Tuesday, July 23, 2013



The company was originally a book shop and a publishing company in the city of Ravensburg. This family business was lead by Carl Maier until the year 1876, when his son Otto took over his place. Otto Maier was born in 1852.

In 1883 Otto Meier signed the first contracts with game authors, releasing the first games the following year. Those were numbered OM-1, OM-2 and so on (Otto Maier). The first board game was called “Reise um die Erde”, which can be roughly translated to “Around the Globe”, and that was based in the stories by the priest and writer Christoph von Schmid.

Apart from numerous books, the company also had a vast catalogue of games, even in such an early year like 1914. Since the market for games was not mature yet, most of their publications were books. This situation would remain like this until the last 50s. Prior to those years (including World War 2 in between), board games, quartet card decks and Patience games were only a small part of all available publications.
During the last 50s, economy was again going better in Germany (after very hard times) and so Ravensburger could expand their catalogue with children’s books as well as technical books for arts and hobbies. That was a sign of the times. People had again time for their hobbies, and also time to play. The turning point in this company occurred in 1959: Ravensburger released a game called Memory that has been sold over 50 million copies, and that still today is one of the “best sellers” in games for children.

In the 60s, the company would expand for most European countries. In 1977, the book publishing business and the board game business would separate in two companies with the same name. 

The board game and card deck manufacturer F.X. Schmid is also part of the Ravensburger group, since it was acquired in 1996.

The deck today is rather old. It was edited in 1956, still under the “Otto Maier Verlag” name, but also under “Ravensburger Spiele”. We can see the logo on the lower right corner: an “O” with an “M” inside, that builds the belly of a figure.

The same logo appears on the back of the case, so it is the original one.

The card with the instructions is still there, as well as a card promoting the games: “Fische Fangen”, “Das Jagsspiel” and “Großwildjagd in Afrika” (Catch the Fishes, The Hunt Game and Hunting in Africa).
The instruction card has on its back a short list of quartet games also available at the time with their reference numbers. The owners of the pictures are correctly credited in that same card.

To finish the article, the families of cards are:

South and Western Switzerland

Northern Italy

Italian Riviera

Central Italy




French Riviera


  • Year: 1956
  • Company: Ravensburger / Otto Maier Verlag (Germany)

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