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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

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