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Shoe the Wild Mare - Strange Christmas Games

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Shoeing the Wild Mare is a traditional Christmas game that goes back to at least the early 17th century. Get a narrow(a few inches wide),strong wooden beam and suspend it from the roof with two even length ropes. The beam is the 'mare' of the title and should be level yet high enough above the floor so that a player's feet are off-ground. A player 'the farrier' then sits on the 'mare' in the

Snapdragons - strange games with fire #1

Friday, December 22, 2006

As Christmas Eve approaches the nation tries to decide which family game to play. Should it be a classic board game, a cosy parlour game or maybe even a DVD quiz game. No, please don't make those mistakes...there is only one game for Christmas Eve: Snapdragons. Very popular from the 16th to the 19th centuries, Snapdragons (or Flapdragons) has explicably declined in popularity.Gather everyone

Blood Potato

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Combine 'blindman's buff' with 'murder in the dark' and you get Blood Potato - a superb party game similar in form to Mouchard (Strange Games no.46). It's rare at parties but reasonably common at drama schools - presumably for all those budding Bela Lugosis.All players are blindfolded and one player is given the role of murderer (without anyone else knowing). Players then move around the room. If

Strange Games with Bubblewrap #1 - Thieves Variation

Friday, December 15, 2006

I wrote about the blindfolded party game Thieves in Strange Games no.41 in which partygoers have to steal the blindman's treasure without being struck with his rolled up newspaper. This brilliant variation builds excitement levels even higher. Position the blindman on a swivel chair and place his treasure (a set of handbells for example) at his feet. Arm him with a water pistol. Then, cover the

Toilet Tag / Stuck in the Toilet

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Strange Games is indebted to Bertie Windcheater (an English reader) who informed me of this fantastic contemporary stuck-in-the-mud tag variation - one which I think should immediately be positioned at number 1 (or should that be number 2's) on the recentTop Tag Variations post.Simply, a tagger is designated and all other players must run away to avoid being tagged. If a player is tagged then

General Post

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Another ancient game that I remember playing at one of Herbert Rowsell's now legendary parties is General Post. At first sight this fabulous game appears to be just a blend of Blindman's Buff and Musical Chairs but it is vastly superior to both and is long overdue a renaissance. Line up two rows of chairs facing each other (other chair formations can be tried). Each player is allocated a town

Roadside Whist

Monday, December 4, 2006

Roadside spotting games still retain some popularity for children on long journeys. Games such as 'counting the number of legs and arms in Pub names' or 'decoding car registration plates'. However Roadside Whist surely deserves a comeback - especially if you follow these original instructions from 1900.One person takes the left side of the carriage, the other player the right. The coachman

Rats and Rabbits

Friday, December 1, 2006

In my youth, no party was complete without the squeals of delight and panic that occurred whenever Rats and Rabbits was played.Split the partygoers into two groups. Line them up standing back to back in the middle of a large room and designate one team Rats and the other Rabbits. A non-playing shouter then shouts out either "Rabbits" or " Rats". If Rats is shouted then the Rats must run to their

Walnut Fights

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

As conker fighting season draws to a close it is time that the world relearned the joys of its distant cousin...Walnut Fighting - the true king of seed related fight games was last big around the 1900's and not many people today realise that capital contests can be had with just the empty halves of a walnut shell.A dinner plate is turned upside down (the 'ring') and two fighters place their

Mangelwurzel Throwing and other Strange Games with food

Monday, November 27, 2006

My recent post concerning Mangelwurzel Skittles led to a reader telling me about another weird and wonderful game involving them: Mangelwurzel Throwing. This in turn led me to research into the use of vegetable and other foodstuffs in Strange Games. Some of these merge into Strange Sports but they are all bizarre enough to be included here.Below are the greatest Strange Games / Strange Sports

Mullet Throwing

An Pythonesque American game/sport. A one and a half pound mullet(the fish not the hairstyle) is thrown by competitors from the Florida side of the state border into the Alabama side. Throws of around 150 feet are commonplace. It happens in April.Interstate Mullet Toss Strange Games no:79...category: new olympic sports?

