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Stops Family Game History

Game Type
Stops Family
Kids, Adults
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Stops Family of games is not a large one, but all of the games have one thing in common: Participants play their cards in a certain order, and the action is often interrupted – “stopped”- by the absence of a suitable card. These games lend themselves to gambling, usually for small stakes. However strictly speaking they are not considered casino games.

Eleusis gained recognition in 1959 when it was featured in Scientific American magazine and has been an object of study by scientists. Why? Because, as with scientific inquiry, the game involves inductive rather than deductive reasoning. In most card games, the players start with certain known rules and deduce which card would be the best to play during each turn. But in Eleusis, the players must figure out a secret rule as the goal of the game, based upon what they observe happening when they play a card, similar to the way scientists try to figure out how nature works by observing the results of an experiment.

In scientific papers such as "Simulating Scientific Inquiry with the Card Game Eleusis" (1979, H. Charles Romesburg, Utah State University), an effort was made to study the thought processes involved in playing the game. Investigators hoped to discover hidden patterns that might lead to breakthrough solutions: for example, how to avoid drawing hasty conclusions, among others. As yet, there is no evidence that good Eleusis players become good scientists, but the game has been described as "...a training ground for bringing science concepts relegated to the blackboard into action."