Bulls and Cows, a public domain code-breaking deduction game, was almost certainly the inspiration for Mastermind, designed by Mordecai Meirowitz and published by Parker Brothers in the early 1970s. Here are the complete rules for Bulls and Cows, a two-player game which can be played with just a piece of paper and a pencil for each player.
Mah Jongg, also known as Mahjong, originated in China -- although its exact history is somewhat shrouded in mystery. A simplified version of the game first gained popularity in the United States in the 1920s, but by 1937 the National Mah Jongg League had formed and the rules were standardized. If you're interested in learning this great game, Seth Brown explains how to play Mah Jongg.
The card game Pyramid Solitaire has simple rules and takes just a few minutes to play each hand. So it's no surprise that it's a popular way to pass some time. Here are the complete rules for Pyramid Solitaire.
More Solitaire Card Games:
One of the first card games I remember playing against adults as a child is what we called Manipulation. It also goes by the names Manipulation Rummy and Carousel. In this game, players can not only meld out of their own hands, and add to other players' melds -- they can also completely change the melds on the table. I remember having a lot of fun whenever we played. Here are the complete rules for the card game Manipulation.