Egg Throwing

There are various forms of egg throwing games: Egg Relay, Distance, Accuracy and Throwing and Catching.In 'Throwing and Catching' teams of two stand 10 metres apart and throw an egg to each other. The distance between the players is increased with each successive, successful throw. Greatest distance for an unbroken egg throw wins. The world record was established in 1978 Texas, when Johnie Dell

Pea Throwing

A superb game / sport, Pea Throwing involves finding out who can throw a frozen pea the furthest. The current world record is amazingly around the 38m (around 124 feet) mark.World championships (now in the eighth year) occur in a Sussex pub in October of each year.If any sport deserves olympic status it is Pea Throwing.article on 2006 Pea Throwing World Championshipstrange games no:77...category:

Cherry Pit Spitting

Baseball is just Rounders dressed up, Basketball is a gaudy facsimile of Netball and American Football is just a confused version of Rugby...but in Cherry Pit Spitting, America has created a true sporting classic.The rules: simply spit a cherry pip as far as possible. Current world record a staggering 93 feet.Cherry Pit Spitting HandbookStrange Games no:76...category: new olympic sport?

Cheese Rolling

World reknowned and extremely popular, Cheese Rolling takes place annually in Gloucestershire, England in May. Simple, fast, brutal; a large, disc of cheese is rolled from the top of a very steep hill. Competitors, of which there are a large number, hurl themselves down the hill after the cheese. The first person to the bottom wins. The hill, varies in gradient between 1 in 1 and 1 in 2 and has

Warring Couples

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am indebted to Strange Games German correspondent - Heinrich Guntergarten - for telling me about this very odd party game. Warring Couples is an ice-breaking party game that Heinrich has played at an adults party - but it would be suitable for children too.Players are paired up and have their adjacent legs tied together (as in a three legged race) and stand with their adjacent arms over each

Walking Relay & Sleepwalking Relay

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I still remember playing Walking Relay at 'Biffer' Henderson's 10th Birthday party - a party mainly memorable due to Biffer being sick after his failed attempt at the world record for eating Fondant Fancies. Walking Relay deserves to be rescued from its current obscurity.Players are formed into teams and then the teams are split into two groups at either end of the room. Upon a starting command a

Human Skittles revisited : Mangelwurzel Skittles and Conger Cuddling

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Strange Games number 69 (Headstand Human Skittles) reminds me of one of the greatest Strange Games of all time: Mangelwurzel Skittles. Mangelwurzel Skittles is an ancient UK Westcountry game that has that magic combination of simplicity and stupidity. A mangel-wurzel (a large whitish-yellow root vegetable from the beetroot family) has a rope tied to it and this is then attached to the ceiling of

Squirrels in Trees

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The leaves on the trees are changing colour, the nights are drawing in and you need a game for your party. Look no further than Squirrels in Trees - the perfect autumnal game. One player is the Squirrel (cocky and skittish) another is the Gamekeeper (unflustered and brutal). The other partygoers make 'trees' by standing still, facing each other, in pairs. The pairs of players (trees) should be

Top 5 Tag Variations

Thursday, November 2, 2006

There are many variations of tag but below are the top 5 determined by a scientific survey of the nations top tag players (stand up Bertie Blister)1. Bent Knees TagThe title says it all. Everyones movements, both tagger and tagee must be made with the knees in a fully bent position. You are only allowed to stand straight if remaining still and not being chased. A very strenuous variation 2. Bunny

Head Stand Human Skittles

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Head Stand Human Skittles is a human skittles variation requiring only some footballs and a modest degree of gymnastic ability to play. HSHS, as it shall be abbreviated, is best played on a beach. The skittles are formed by (ideally) nine players performing headstands on the sand. They should do these close enough together so that if one falls over he has a good chance of knocking over a

Vitamin C High Noon

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My last post (Tissue Paper Laserquest) caused one of my old friends (Maurice Tweddle) to e-mail me details of a game he has seen played that bears some similarity. The name we have created for it is Vitamin C High Noon.For two players: each attaches an effervescent Vitamin C tablet to the middle of his forehead. These are the large, high strength, 1000mg tablets that come in a tube of twenty and

