by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.

Wizard Medieval Deck: Back of Card

Medieval Wizard Deck: Card Face
The double-headed Wizard Logo is used as the centerpiece for the Medieval Deck.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jack of Spades


Britomart, the daughter of King Ryence of Britain was the female knight of chastity. She fell in love with Artegall whose image she had seen in a magic mirror. Her quest for him involved many adventures which ended in their union. After Britomart slew Radigund and freed Artegall and the other knights, she brought order to the kingdom by restoring power to men's hands. Nevertheless Britomart remained her father's heir and was “destined to rule in her home country”. She remained a powerful woman.

Jack of Hearts


Orlando was the most celebrated of Charlemagne’s knights. Medoro, an African Prince, was wounded in battle. His wounds were healed by Angelica, Queen of Cathay, and the two fell in love. Angelica, however, was being courted by the knight Orlando. Orlando, on the loss of Angelica, laid aside his crest and arms, and arrayed himself in a suit of black armor, expressive of his despair. In this guise he carried such slaughter among the ranks of the infidels, that both armies were astonished at the achievements of the stranger knight.

Jack of Diamonds


Lohengrin was Parzival’s son. He had to keep his identity and history a secret. His wife, the Princess of Brabant, insisted on questioning him and broke the spell and Lohengrin was borne away by a great swan. In Richard Wagner's opera, it is explained that the Grail gives its guardians magical powers that depend upon them maintaining their anonymity.


Jack of Clubs

Sir Lancelot was the most famous of the Arthurian knights. He was an excellent swordsman and both fearless and invincible on the battlefield. He was a very charming and courteous knight, always aiding those in need. Lancelot was King Arthur's Champion and his most trusted knight. He served his King with undying loyalty and went on many quests but betrayed Arthur by having a secret affair with Queen Guinevere.

Queen of Spades

Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, was known for her wisdom, bravery and skill in weapons. She and her army of warrior women fought many battles not just to protect their own cities, but as allies in defence of others and it was answering the loyal call of one such alliance that cost Queen Penthesilea her life. She fought for Troy and was slain by Achilles who speared Penthisilea and dragged her from her saddle by the hair.

Queen of Hearts

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Queen of France and England. Her marriage to Louis VII of France was annulled in 1152, and shortly afterward she married Henry II of England. Her ten children included the monarchs Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) and John, whose accession she strove to secure. Eleanor's court at Poitiers was the scene of much artistic activity and was noted for its cultivation of courtly manners and the concept of courtly love. The patroness of many literary figures, she was an able and strong-minded woman.



Makeda, Queen of Sheba, was known to be beautiful, intelligent, understanding, resourceful, and adventurous. A gracious queen, she had a melodious voice and was an eloquent speaker. Excelling in public relations and international diplomacy, she was also a competent ruler. The historian Josephus said of her, “she was inquisitive into philosophy and on that and on other accounts also was to be admired.”


Queen of Clubs

Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur. Unfortunately for him, she also loved Sir Lancelot, the king's best friend and most loyal knight. Accused of adultery, she would have been killed if Lancelot had not fought to prove her innocence. When Arthur discovered their love he banished Lancelot from the Table Round and Guinevere was sent to a convent.

King of Spades


Charlemagne ruled over most of western Europe and was noted as a lawgiver, administrator, protector of the Church and promoter of education. We are told he was 8 feet tall and of enormous strength and could bend 3 horseshoes at once in his hands. He was buried at Aix-la-Chapelle but according to legend he waits, crowned and armed for the day when the Antichrist shall appear; he will then go forth to battle and rescue Christendom.