The History of Some R' Set
History of Some 'R' Set:
In 1903, Arthur J. Hodges of Carroll Iowa, had an idea to help families come together for games without using a standard deck of face cards (which at the time were taboo amongst certain conservative midwestern religious communities). That game became a trick-taking game of fractions rather than the more traditional 4 suits and faced royalty cards, and the game was called "Some 'R' Set," a play on words suggesting that "Some" players who bid too high at the beginning of the game can find by the end that they "are set!"
In 1908 his daughter in-law said, “The game is easily learned, it is not a game of numerals or fractions. The lower numbers (denominator) on the cards merely represent suits and the upper numbers (numerator) the individual value of each card in the suit.” He published it for many years under “The Some’R’Set Card Company, Chicago IL.
After copyrighting ‘Some R Set’ Hodges received royalties for many years on sales of the game. About 1934 he sold the rights to Parker Brothers. They published it until about 1960. In 2019, Levi bought the game and made it the first game published by The Levi Game Company, and immediately worked to bring the game into the future - selling online, and updating the cards design theme.
In the original Somerset rule book it says, “The game is unique, do not be misled by their (cards) appearance, these figures have no reference to tiresome fractions or mathematical problems. The game will not weary you and unlike some games, you will not grow disgusted after playing a few times. The more you play the better you will like it and while you amusing yourself in a delightful manner, you will also be developing the powers of memory, observation and deduction, faculties of the utmost importance in a successful life.”
The 1903 28-card version of Somerset now goes by the name of “Single Somerset," was modified to its now popular 1913 version, a 50-card successor, called "Double Somerset" by Hodges, and that version is what's known as "Some 'R' Set" today!
In 2009, Jerry Childs of Ludington, Michigan created a variation called Triple Somerset. Triple Somerset has 92 cards and is designed for 6-8 players.
Single Some R Set includes the /0, /2, /4, and /6 suites. Double Some R Set added the /8, /10, and /12 suites. Triple Some R Set fills in the games with all of the previously excluded odd suites - adding the /1, /3, /5, /7, /9, and /11 suites to Double Some R Set!
The Life of Arthur J. Hodges
The inventor of Some R Set was Arthur J. Hodges, father of Mrs. Hillyer’s first husband J. Howard Hodges, a Carroll, Iowa building contractor.
Hodges was born in 1870 and came to Carroll in 1896. His ambition was to be a lawyer but the fates ruled otherwise. He did manage to become a court clerk. After coming to Carroll, he became a mail clerk and worked for many years on the mail trains of the Chicago & North Western Railway.
The Hodges lived in a large home on the southeast corner of Carroll and Seventh streets. Mrs. Hillyer also lived there and, in later years, rented rooms. Several years ago she sold the property to the Commercial Savings Bank and the house was torn down to make way for the bank’s present drive-in building.
Stamp collecting of both U.S. and foreign issues was another hobby of this unusual Carroll resident. He was an avid reader and, at one time, had a home library of between 500 and 600 books.
He was a great horticulturist; irises were his top floral interest. He grew many species of this plant in his spacious yard and every year he held an iris show and invited the public to come and look at them.
Another hobby was genealogy. He compiled a complete history of the Hodges family and always wrote in great detail about the many trips they made to other states.
Hodges was married to Mary Young at Boone. In addition to the late J. Howard Hodges, their other children included Edna Sheffield, Storm Lake; Helen Evangeline Smith, Florida; and Thelma McCleary, Des Moines.