Tissue Paper Laserquest

Monday, October 9, 2006

I am indebted to my nephew James ' the chicken' McDonald-Blister for information on Tissue Paper Laserquest - a fun, Summer's garden game and a delightful update of cops and robbers.Team members cut out small 'target' discs of tissue paper which they attach to the front of their clothes using safety pins. Each team member is given a large water pistol, or super-squirter and a container of backup

Egg Cap

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Fleetness of foot and throwing accuracy are what is needed to win at Egg Cap - a playground game that has unfortunately all but died out.Each player places his flat cap in a line and then everyone stands inside a chalk drawn circle a couple of metres away from the row of caps. One player has a tennis ball which he rolls towards the line of caps. If the ball misses then nothing happens - however

What Are We Shouting

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Everyone seems to be talking at once, it's giving you a headache - you can't stand it anymore. Whatever you do don't start playing What Are We Shouting. A fun game for two teams. One team decides upon a well known phrase (or line from a popular song) which has the same or fewer words in it than players in the team. Each player is assigned a word (if there are more players than words then some

The Best Chinese Whispers' Phrase Ever!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chinese Whispers , which we used to know as Gossip or Russian Scandal, is a game that everyone knows. However, if you watch people playing it these days you will notice how dull and short the phrases are that start the game. In the drawing room we used to put a lot more effort into the phrase.Here is an actual suggested phrase to start off the game. It comes from a 1940's book called 'The Home

One Legged Tug of War

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

There are innumerable ways a staid game can be enlivened by variations. As Aphra Behn said, "Variety is the soul of pleasure." I saw One Legged Tug of War being played for the first time on a windswept beach in Kent last Summer.As for standard tug of war, a rope and two equal teams of similar sized players are all that is required. At the start of the game all players lift one leg off the ground

Royal Court

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shouting, confusion, people crashing into each other...three things that make an ideal party game. I first played Royal Court at one of Sir Herbert Rowsell's Summer Shindigs. Get a pack of playing cards and pick the King, Queen, Jack, Ten, etc. of each suit so that you have as many cards as players of the game. You will need the number of players to be divisible by four.Place one chair in each

Zombie Tag

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I came across the game of Zombie Tag only recently. It had myself and the players prostrate in paroxysms of cachinnation. To make a Zombie simply pair up two players - ones of similar size are best. Then, stand them side by side and then bind their adjacent legs together. The binding must be more severe than a three legged race where only ankles are tied. In Zombie Tag the legs must be tied

Advantage Wrestling

Monday, September 11, 2006

It's a typical Summer's day on the beach. The sea is freezing, the sky is cloudy and the wind is whipping up the sand into your sandwiches. What you need is a spot of Advantage Wrestling. Mark out a ring on the sand, outside which no player can go. Simply, all you have to do to win is get behind your opponent and grab him by the waist and lift him off the floor. And he has to do the same to you.

Slaps / Slapsies revisited

Friday, September 8, 2006

I previously wrote about Slaps or Slapsies (one of the most brutal yet satisfying playground games) in post:27 - yet I have just discovered a fantastic computer simulation of it. The game, called Operation Slaps or Hand to Hand Combat Facility allows you to play slapsies against a friend or against a computer opponent.You can decide to be one of five different characters ranging from Lieutenant

Poor Pussy / Banoffee Bum

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Poor Pussy is a party game I was not going to write about as it is already very well known even though I rarely see it played and it is quite strange. However, I was reminded of it by a game my great-grand daughters (Jemima and Daisy Blister ) invented for their own pleasure which they call Banoffee Bum.First Poor Pussy: One member of the party is given the role of Pussy and must go round to each

Squeaky Sheets

Saturday, September 2, 2006

There are many guess-the-identity party games but Squeaky Sheets is my favourite variation. Divide the players into two teams. One team leaves the room taking a large sheet with them. One player then re-enters the room under the sheet and crawling on all fours. He must crawl into the centre of the room and then squeak loudly once. The opposing team have ONE guess regarding the identity of the

