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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud


Updated: Mar 3, 2023

Armand & Michaela Dennis's "Safari" Card Game, Pepys Series

First Published: 1956, Pepys Series by Castell Brothers Ltd., St. Cross Street, London

Illustrator or Designer: RaceyHelps

Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet

Safari Box Front With Title Card
Safari Box Front With Title Card

Front Cover: Leopard In My Lap by Michaela Denis, Odhams Press, 1955
Front Cover: Leopard In My Lap by Michaela Denis, Odhams Press, 1955

In 1955 Pepys published Jungle Thrills, beautifully illustrated by Racey Helps. The object of that game was to "bag" animals i.e. to kill game animals, the more the better, the game's Hunter cards were desirable.

Pepys had badly misjudged changing public opinion towards hunting. Big Game hunting no longer had the allure it had once enjoyed. The game wasn't a success and it was replaced the following year by Safari a wildlife friendly version that used exactly the same cards.

A new box and a simple rewrite of the rules, making the Hunters into penalty cards, were all that was required.

The box illustration of Jungle Thrills was replaced by the front cover illustration of Michaela Denis' autobiographical book with photos by Armand Denis. An advert for this book was also included in the rules to the game.

Michaela Denis and her filmmaker husband Armand were popular TV celebrities who specialised in wildlife documentaries. Their programmes were a regular feature of BBC and ITV schedules throughout the 1950s and were repeated for years after, you can see clips here. The couple were famous for never having killed an animal. Their endorsement of the newly repackaged game was ideal.

For some reason all references to Racey Helps were dropped from the box and the rules of Safari. Racey Helps had enjoyed prominent billing for his magnificent illustrations in Jungle Thrills, of course these look just as good in either version but in Safari the recognition of his work has been erased.

For details of all the games Racey Helps illustrated for Pepys click this link.

The pack featured here was part of Rex Pitts' personal collection.

Game & Version Details

Safari - Rules Front

Safari - Rules Back

An advert for:

Leopard In My Lap

by Michaela Denis

Odhams Press

( The book referred to above)

Safari - Box Back

Safari - Box Top

Safari - Box Side Left

Safari - Box Base

Safari - Box Side Right

​Safari - Box Back With Flap


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