Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I want to talk about how the folks in the old west and the Victorian era passed the time with games, magic tricks, and stories. Many of which you could order from a catalog.
Nineteenth-century catalogs carried a variety of goods including games and sporting goods. You could outfit an entire baseball team from a catalog back in the day as well as get your hands on all sorts of toys, games, puzzles, books and other sources of entertainment, including plays! And right now, a lot of us are looking for fun little diversions to keep our eyes off the current global situation for a moment or two.
One thing I’ve noticed on social media this last week is the resurgence of board games, card games, even marbles! But for people in the nineteenth century, this was normal fun stuff they relished and enjoyed.
There were even prequels to some familiar games we have today. There was the Nineteenth-century version of the Game of Life. Only back then it was called Game of Life’s Mishaps. And naturally, they had The Monopolist, from which a description reads: On this board, the great struggle between Capital and Labor can be fought out to the satisfaction of all parties, and, if the players are successful, they can break the Monopolist, and become Monopolists themselves. I wonder if it took as long to play as our modern game of Monopoly does!
They also had moral games such as The Pilgrim’s Progress. Like the aforementioned games, these were often sold three games in one game board. Game of Life’s Mishaps also included a game called Domine Rex and Diamonds and Hearts. The Monopolist also included a game called Ten-Up and Mariner’s Compass. Pilgrim’s Promise came with Going to Sunday School and Tower of Babel.
There were all sorts of magic tricks and the paraphenalia needed to perform them. And, there were board games from back then that I’ve never seen or heard of. Maybe you have. Quoits, Tight Rope Dancing, Croquet, Naval Engagement (a predecessor to Battleship, perhaps?) Bear Hunt, Rabbit Hunt, Fishing, The Pearl Divers, Falconry, Spider and Fly, LeapFrog, and Duck Shooting. Two games were advertised to come with all of these individual games, Morrice and Archery, creating three games for the price of one. The price? .75 cents.
What board games do you remember? Are there any that you can’t find anymore? Which ones do you still like to play? How about we play the game of I’m giving away a signed copy of Dear Mr. Weaver to a random winner from the comments? Ha ha! But yeah, that is my giveaway!