Three Legged French Blindman's Buff

Friday, August 25, 2006

A verbose name for a simple game. Three Legged French Blindman's Buff is the perfect party game for children that don't mind the odd bruise or a mild case of concussion and have non-litigious parents.Simply tie one person's hands together behind their back (the "French Blindman"). The remaining players are paired up and have their adjacent legs bound together (as in a three legged race). The


Thursday, August 24, 2006

If you have ever had the sort of day where every person you have met is slow-witted and maladroit but still feel like playing a game then Dorka * is the game for you. Dorka is one of the most directionless, simple-minded and nugatory games going.Out of all the players a group of 4 or 5 is chosen to be the 'team'. One of these is chosen to be the 'Dorka' and is given a minute to look at each team

Plant Pot Race

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's a glorious late Summer's day. At the far side of the lawn Percy the gardener is emptying out the contents of some large clay plant pots onto the compost heap. It's time to play Plant Pot Race - a strange game that requires superb balance, strength and stupidity.Each player has two large plant pots. By placing these upside down on the ground continuously in front of each other he must

Charlie Chaplin Relay

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My dearest friend Ethel 'ovenready' Bird has told me of a game that she used to play as a child. The game, she said, always had the players collapsing in undignified heaps of laughter... times were much simpler then. The game is Charlie Chaplin Relay and it's top drawer.Teams are given a balloon, a bean-bag and a walking stick. A player from each team holds the balloon between their knees,

Heinz and Seek

Monday, August 7, 2006

Dragging uncooperative children around supermarkets is hell at the best of times. Heinz and Seek (created by my brother Eustace Blister) is the perfect game guaranteed to keep them entertained all the way from the cheese to the checkout.Very simply one parent enters the supermaket first and moves an item ( one that is easily recognisable by all players - such as a branded tin of baked beans,


Thursday, August 3, 2006

I am indebted to my great nephew James 'the chicken' McDonald-Blister for this delightful modern variant of on old game. All that is required are two relatively close trees and a group of 4-12 players.Players split into two even teams and stand by their chosen tree. The object of the game is for one member of a group to hug their opponents tree and vice versa. However, if you are tagged by a

Chinese Boxing

Saturday, July 29, 2006

We always used to play this game to warm up after a swim in the sea. Chinese Boxing is simple, stupid and strange - a perfect combination.Simply face your opponent, grab each other's right hands leaving your left hand free. With this free hand stupidly try to tap your opponent on top of his head before he taps you on yours with his free hand. Strangely...first to three points/taps wins. Weird Web

Guide Dog Musical Chairs

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The previous post reminded me of this party game which I haven't seen played for many, many years. Maybe it's been caught by the Politically Correct Police and as I type is being held in dank, windowless cell on meagre rations and regular beatings...Guide Dog Musical Chairs is the perfect party game requiring only chairs, blindfolds and the ability to bark.Pair up everyone into blindmen (wearing

Sheep Dog Trials

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

oI first played this delightful game, when I was a callow youth, at one of Maurice Tweddle's Summer garden parties. Sheep Dog Trials is the perfect garden game at which to practice your whistling skills to say nothing of your Welsh hill farmer impersonation skills.Pair up players: one 'farmer' and one 'sheepdog'. The 'farmers' send the 'sheepdogs' away (another room / indoors/ etc.. where they

Fatty Arbuckle Tag

Monday, July 17, 2006

You have a good knowledge of silent movie stars, you are hale and hearty and you are having a party.....Fatty Arbuckle Tig is the game for you.One person is declared to be 'it' and this person tries to tig someone in the usual fashion. However, if 'it' is approaching you and you can't escape then you can become immune from being tigged by sitting down and promptly shouting out the name of a

Battle Lautrec

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Imagine, if you will, a rainy afternoon and there is no form of electronic entertainment available, you have read all your Biggles books at least twice, Nanny is being uncooperative and you are in a doltish mood; what do you do? I and my dear, lamented brother Eustace invented Battle Lautrec.A bizarre, imbecilic game for two people, Battle Lautrec is guaranteed to banish boredom and raise at the

