Updated: Sep 22
First Published: 1939 c
Illustrator or Designer: Not credited but assistance is acknowledged (see rules).
Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet
The pack has 44 cards, 10 Battleship cards, 9 Cruiser cards, 3 each (24 Total) of Destroyer, Aircraft Carrier, Submarine, Seaplane, Minelayer, Minesweeper, Sloop & Patrol Ship cards plus 1 Master Card.
England Expects cards, Battleships: HMS King George, HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Renown and The Master Card- The White Ensign
England Expects cards, Battleships: HMS Nelson, Cruisers: HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter
England Expects cards, Cruisers: HMS Achilles, HMS Cossack, Aircraft Carrier: HMS Eagle
England Expects cards, Submarine: HMS Triumph, Seaplane: Short Sunderland and Minelayer
England Expects cards, Mine Sweeper, Sloop: HMS Deptford, Patrol Ship: HMS Kingfisher
There is no mention of the publisher on the box front and no address or other details feature in the rules. Nevertheless England Expects is generally accepted as a Pepys game. Rex Pitts, the foremost authority on card games produced by Pepys and numerous other publishers, explains why in his book Pepys, The Story of The Company and its Games 4th Ed. and in his World Of Playing Cards feature on Pepys Games:
"I ... believe that in mid-1940 they [Pepys] issued "They're Off" and "England Expects". Although I can offer no definite proof of this they both shout Pepys at me because the card quality and artwork are so similar and because the box dimensions and board are right, also they both feature the characteristic extra title card attached to the outside of the box, an unusual feature at this time."
In 2011 Lagoon reissued the game. On the packaging they acknowledge that they produced the game and used the Pepys logo under license from Neale Dataday Ltd.. Neale Dataday were a successor company to T.J. & J. Smith who produced Dataday Diaries and who owned the Pepys brand in the late 1970s. Perhaps some residual rights and records were retained before Gibsons Games acquired the existing games in the early 1980s? Dataday's Pepys diaries are still being produced, bearing a variant of the famous Pepys logo. You can buy one from Charfleet Bookbindery here.
In his feature on England Expects for World of Playing Cards Rex Pitts includes a brief history of every ship portrayed, several of them were lost in action during the war.
Game & Version Details
England Expects - Card Back
The stylised view is of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, looking south towards Whitehall.
England Expects - Rules Front
"The pack consists of 44 cards, illustrating, from actual photographs, typical units representative of our magnificent British Fleet"
England Expects - Rules Back
"We gratefully acknowledge the expert assistance given in the production of "England Expects" by Francis E. McMurtrie Editor of Jane's Fighting Ships"
The wording here is strikingly similar to the acknowledgement given on the back cover of Express 1st Ed.
England Expects - Box Back
England Expects - Box Top
England Expects - Box Side Left
England Expects - Box Base
England Expects - Box Side Right
England Expects - Box Back With Flap