Old Fashioned Fun and a Give Away!

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!

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Kit Morgan is the author of over 100 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!

62 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Fun and a Give Away!”

  1. Good morning Kit- I Loved this History information on games. I often fear today’s young kids will not ever understand the fun of board games we all had WAY BEFORE cell phones and computers.
    My favorite was monopoly growing up, I also loved to play Uno, Any type of card games, And dominos.
    I also love to ouch quarters, throw washers, and play horseshoes.
    Thanks for bringing back the memories.
    Stay safe and well!

  2. Thanks for the info Kit. With 7 kids back in the day we played board games regularly. They now have their own families and have board game night once a week. I enjoyed Monopoly & Battleship.

  3. I remember playing Battleship with my Brother. I even still play occasionally with my daughters that are in Memphis Tennessee only now we play on our phones. Back then I never would have dreamed I would be playing virtually with someone in another state. WoW how things have changed. I also remember Monopoly. Checkers was one I played a lot with my Daddy and I never could beat him. Life has became so fast passed and no one slows down. Maybe this is why this pandemic has hit the world to make us slow down and see what’s really important. God & Family!! I pray no one I know gets this dreaded virus and I also pray it will soon end and that Nobody else will get it ever again

    • My brother had Battleship and he’d get so mad when my sister and I would sneak into his room and try to play it. He was always afraid we’d lose some of the pieces. And I share your prayer, Glenda. Let’s get this thing under control!

  4. Good morning! What a fun blog! Those old games are so funny looking. I had a game board as a child that was double sided, was about 3ft × 3ft, you could play checkers, chess, carroms, pool, pursuit, shuffleboard, backgammon and several other games that I can’t remember. I had to look and this can be bought again it’s called a Carrom board. I remember playing battleship, payday, sorry, ratrace, headache, mastermind, shenanigans, mad, parchesse, oh my I could go on and on. I was one of 6 and when we lived in Tennessee and Kentucky as kids. We lived in town where were the go to house in Kentucky especially on rainy days because we had so many more games than most kids did and we lived smack dab in the middle of the drag. In Kentucky we even had a pooltable and our game room was big enough to skate or play on our skateboards, even though we weren’t supposed to. The gameroom was on the third level of our bi-level house so the stairs to the gameroom were a small danger for skating or skateboarding. Lol. Oh my, kids today do not know the true joys of childhood we had both indoors and out. Thank you for the fun walk down memory lane! I’d love the opportunity to read your book.

    • Yes, we did have fun, didn’t we? They don’t know what they’re missing. I had a Parshesse game growing up and Sorry. We also had games like Operation, Ghost, and Mousetrap. Not board games but still a whole lotta fun! Your game room growing up sounds awesome!

  5. Good morning Kit, love your blog . I was an only child growing up, so I learned to play both sides of the board games . I always seem to win HaHa, but my favorite was Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble , and I was ecstatic when Operation came out. I learned though I was never going to be a doctor!!
    My daughter and her family still play board games, they live family time. I hope there are still families out there right (now in this hard time ) playing board games !!

    • I forgot about Trouble! And yes, Operation proved many of us inept at doctoring! And it’s good to see board games being used again and helping folks get through this.

  6. Hi Kit!
    I love board games! Growing up without a TV in the house we played several board games. Chinese checkers, Game of Life, Scrabble and Dominoes were my favorites. All of our family would play rummy Sunday dinner. Imagine 7 adults sitting at the dining table laughing and trying to outdo one another playing with two decks of cards. It could get a bit crazy at tomes. This brought back great memories. Thank you for that!
    What I meant to write about was your book cover above Dear Mr. Weaver. Daniel is just as I pictured him. Another set of great memories with each story of the Weavers! Love them all!
    Please don’t include me in your give away as I already have most all of your wonderful and greatly entertaining stories in my Kindle library. 😉
    Take care and Stay Well,
    Janie McCarty

    • We had Life growing up too! And yes, Harlequin did a great job picking the right model for Dear Mr. Weaver. They did great with Dear Mr. Turner and Dear Mr. Comfort too!

  7. Yes games very familiar from childhood are becoming popular again due to out forced quarantine. Thanks

  8. How about these …. Candyland, Chinese Checkers, Checkers, and Backgammon. I play Checkers with the grands one in a while. Thanks Kit for a walk down memory lane. Loved it!

  9. We didn’t have board games we were outside playing tag, hidenseek, baseball and taking walks or riding bicycles. Red rover and hopscotch.

  10. We use to play the board game Aggravation a lot or spend half the night playing Rook card game. I always enjoyed it.

  11. We could not afford board games when I was growing up. We did have cards, except when we fought over them and then they went in the fire.

  12. A friend of mine had the game Mystery Date. I loved it so much! Of course, they don’t make the old version anymore. I think there was a newer version made with fake cell phones, but it just wasn’t the same.