Drawing Room Acrobatics #2 - Furthest From the Wall

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Another great Drawing Room game for players of equal height.Taking turns each player must stand some distance from a wall and then lean forward towards it and support themselves (to avoid crashing into the wall) with one arm only. Their feet must remain together and in a fixed position. To complete their turn they must return to an upright position by pushing hard off the wall. No step backs are


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A great little game for both adult and children's parties that goes under many names but I learnt it as Mouchard.Everyone spreads about the room and then closes their eyes. The party leader then chooses one player to open their eyes (by a tap on the shoulder). The game begins. Players walk around the room (eyes closed) and when they meet someone they must hold hands and say, "Mouchard?". If the

Family Snap

Monday, June 26, 2006

You are having a party with your bright young friends (maybe to celebrate exemplary examination results) and Winterton Bell-Morris pipes up, "Let's play a party game - what shall we play?"Family Snap is a game in which success depends entirely upon keenness and quick-wittedness.Before the game make a list of names which resemble each other enough to be confusing. If there are 12 players then the

Bell Battle

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A great lost party game. Bell Battle is the perfect game to make even the most lumpish partygoer into a model of delicacy.Simply pair up players (one large with one smaller). The stronger of the pair gives the smaller a piggy-back. Each rider is given a handbell to carry. The team whose bell is last to ring is the victor.For added complexity play the game with each rider wielding a sword as well

Toe Fencing / Metatarsal Manoeuvre

Thursday, June 15, 2006

All the best games have a bizarre, brutish element to them. Toe Fencing is one such game - basic and brutal.For two players. Each faces the other and holds hands firmly. Each tries to stomp on the other's toes. The first person to stamp three times on their opponent's toes winsstrange games no:43...category:playground games STUPID GAMES

Numbered Seats

A game with no end, no winner and the ability to cause headaches after only a few minutes play. Numbered Seats is a great party game for groups of any age.Get ten chairs and arrange them into a horseshoe formation. Number them 1 to 10. Partygoers sit on a chair (remembering its number).One person starts by calling out a number (between 1 and 10) and the person occupying that chair must call out


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another blindfold game that has sadly declined in popularity. Thieves is probably the most fun you can have with just a blindfold, some handbells and a stick.One player is blind folded and sits on the floor in the centre of the circle with his treasure close by in front of him. The treasure can be anything, but we used to play with a set of handbells. He has in his possession a stick (or rolled

Drawing Room Acrobatics # 1: Furthest Penny

Sunday, June 11, 2006

There are many feats which can be performed in a small room without injury to either furniture or oneself. Furthest Penny is one of the finest.For two persons of equal height. Keeping your feet behind a line you must stretch along the ground supported on your left hand ONLY and place a penny as far away from the line as possible using your right hand. You must then (still supporting your weight

Trussed Fowls

Friday, June 9, 2006

Amongst the legion of really strange party games Trussed Fowls stands out as being truly bizarre (although I have played Battle le Trec, more of which later).Trussed Fowls is a game for two partygoers at a time. Each is trussed. This means wrists are firmly tied, ankles are firmly tied and then the player crouches down so his elbows are below his knees. A long stick is then slipped over one elbow


Thursday, June 8, 2006

Another brilliant blindfolded game that has strangely fallen out of fashion. Pair up the partygoers ( 3 or 4 pairs are a good number to play with but you can experiment). One person in each pair is taken out of the room and blindfolded. Their partner is then given a common, short phrase or word, we always used "kittiwake", "rag 'n' bone", "boiled onions", and told to pick a spot somewhere near

Slave Market

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

I first came across this game in the 1950s but by its nature I'm sure it has a longer history than that. Slave Market is a game so politically incorrect that it must surely be due to make a resurgence in a post-modern ironic kind of way.Divide the partygoers into slaves (say 6 people), an auctioneer, and the slave buyers (the rest). Each buyer is given a set number of counters to act as money (

