hist-games: Kids' seventeen century games
SEDWilkins at aol.com
SEDWilkins at aol.com
Tue Mar 1 03:53:03 PST 2005
Sorry, Graham, hit "reply" before I finished last night . . .
at the risk of sounding self-serving, my book has lots of games appropriate
for your children-of-various-ages, including directions for those mentioned in
recent emails. Period of my book is 476-1476, so a bit early for the Sealed
Knot, but games are notoriously conservative.
Lots of playground games that are familiar today (or were before the safety
people started spoiling things--children are no longer allowed to run on the
playground in our local primary school) are period games. Variations of tag,
with or without a home "base" and a "dungeon;" hopscotch, leapfrog, blind man's
buff, London Bridge, Ring-a-ring-o'-Rosy, and Round-and-Round the Village are
all essentially unchanged over the last thousand years. Rounders, too, if you
have room. Stoolball (predecessor of cricket) is good for teenagers.
Fox-and-Geese (not the board game) is another good one for children of
various ages--one child is the goose, one is the fox, all the rest are the goslings.
Goose and goslings link arms and run/dodge/circle as the fox tries to nab the
last one. "Captured" goslings sit out until all have been caught, or the
first captured becomes the new fox. . . .
If you want to invest in some equipment, shuttlecock, hoop (or disk)-rolling,
and tops are fun. Jackstones are good (but no rubber balls until the 17th
century). I bought some nice reproduction knucklebones from Great Hall Games in
Texas (check out their website--lots of fun stuff). Masters Games Ltd.
(www.mastersgames.com) has some wonderful items.
Quilles (predecessor of bowling), horseshoes and quoits, boules (bocce) are
all period games that kids and adults can enjoy.
Indoors/sedentary games include darughts/checkers, chess, a dozen variations
of backgammon ("tables") and of course tafl games, although those you'd
probably have to teach. Merrels (including naughts-and-crosses) and morris games can
be played anywhere. Hasard and raffle (dice games) were wildly popular in the
16th and 17th centuries. Playing cards are popular by the 16th century
(ombre, especially) but you'd want to find some good reproduction cards (Great Hall
Games, again--I should get a commission from them!).
Check Brueghel's "Young folks at play" painting, annotated at
for more ideas.
Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures
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