• Peter Berthoud

They're Off!

Updated: Sep 4

They're Off!


First Published: 1940, Anonymous

Illustrator or Designer: Not Credited


Contents: 44 Cards + Rules Booklet


They're Off! Box Front With Title Card
They're Off! Box Front With Title Card

There are 6 different race horses with a varying number of identical cards: Godiva 8, Tant Mieux 5, Stardust 5, Robert E. Lee 6, Finis 7, Hyland Brume 8, plus 1 each of the following 4 cards: They're Off, Objection to Winner, Objection Sustained & Objection Overruled.


They're Off! cards: Godiva 2 to 1, Tant Mieux 4 to 1, Stardust 4 to 1, Robert E. Lee 6 to 1, Finis 8 to 1, Hyland Brume10 to 1, They're Off & Objection to Winner,

They're Off! cards: Godiva 2 to 1, Tant Mieux 4 to 1, Stardust 4 to 1, Robert E. Lee 6 to 1, Finis 8 to 1, Hyland Brume10 to 1, They're Off & Objection to Winner.


Off! cards: Objection Sustained & Objection Overruled

They're Off! cards: Objection Sustained & Objection Overruled.


The featured racehorses were all active in the 1939 and/or 1940 seasons and the odds quoted in the game appear to have been based on their past form in actual races. The results below are all from contemporary newspapers.


  • Godiva - Won the one Thousand Guineas and The New Oaks (A wartime substitute for the Oaks) on Wednesday 12th June 1940.

  • Tant Mieux beat the Aga Khans's Stardust on more than one occasion in 1940.

  • Robert E. Lee -Won on his first outing 28th June 1939 The Princess Stakes, Newmarket, ridden by Gordon Richards.

  • Finis, ridden by Harry Wragg, came second in the Swaffham Plate on 18th April 1940

  • Hyland Brume finished 8th in the Free Handicap Sweepstakes when ridden by Gordon Richards on 18th April 1940.


There is no mention of the publisher on the box front and no address or other details feature in the rules. Nevertheless They're Off! 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."






Game & Version Details




They're Off! - Card Back



They're Off! - Rules Front



They're Off! - Rules Back



They're Off! - Box Back



They're Off! - Box Top



They're Off! - Box Side Left



They're Off! - Box Base



They're Off! - Box Side Right


​They're Off! - Box Back With Flap