Re: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols

Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 11:22:37 CDT

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    Michael Everson scripsit:

    > >"Trumps" in English. I suggest that 21 trumps be encoded, but not
    > >named, because the correspondence of names to numbers is variable.
    > This would be the Major Arcana?

    Yes. AFAIK that term is relatively recent, ca. 1900; "trump" (i.e. "triumph")
    goes back to the Tarot's origin around 1450.

    > >The Fool, the 22nd or un-numbered trump, is the direct ancestor of
    > >the Joker and should be unified with it.
    > I would disagree about that.

    You seem to be right: the Joker was invented for the game of euchre, probably
    around 1850 in the U.S. However, there is no doubt that euchre came to the
    U.S. from Germany (_Juker_ 'knave', referring to the two highest non-joker
    trumps), and it's barely possible that the joker was borrowed from the Tarot
    rather than being entirely de novo. It is definitely not a direct
    survival, though.

    > Fonts, however, are not, which indicates that Tarot is not ready for
    > encoding.
    makes two fonts available for US$12.

    There is a sample version of one of them, with only a few glyphs, available
    for download at (best viewed
    at 72 points; the characters are mapped to Latin a through k).

    On dominoes: I agree that there is no plain-text distinction between domino
    orientations, and that it is appropriate to code each domino only once.
    It would even be possible to code each half-domino only once.
    If this is not done, I also agree that a single convention such as
    low-end-leftmost should be chosen so that CSS glyph rotation will produce
    consistent results.

    Dream projects long deferred            John Cowan <>
    usually bite the wax tadpole.  
            --James Lileks        

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