Updated: Jan 24
Menuette Card Game
(The twin Red and Blue packs were released at the same time and are not separate editions)
First Published: 1947, Anonymous
Illustrator or Designer: Ern Shaw
Contents: 54 Cards + Rules Booklet
The pack has 54 cards in total, 1 reference card, 3 waiter cards and 50 menu items: 4 Rolls, 7 Soups, 5 Fish dishes, 9 Entrees, 9 Vegetables, 8 Sweets, 1 Biscuits & Cheese and 7 Drinks. The cards have various marked values.
The aim is to collect the best possible meal , i.e. the most expensive, including a drink and one of each course. Two vegetables must be collected to go with with the entree, one of which must be potatoes. Biscuits and Cheese may be substituted for a sweet. The Waiter cards can score extra points.
Menuette cards: Reference, Head Waiter, Waitress, Waiter, 4 differently shaped Rolls, Vegetable Soup.
Menuette cards: Soups: Scotch Broth, Tomato, Kidney, Mushroom, Chicken, Turtle. Fish: Cod, Whiting, Plaice.
Menuette cards: Fish: Halibut, Sole. Entrees: Sausages, Steak & Kidney Pie, Chops, Pork, Steak, Beef, Lamb.
Menuette cards: Entrees: Chicken, Pheasant. Vegetables: Spinach, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Peas, Sprouts, Potatoes Mashed, Chip Potatoes.
Menuette cards: Vegetables: Potatoes Baked, Potatoes Roast. Sweets: Milk Pudding, Fruit Tart, Jam Roll, Plum Pudding, Prunes & Custard, Fruit Salad, Peach Melba.
Menuette cards: Sweet: Strawberries and Cream. Drinks: Water, Mineral, Tea, Beer, Coffee, Wine, Champagne. Biscuits and Cheese.
Many of the menu items in the game could, and still can, be found in both humble cafes and in expensive restaurants, some have fallen out of favour and relative prices have changed a lot.
Milk Pudding has lost its popular allure, if it ever had any, Plum Pudding is now for Christmas only, we no longer use prunes in industrial quantities to "stay regular", chicken is no longer more expensive than steak and cod is not a budget option. But, the biggest difference depicted in the game is that there was once a time when a pint of beer was less expensive than a cup of coffee.
The rules give two example meals:
The Cheapest or Minimum Score
Vegetable Soup 1
Mashed Potato 2
Biscuits & Cheese 4
The Most Expensive or Maximum Score ( Without adding Waiter Cards)
Turtle Soup 8
Lemon Sole 10
Baked Potatoes 5
Peach Melba 6
The least expensive meal's cost could actually be further reduced by having Milk Pudding instead of Biscuits & Cheese which is the only menu item card in the pack without a letter signifying its course.
The most expensive meal's cost could also be increased a little by having Roast Potatoes instead of Baked. The illustrations of roast and baked potatoes have been swapped by mistake.
Pepys' attributions to designers and illustrators are often vague and often not given at all. In this case "By" could very plausibly mean that Ern Shaw not only came up with the idea for the game but also drew the illustrations. He was a versatile artist with a great sense of humour and a varied career. A feature on him and his work with Pepys will follow shortly.
Some rule books I have seen credit Ern Shaw others give no credit at all. Rule books that do credit him have "British Manufacture" on the back (as on the box bases of all packs). Rules that don't mention Ern Shaw have "Made in England" on the back. So I suspect the earlier rules are the ones that don't credit him and when they were updated they were also corrected to match the boxes but I have no proof. Examples of both below.
Perhaps the mistakes in the rules, the mix up between the roast and baked potato images, the missing red "S" on the Biscuits & Cheese card, the crediting (or not) of Ern Shaw and the confusion over describing where the game was made, suggest that the game was put together hastily.
The game was published anonymously, there is no mention of Pepys or Castell Brothers and no address given. I have not heard anyone ever question that it is a Pepys game. There is a Registered Trade Mark Number 629634 given but I have not been able to trace the original registrant. There is the connection with Ern Shaw who designed three games for Pepys in 1947 and the cards, box and rules all point very firmly to Pepys.
Menuette remains one of my favourite Pepys games.
Game & Version Details
Menuette - Card Back Red
Menuette - Card Back Blue
Menuette - Rules Front (No Credit)
Menuette - Rules Front (Credits Ern Shaw)
Menuette - Rules Back (British Manufacture)
Menuette - Blue Box Back
Menuette - Blue Box Top
Menuette - Blue Box Side Left
Menuette - Blue Box Base
Menuette - Blue Box Side Right
Menuette - Blue Box Back With Flap