Ten Step Blindman

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Ten Step Blindman is a superior variant of Blind Man's Buff. One player is Blindfolded and stands in the centre of the room. All other players stand by him and then they all walk ten (normal size) steps away from him in any direction they want. The Blindman now has ten steps, and only ten steps, of his own to try and touch a man. Players are allowed to twist and move their body any way they like

Rhubarb Race

Thursday, June 1, 2006

An elementary, brutal, garden game. Rhubarb Racing is three legged racing's minacious cousin. Simply sort your players into groups of five or six. Bind each group of players together at waist level using copious amounts of rope (like sticks of rhubarb). Then the groups race against each other over a set distance. For more fun each player should shout "rhubarb" as they run and spectators can shout

Catch the Tail

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A primitive playground game guaranteed to raise a chortle, Catch the Tail also works well at parties.All players form a line with each holding the player in front's waist. The object of the game is for the head of the line to try and catch the tail - and the object for the tail is to escape. This necessarily, turns the players just behind the leader into his helpers and those near the tail player


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Aeroplanes is a trick party game that can probably only be played once (unless one keeps participants out of the room until it is their turn)Two strong men are required to hold a plank of wood a few inches above the floor. The partygoer /'pilot' / 'victim' is then blindfolded and helped onto the plank. He stands on it and supports himself by placing his hands on the shoulders of the two

Counting Out Rhymes. No.3

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who is going to be 'it'? There is only one way to decide: a counting out rhyme.If you are young now then I expect you will be using a contemporaneous rhyme such as this:Ip /dip /dation /My /op - er - at - ion /How /many /trains /are /at /the /stat-ion /Then that person gives a number. Carry on counting around the circle and the person you land upon is it. Now one from school days long ago:Intery

Party Animals

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Party Animals is an entertaining game that soon has people descending into helpless laughter.Everyone sits in a circle. The leader passes a toy dog to the first person on his left and says to them,"I found this dog.""This what?" says the first person"This dog." says the leader.The first person then passes the dog to the second person and repeats,"I found this dog.""This what?" says the second

Thimble Soccer

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One dull, rainy afternoon whilst Nanny was sewing I spied a whole set of metal thimbles in her sewing basket...shortly afterwards Thimble Soccer was born.Find an old table that doesn't mind being scratched and chalk out a soccer pitch onto it. Fashion some goal posts out of cotton reels. It can be useful to form a border all the way around the table using cardboard strips to stop the ball coming

Blindman's Circle

Monday, May 22, 2006

A perfect game for small parties requiring stealth and cunning. In Blindman's Circle the partygoers sit in a circle. In the middle one person is blindfolded and sits on a stool. All players are allocated a number which they must remember. The middle player calls out two numbers of his choosing - those two people must now swap places without being touched by the middle man. He must remain seated,


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another strange game devised by myself in my youth. Bucketheads is an hilarious yet asinine game for two (or possibly more) people. Two players place an object on the floor preferably somewhere near the edge of the room. The object can be anything that is easily recognisable.They then go to the centre of the room and each places a plastic bucket over their heads. The bucket should act as a

Slapsies / Slaps

Saturday, May 20, 2006

If Rock, Paper, Scissors is the king of playground hand games then Slapsies is its boorish, dysfuntional, half-brother. I first remember it being played in the 1940's but its popularity fluctuates and presently it is making something of a comeback. For two people, both hold their hands as if praying but with arms stretched in front and fingertips touching. Each takes it in turn to try and slap

Human Croquet

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's a lazy August afternoon and you are sitting on the veranda sipping a cool Pimms when the party host shouts, "Anyone for Human Croquet?" The perfect summer garden game, Human Croquet necessitates a large number of people. Ten pairs of people form the hoops by facing each other, raising their arms in the air and clasping hands; leaving enough space between their bodies for the 'ball' to pass

Circular Skipping

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A game that I fear has almost died out; to win at circular skipping requires timing and not a little stamina.One person has a good rope a few yards long, the end of which has a small weight attached. This man must crouch down and spin the rope around a few inches above the floor (he will have to keep changing hands to keep the rope spinning). The competitors form a circle outside of the rope and

