In this essay and the next, I will look at these four books in some detail, trying to uncover how they came to be. This essay will focus on (A), the only one of the four which is autographed by Hoyle and Osborne, and thus the one that is clearly authorized.
The story of the "twelfth" edition begins with an advertisement appearing in The London Evening Post of December 23, 1760:
"This day were publish'd, beautifully printed on a fine Paper, in a small genteel pocket volume, (price only 3s. neatly bound) the twelfth edition, to which are added, two cases in whist, never printed before; and the new laws of the game, as play'd at White's and Saunders's Chocolate House: Mr. Hoyle's Games Compleat...printed for T. Osborne...S. Crowder...and R. Baldwin.The advertisement notes three things that we will keep in mind as we examine the physical books. The size ("small genteel pocket volume") is relevant because, as Marshall notes, (C) is printed on larger paper. Second, the advertisement notes changes in text ("new cases" and "new laws"). Finally it cautions that unsigned editions are piracies.
"Be pleased to observe what you buy are signed by Edmund Hoyle and Tho. Osborne, all others being pirated, or a bad edition, and for which a reward is given to any who will inform of the sale of them."
Of the half dozen copies I have seen of (A), the largest is 15.5 x 8.7 cm., which seems to be the same size as the "eleventh" edition published in 1756. It appears to be smaller than the "eighth" edition and its many reissues (as discussed here, the reissues are stated "ninth" and "tenth" editions), which can be as large as 16.6 x 9.7 cm.
|Verso of title page|
The title page is for the collected edition, containing separate treatises on whist, quadrille, piquet (including chess), and backgammon. As we shall see, each treatise also has its own title page, even though none was published separately. It is odd that the book is noted as a "twelfth" edition. Hoyles are numbered, more or less, by the edition of the whist treatise. For example what is called the "eighth" edition of Hoyle's Games lacks an overall title page, but the whist section title is noted a stated "eighth" edition (Osborne.1748 discussed here). It the same essay, I note that the "ninth" edition (Reeve.1748, discussed in the same essay) has a collected title The Accurate Gamester's Companion, "ninth" edition, though Whist is still the "eighth." With Osborne's "eleventh" edition, the statement of edition is on the collected title only; the section title for whist has no statement of edition, although the other treatises do. This "twelfth" edition continues that pattern: a stated edition on the collected title, with no stated edition on the section title for Whist (pictured below).
Unlike Marshall's copy, the autographs of Hoyle and Osborne are both on the verso of the collected title. From the copies I have seen, this is the more typical arrangement.
The book collates 12o: π1 A6 B-I12 K8 L2 χ1 for a total of 1 + 6 + 12 * 8 + 2 + 1 = 114 leaves. π1 refers to a single preliminary unsigned leaf. χ1 refers to a single leaf later in the book.
The pagination is pp.  1 ii-x   2-86 [87-9] 90-115 [116-9] 120-152  154-168 [169-171] 172-214 for a total of 2 + 10 + 2 + 214 = 228 pages. The bracketed numbers refer to unnumbered pages. Where we can infer page numbers, they are shown in roman number in brackets; where we cannot, the page count is shown in italicized numbers in brackets.
Let's match the contents of the book with page references and page numbers. It will be easy to see why pages were unnumbered and we will see how the physical structure of the book relates to its contents and reveals something about how it was written.
The pattern of the page numbering is clear: section titles, their blank versos, and the first page of each section are unnumbered. The rules and observation on chess were always a part of the treatise on piquet and lack a separate title page, but still the first page of text is not numbered.
Interestingly, the book seems entirely complete without the final leaf χ1, pages 213-4. Physically, it is a single leaf outside the final gathering. The text supports that view as well. The erratum at the bottom of page 212 suggests the book is complete and an error was noted during printing. The advertisement and collected title page promise two new cases at whist which appear in chapter 17 on pages 64-5 (discussed here). χ1 contains two further cases at whist ("since this book was printed off"), not noted in the advertisement or on the collected title, awkwardly placed after the section on backgammon, rather than with the other material on whist. The errata on the bottom of χ1v suggest a second round of proofreading. Everything suggests that this leaf was a late addition to the book.
We have noted, beginning with the "thirteenth" edition, the material on χ1 migrated to the section on whist. As we shall see in the next essay, the oddities of the "twelfth" appear in other printings, although the physical structure is different.