"Penalty" - unused art for the cover of the Pepys card game by John Armstrong - SNIP

“Penalty” Football Card Game box art by John Armstrong on eBay

Penalty“, a football-inspired Pepys card game was invented by Ernesto Scola of Milan, working with a team of twelve specialists who took five years including playing 18,000 trial games to develop the game.

It was first published on the continent and in South America before being published and distributed in the UK by Pepys in the 1960s, the box cover featuring art by comic artist John Armstrong, and an unused version is currently on sale on eBay.

"Penalty" - unused art for the cover of the Pepys card game by John Armstrong
“Penalty” – unused art for the cover of the Pepys card game by John Armstrong

John, who died last year, is an artist perhaps best known for his work on girls comics such as Misty and Tammy, but he was also a book illustrator, games illustrator and more.

The World of Playing Cards web site describes the game describes itself as “A game of skill for two to six players”, noting that in reality is a two-person game, one of the classic father-son games from a bygone era many used to play on dark winter evenings after dinner was cleared away.

The box cover art was the work of John Armstrong, best known for his work on girls comics such as Misty and Tammy, and a version of the box art art is on sale on eBay, on behalf of his family, along with other original artworks.

Penalty - Pepys Football Card Game Cover Art - As published
The “Penalty” Pepys Football Card Game cover art as published. With thanks to Steven Taylor

As you can see, the final version of the cover has some modifications: the goalie’s socks, the positioning of the two players in centre, the lights on the stand replaced with a flag – but it is, basically the same image.

It should come as no surprise to downthetubes readers that now well known comic artists worked in many other sectors of publishing – and still do. Artists want to make money to pay the bills, and as collector Steven Taylor recently noted on the Mighty World of British Comics Facebook group, who also identified the image, Doctor Who artist Walt Howarth also worked on jigsaws for Tower Press and Dan Dare toy boxes for Merit, while Knockout and Wild West Weekly artist Derek Eyles also worked on jigsaws.

For a full guide to the “Penalty” Card Game visit this page on the World of Playing Cards web site

• The version of the “Penalty” art by John Armstrong is on sale on eBay here

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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