Drinking Competition

Monday, May 15, 2006

A endearingly simple yet always engrossing party game. Drinking Competition seems to have fallen out of favour in recent times. It can be played either by everyone simultaneously or as a relay for two or more teams. Each person is given a water tumbler filled to the brim with water and a teaspoon. The first person to drink all the water using only the spoon is the winner. This will take

Feeding Time

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A great long lost childrens' party game ; in what other game can you find sweets and bray like a donkey. Best played in the home, divide the partygoers into teams of two. One team member takes on the role of an easily imitated animal:cat, dog, horse, cow, chicken, etc. The other team member is its keeper and is given a paper bag. The party host will have beforehand hidden copious quantities of

Table Hockey

An energetic and fun game for a rainy day. Table hockey requires an old smooth table that doesn't mind if it gets a scratch or two, a supply of teaspoons (not Mama's best silver ones), cotton reels and a checkers counter for the puck.Teams can contain 1, 2 or more players (5 is the most I've played in but it was a rather large table); each has a teaspoon which he holds with the rounded side

Ankle Battle

Friday, May 12, 2006

Another marvelous game from my childhood. To be successful at Ankle Battle you will need the balance of a cat and strong muscles. It's a game for two players at a time. Each faces the other then each grasps their left ankle with their left hand. Then each player holds his opponents right hand in a firm grasp. Hopping on their right foot, and not releasing either their left ankle or their

Vacant Chair

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A rarely played variation on Musical Chairs. Here the chairs are formed into a circle with one more chair than persons - the Vacant Chair. The person standing in the middle of the circle must try to possess this chair-without-a-sitter. To stop him all the other players should move round continuously, one chair at a time so that the vacant chair is always changing. Once he gets a seat, the person

Hens and Chickens

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Almost everyone must be familiar with 'What's the Time Mr Wolf?' but when I was knee high to a Beagle the game we loved to play was Hens and Chickens. One person is chosen to be the fox and must sit down and look sly and hungry. The others are the hens and chickens and form a line past the fox, chanting:"Chicany, chicany, crany, crow,I went to the well to wash my toe,And when I came back a

Deer Stalking

Monday, May 8, 2006

A rip-roaring party game for two people to play at a time. Most of the fun is in the watching. Two party-goers are blindfolded - one is the 'hunter' and one is the 'deer'. They are placed next to a round table but opposite each other and both facing in a clockwise direction. The aim of the game is for the 'hunter' to catch the 'deer'. A time limit of a minute should avoid too much exhaustion...if

Spotty Death

A charmingly physical game for a party and one in which you need the agility of a gazelle to win. Place or chalk a large red spot on the floor. Partygoers link hands in a circle around the spot. Without breaking the circle each must try and get their neighbours to stand on the spot. If anyone's feet touches it they are out and the game continues until there is one victor.The merriment is

Orange Battle

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A perennial favourite game at all the best parties - Orange Battle has it all: skill, intense competition and copious supplies of citrus fruit. Simply supply all partygoers with two tablespoons and an orange. They must balance the orange on a spoon in one hand whilst holding the other spoon in their other hand. The objective is to knock opponents oranges onto the floor whilst protecting your own.

Piggy Back Polo

Friday, May 5, 2006

Fantastic to play in the garden Piggy Back Polo is an energetic and immensely entertaining game. Pair up the players - one large and one small. The larger player gives the smaller one a piggy back. Each rider holds a walking stick upside down. The aim of the game is to knock a tennis ball into the opponents goal.Play on a summer's day with lashings of Ginger Beer for the competitors.strange games

Two Dogs and a Bone

Thursday, May 4, 2006

An energetic game for 12-20 players. A skittle (the ' bone') is placed on a chalk mark in the centre of the room.The players are split into two equal teams and given numbers to remember. So, if there are 12 players there will be numbers 1 to 6 on each team. The teams line up opposite their opposing numbers at either end of the room and equidistant from the 'bone'A caller shouts out a number of

Mother Magee

A party game that never fails of cause a commotion of laughter.Everyone stands in a circle. The first player turns to his left and says, "Mother Magee is dead!"The person on the left must reply, "How did she die?""Like this," says the first and closes one eye. The second player closes his same eye and repeats the dialogue to the next person but adds his own affliction."Like this," he says and

