hist-games: Ayres' Games - Nona - Cat and Mice

Adrian Seville Adrian.Seville at btopenworld.com
Tue May 13 01:38:25 PDT 2003


I have recently bought a games compendium made by the London firm of F H Ayres in about 1900.  It is labelled 'The Latest Combination of Parlour Games'.  It includes equipment for bezique, cribbage,chess, dice, dominoes, draughts, halma, reversi, steeplechase, whist - but also two games I have not seen before (see brief descriptions below).  Of course, the rule book is missing! If anyone knows their rules or dates, I would be grateful for the information - also any catalogue information on Ayres compendiums, which certainly varied in their contents.

Adrian Seville

NONA ('invented by Rev. J.H.Matthews M.A.') has a board of red/white diagonally-oriented squares in the form of a modified St Andrew's cross, with what are presumably the starting squares marked at the end of each arm.  It may well be a halma variant, of which several were produced at the time.  The board is marked 'Reg'd' and 'F H Ayres London'

CAT AND MICE (marked 'Registered at Stationers Hall' and F H Ayres London) is clearly a race game, played on a circular track with 70 divisions and a central circle marked 'Pool'. The equipment is a wooden carved cat and three differently-stained wooden mice.  The hazards are marked: hole, cheese, hole, candles, hole, ham, meal and (finally) trap. At hole, cat pays 5 and mouse takes 5, whereas at cheese etc cat takes 5 and mouse pays 5. Trap has no directions for payment or taking.

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