The History of Skip-Bo or Spite and Malice

Skip-Bo Hand

"Spite and Malice" is thought to have originated in Europe in the mid-1800s. It has also gone by the name "Cat and Mouse". It was originally played as a competitive game of "Patience" or "Solitaire".1 It became popular in the United States just after the First World War. It was probably played by servicemen in France and brought home along with many other European ideas.

Hasbro has a version of "Spite and Malice" with fewer cards in the deck and the stock pile. The most popular computerized version is "SpiteNet".

An early variation of "Spite and Malice" is Flinch. It came out around 1905, close to the year that the first airplane got off the ground. It comes with 144 cards in the deck. It is currently marketed by a company called "Winning Moves".

Currently, Skip-Bo is probably the most popular version of Spite and Malice. It was developed by Hazel Bowman in Texas, and was released in 1967. It was an immediate hit. In view of Skip-Bo's growing popularity, a company called International Games bought the rights to Skip-Bo in 1980. International Games was, in turn, purchased by Mattel. Mattel currently markets the game throughout the country.

Card games featuring depleting stockpiles and building stacks continue to be popular today. This may be partly due to the proliferation of solitaire card games on the web - the style of card play from which stock pile games were originally derived. Skip-Bo, Spite and Malice, and Flinch can all be found in toy stores as well as at

<< Variations on Skip-Bo | Return to Skip-Bo Index >>

  1. History of Patience


A History of Checkers

A History of Risk

A History of Horseshoes

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