• Peter Berthoud

England Expects

Updated: Sep 22

England Expects


First Published: 1939 c

Illustrator or Designer: Not credited but assistance is acknowledged (see rules).


Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet


England Expects Box Front With Title Card
England Expects Box Front With Title Card

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 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, Battleships: HMS Nelson, Cruisers: HMS Ajax and HMS Exeter


England Expects cards, Cruisers: HMS Achilles, HMS Cossack, Aircraft Carriers: HMS Eagle

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, Submarine: HMS Triumph, Seaplane: Short Sunderland and Minelayer


England Expects cards, Mine Sweeper, Sloop: HMS Deptford, Patrol Ship: HMS Kingfisher

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

​ England Expects ​ - Box Back With Flap