Hands-on Activity for Around the World in 80 Days

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Hands-on Activity for Around the World in 80 Days

As Jules Verne’s story Around the World in Eighty Days opens we are introduced to the main character – Phileas Fogg:

“Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens. He was one of the most noticeable members of the Reform Club, though he seemed always to avoid attracting attention; an enigmatical personage, about whom little was known, except that he was a polished man of the world.”

Before Phileas Fogg embarks on his journey around the world he is known to spend much of his time at the Reform Club.

“His sole pastimes were reading the papers and playing whist. He often won at this game, which, as a silent one, harmonised with his nature; but his winnings never went into his purse, being reserved as a fund for his charities. Mr. Fogg played, not to win, but for the sake of playing. The game was in his eyes a contest, a struggle with a difficulty, yet a motionless, unwearying struggle, congenial to his tastes.”

Learn How to Play Whist at LibraryAdventure.com

So what is this intriguing game of Whist“?

Whist is a trick-taking card game developed in England. The game was first known as trump (1529), then ruff; ruff and honours; whisk and swabbers; whisk; and finally whist in the 18th century. Whist was a popular card game in Europe and the Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries.

When our Book Club read Around the World in 80 Days we brought a deck of cards to our meeting and tried our hand at this classic card game.

Whist is a very simple game to learn and play. The kids figured out the basic rules very quickly and were soon beginning to strategies with their partners to earn more tricks than the other pair.

Learn How to Play Whist at LibraryAdventure.com

Supplies Needed:

  • Deck of cards (Jokers removed)
  • 4 players
  • Paper & pencil to track points earned

Directions for Playing Whist:

  1. Gather four players.
    • Divide players into 2 teams of 2 players each.
    • Team members sit on opposite sides of the table/across from one another.
  2. Choose someone to deal the cards.
    • The Dealer, or the player to the Dealer’s left, should shuffle the cards.
    • Play will start to the dealer’s left and move around the table in a clockwise direction.
  3. Deal out the deck.
    • Beginning with the player to the Dealer’s left, the Dealer places one card face down in front of each player, moving around the circle in a clockwise direction.
    • Deal out the entire deck of cards until all players have a total of 13 cards.
    • Place the final card (the dealer’s last card for his hand) face up in the middle of the table. This card indicates the trump for this hand of Whist. This card remains on the table until it is time for the dealer to play on the first trick.  Then he/she can pick-up the card or plays it.
    • All players can then pick up their cards.
  4. The player to the Dealer’s left begins play by placing a card, face up, in the middle of the table (all cards will be played face up through the end of the round). Each time around is called a trick.
    • Moving clockwise around the table, each player places a card of the same suit on the table.
    • If a player does not have a card from that suit, they can play any card including a card from the trump suit.
  5. A player wins the trick by playing the highest card in the suit or by playing the highest card in the trump suit.  Aces have the highest rank, followed by kings, queens, jacks and so on down to twos.
    • After each trick is played the cards are turned face down and kept in a stack of 4 cards near the player who won the trick.
  6. The winning player of the trick leads the next trick by placing a card in the center of the table.
  7. Play continues until all 13 tricks have been taken and no cards remain.
  8. Determine the winner of the round.
    • Teams count the total number of tricks won (add together the number of tricks won by each team member).  The team with the highest number of tricks wins the round.
    • The team that won the most tricks earns a single point for each trick OVER 6 tricks.  Example – if the team won 8 tricks they earn 2 points, 7 tricks earns 1 point.
    • The losing team does not receive any points for the round.
  9. The winner is… the game of Whist is won by the first team to reach 5 points.

The game was fast moving and a lot of fun. The children enjoyed playing as teams — they played several games, alternating team members for each game.

Before you begin reading about Mr. Fogg’s journey around the world, don’t forget to enjoy a cup of tea and a game of Whist with friends!

World Study Guide - Around the World in 80 DaysFor even fun with Mr. Fogg be sure to check out our World Study Guide for Around the World in 80 Days. This guide includes an author study, discussion questions, recipes, writing activities, and more!


About Susan Williams

As a veteran educator I am always looking for new ways to bring learning to life for my family. I enjoy traveling, sharing ideas with other moms, and helping my children explore the world around them. Our favorite subjects to study together are history, literature and geography. I blog about our educational adventures at Education Possible and I share literature related resources at World for Learning


  1. […] You can find more information about Whist, including instructions for play, but visiting my post Hands-on Activity to Around the World in 80 Days at the Library Adventure. […]

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