Tops and tails illustrated by Willy Mayrl

This is a game from my childhood that I still love. And all because of the nice illustrations made by Willy Mayrl. I think they are amazing! What I like about it is all the details, his drawing style as an illustrator, the bright colours, and all the care that he has put in to every little part of the animals and the other characters and props. The pictures are humoristic and lively. You can play with the cards many times and still find new things to look at. That is rare in childrens games today, I think.

Djur-läggspelet för gamla och unga, Piatnik, Willy Mayer
Illustration av Willy Mayrl
Vintage Piatnik game

My game is a swedish edition called “Djur-läggspelet. För gamla och unga. Med 576 roliga kombinationer. No 289. Ferd. Piatnik and Söhne, Wien, Made in Austria”. In english the game is called “Tops & Tails” and there are many different editions, and also others motifs. See for example at Boardgamegeek

Spelbox Piatnik, Wien

In my grown up eyes, in todays society, some of the cards are not so called political correct, there are funny gnoms, and funny circus people… and there are funny coloured kids… among all the funny animals. (Which reminds me of a big debate in Sweden right now, about a black character in an animated childrens movie…) But this is a vintage game from around 1950? Or earlier? The gnome-like children are painted together with nordic animals like the reindeer and the pink pig, and the coloured kids together with animals from Africa, like the lion and the giraffe.

Please tell me if you know the year this game first was published, or know more about Willy Mayrl as a board game card designer. I know he also did a lot of illustrations for childrens books. I come back to that.


Lena Svalfors Hedin
Hi! My name is Lena and I love creative and beautiful things in life. Sometimes it inspires me to photograph and write something about it, hopefully you can enjoy it too. I have previously been freelancing as an illustrator, now I have a day job focused on communication, web development and graphic design for print and web.
Please feel free to leave a comment!



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