Counting Out Rhymes Number 2

Another comparison of playground counting out rhymes - the only sane way to determine who is 'it'. First a marvellous contemporary one.Cin : der : ella : dressed : in : yellawent : to : the : ballto : kiss : a : fella :by : mis- : take : she : kissed : a : steak :how : many : kisses : did : she : make the person who is being pointed at shouts out a number. Continue counting around the circle till

Collapsing Bridges

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

A fun indoor game for two evenly matched competitors.One player, 'the bridge' forms a bridge like structure by kneeling with his hands also on the floor, shoulder width apart and a good distance from his knees. The other man, 'the boat', must pass under the 'bridge' (usually achieved by a rapid scuttling motion) up to 3 times. On one of these times the 'bridge' will collapse, crushing the boat

Puss in the Corner

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

An excellent game for small parties Puss in the corner will have you in paroxysms of delight.The traditional way to play this game is to have one person in each corner of the room. The fifth person, 'Puss', is dressed up as a cat.Corner people agree, using shouts or hand signals, to change corners. As soon as they leave their corner and rush to the next they can not return. Puss must try to get

Jingle Jangle

Monday, May 1, 2006

This party game is a variation on that perennial favourite Blind Man's Buff. I first played this game at the party to celebrate Cedric Toffingdon's going up to Oxford.One person wears a hat that jingles - the 'Jingle Jangle man'. A jester's hat is perfect although any hat with bells will suffice. The rest of the partygoers all wear blindfolds. The first person to grab hold of the Jingle Jangle

Walking Trippy

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Now to one of my favourite indoor game. Maybe its a favourite because I invented it with my dear lamented brother Eustace. The game is for two persons. Each walks towards one another at a reasonable strolling pace and in a direction so that you would pass each other quite closely. The aim is to trip the other person up as you pass. No use of the hand or arm is allowed and one mustn't break one's

Surface Dives

Friday, April 28, 2006

I first played surface dives at Basil deMontegue's party in Mayfair last summer. It's a game of never-ending delight and always elicits jollity.Place an open magazine (the Tatler works well) upright on the floor. Competitors then take turns to balance on one leg and pick the magazine up using only their teeth. No other limb must touch the floor or the magazine.For the more macho party members,

Hands on knees

Thursday, April 27, 2006

This game is utterly foolish but can lead to shouts of laughter. Youngsters especially love it. Everyone sits in a circle on chairs, their hands palm down on their knees. The competitor in the middle of the circle must try to slap one of the hands of the sitters. If he attempts a strike they can quickly remove their hands to the side thereby avoiding the slap on the back of the hand. But, they

Hunt the Feather

If you don't playthis game on a regular basis - well, you must be barmy. Six or more partygoers sit down around a sheet. They each hold the edges to make the sheet taught. A light feather is paced in the middle. One person remains standing outside the group and his aim is to run around the outside and try and grab the feather.The sitters blow the feather to keep it away from the hunter. If he

Lemon Golf

One of my absolutely favourite party games - Lemon Golf. This fantastic game is played with walking sticks and lemons. Simply chalk a course on the floor with circles for holes- or use cardboard cut out circles and see how many shots it takes you to get round. Even the most experienced golfer (say Ralph Guldahl ) will struggle with this game. Novices have just as much chance of winning.

Counting Out Rhymes: No 1

Like you, probably, I love listening to counting out rhymes. The audacious use of cadence, rhyme and onomatopoeia. Obviously 'Eeny Meeny' is both tame and demode. But, here is a modern one I have collected that I quite like. It's use, like most counting rhymes is to designate the person who is eliminated from being 'it'. Continue chanting until only one is left: "It". If only adult choices could

Hat Dance

A perennial party favourite. Easy to play but it always has everyone howling with lupine -like-laughter. Especially the onlookers.Two people wear dunces hats. Each tries to knock off the other persons hat first. Simple. For adults, create extra spice with the addition of a stick each.strange games no: 1 ...category : childrens parties

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