Kille is the name of the game

I got older a few days ago, one of the presents managed to find its way over here; a deck of cards. Now this might not seem like much but there was some though behind this, I’ll get back to that. The game is called Killespelet which if I understand it right is derived from the game Coucou, a French game from the 16th century that quickly became popular all over central Europe. In the end of the 18th century a special deck of cards were invented for the game. During the 18th century the game the game became popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland etc as Hexenspiel (The witch game) and Vogelkarten (the bird cards). The first time the game is mentioned in Sweden is in 1741 as campio. The name changed to Kille sometime during the first half of the 19th century, the first time it is mentioned is in 1833. The game in itself can be played in several variants all used in gambling.

The deck only holds one colour with 21 denominations; these are in doublets making the deck hold a total of  42 cards.

I wrote that there was some thoughts behind this present, an it is not that I am known for gambling or a certain love for card games, but another peculiar fact; This particular deck of cards is a facsimile from a deck printed in the middle of the 19th century by my ancestor Carl Fredrik Reuterdahl who owned a printing company that in Malmö.

Carl Fredrik Reuterdahl, brother of Henrik Reuterdahl (archbishop 1856-1870), born 1797 and died 1876. He became a merchant and started several businesses such as a printing shop and a wine importing company or shop (I’m not sure which) which according to Henrik Reuterdahl went bad and costed him a lot of money as he had guaranteed several loans in his brothers name.

Magnus Reuterdahl


About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

2 responses to “Kille is the name of the game

  • Aaron Neese

    Hey I was not expecting this blog to come up but I am glad it did when I did a google search of the rules for this game. I reasently acquired a deck of these cards when I was in Sweden. Problem is I don’t know any swedish at all, and online translators are not the most reliable. I was wondering if you knew where I could find an English translation of the rules, or if you could give me one.

    Many Thanks

    • Magnus Reuterdahl

      Hi Aaron

      I’ll see what I can do, if I remeber correctly there are several ways of playing so I should be able to translate at least one of the ways for you. I’ll get back to you in a near future.


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