  13. I loved Stratego, Parchesi, and Life growing up. I now play Monopoly with one of my great-nieces and a great-nephew. They also want to play Yhatzee the next time they come over, and I want play the Monopoly card game with them, as it doesn’t take as long as the board game!

  14. Welcome. This is a fun post. I love seeing the pictures of these games. I remember playing a number of games that are no longer available or have changed. And honestly to me, those that have changed (I bought for our children) were no fun for me. I guess I was thinking of the past and it didnt measure up in my mind. But the kids liked them. And that was the purpose. I have seen some games change over my time and I find it interesting.

    • Yes, they change them as society and culture changes. LIke Jess mentioned in her comment about Mystery Date. My sister had that game in the 60s. She said they upgraded it and it now has cell phones!

  15. We played a lot of cards. Our neighbors, right across the road, did it more. So my best friend over there, I’d go play Nerts with her and her family and come home and I was like LIGHTNING. Then my whole family would get faster, then we’d start to slow down, and then one of us would go play with Krogers again and come back fast.

  16. My cousins and I loved monopoly and sorry. Also played cards. I also liked to make houses from old playing cards. Played a lot of board games with my children as they were growing up. Now play newer versions of monopoly with great grandkids.

    • I still can’t get over that they made a Monopoly card game! And of course they have a Monopoly version of all sorts of things. One of the funniest ones is Old-age-opoly. It’s hilarious.

  17. We played lots of board and card games growing up. Some favorites were Aggravation, Sorry, Monopoly, SkipBo, and Phase 10. My 8 year old son has fallen in love with Aggravation now, so we’ve played that many times over the past couple of weeks. 🙂

  18. I didn’t grow up playing games. I do remember the stories of my Daddy’s sister that played Canasta. I never learned the game.

  19. I love board games and still have most of them from my childhood. One of that I didn’t like playing but makes me laugh now is “The Honeymooners” board game based off of the TV show. I didn’t know what the TV show was, but my parents loved it and bought the game for us kids in the 80s. Unfortunately, my husband won’t play board games with me since he says I always win! I can, however, usually talk a kid into a game of Connect Four at least.

  20. Our family LOVES to play games. It is our favorite way to spend a Sunday after we go to church ?. As a child I played hopscotch and jacks on the playground. Today our favorite games are: Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island, Castles, Splendor, and Azul. Card games we like are: Wizard, Sleeping Queens (kids game), Play Nine, Dragonwood, Five Crowns, Karma, Monopoly Deal, and Rage.

    • Wow, Minette, I’ve never heard of a lot of the modern games you mentioned. But then, my kids are grown and we have our standard games we take camping every year.

  21. My sister and I spent a lot of time playing board games when we were young. Our supply was limited so Monopoly (which could go on forever) and Sorry! were our favorites. We played board games with our children and then grandchildren, but great-grandchildren are quite as enthused – want it all on the tablet!

  22. Oh yeah, the “tablet” but I must say I play a few games on the tablet to give my brain a rest from writing. Still, interactive games with other people sitting around a table are a lot more fun.

  23. Monopoly and Scrabble were always favorites of ours. We still play Scrabble as a family when we all get together, but I haven’t played Monopoly in several years.

  24. My mom’s family was Plain, from Lancaster County, and didn’t have TVs. So we always played board games and puzzles when visiting.

  25. We love scrabble, we play a dice game called Farkel, our children are quite competitive, we are always playing something, pinochle, rummy, ho fish. We play trivia from various categories. Something we play from our phones or Alexa is song quiz. We have monthly family game night, we have 9 children & 5 grandchildren we never get to play all the games we want.

  26. I had heard of Quoits before and played something similar. I thought Spider and Fly sounded familiar, so looked it up. A board game of that name came out in the 1930’s and a modern version is still available. More interesting is the card game of the same name that preceded it in 1887. The cards are pretty, but if you don’t like spiders, you might want to avoid them.
    When I was younger, we played cards, mostly Canasta, and Monopoly. When our children were young we played all the usual – Chutes a & Ladders, Life, Candyland, etc. Today Sequence, Scrabble, Tripoly, Monopoly (a variety of them – regular, National Parks, Air Force, and UF) and Trivial Pursuit. I would love to find some of the old board games you featured. I have an old game from the turn of the century (1900 or so). It is packed away and I don’t remember the name of it. I never did try to play it.
    Thanks for an interesting post. Stay safe and healthy.

  27. I love playing checkers, monopoly, chinese checkers, Bible Trivia, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Trivia Pursuit, Sorry, Life, Scrabble, I still play all of these with my Grandchildren and they love them and so do I . There’s still more that I have forgotten to write, but we enjoy them all. Connect 4, I could go on and on. Have a Great week, stay safe. God Bless you and your family. Thank you for the chance.

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