Most Alice collectors will tell you that the very first Alice card game was Thomas De La Rue Co.’s The New & Diverting Game of Alice in Wonderland, printed in 1899. Thanks to research of Rob Stone, a game designer and game store owner in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we can now set the record straight.
When Stone set out to design his own Alice game he decided, most responsibly, to examine every Alice card game ever released “since the publication of the book.” In doing so he came across The Game of Alice in Wonderland, published by Selchow & Righter in 1882.
The game consists of 52 cards divided into two sets of 16 numbered picture cards and one set of 20 cards bearing numbers alone. The Lilly Library at Indiana University has the game and the images in this post, along with several more, are posted on their website. Unfortunately, as Stone discovered, the Lilly Library does not have the rules—those he eventually discovered at Kent State University.
Stone has posted a full transcript of the rules to The Game of Alice in Wonderland, along with the story of his most interesting quest, on his blog Game Lab. Thanks for some great research, Rob!