Parlour games by definition are played indoors (thus parlour and that being Old-fashioned a living room especially one kept tidy for the reception of visitors) and whilst groups of children are mean’t to be involved they could well just be adults.
They proved to be very popular in Victorian times, they usually involve word play, memory, dramatic skill and physical activity and I guess we would see these as educational games, indeed ‘some of the verbal games are surprisingly complex and require an extensive vocabulary’.
So here are some more collected together for you from all over the place:
Simple fun, this: hang a sheet across the room, put a single candle on a table behind it, and turn out the lights. One person sits in front of the sheet while everyone else passes between the sheet and the candle, and the person in front has to guess who each of them is. The shadows can disguise themselves in any way they want to, but if they are correctly identified they have to pay a forfeit.
This game had the admirable dual purpose of poking fun at the Germans and making everyone fall over in a heap, which suggests that it should be as much fun today as it ever was. The players stood in a line like soldiers on parade and were given various commands by the “Captain” (” Fold arms!”, “Tweak noses!”, “Do your Gladstone impression!” etc), which they performed in unison. When they’d had as much fun as they could cope with they were given the commands “Ground left knee!” (kneel on one knee) and then “Present arms!” (hold your arms out in front of you) after which the soldier at the right end of the line, who was an accomplice of the Captain, pushed the soldier next to him over – and hopefully the whole line collapsed like a row of dominoes.
The host shows everyone a little knick-knack in the room. All the guests are to leave while the host hides it. When they return, everyone is to look for the item until they spot it. They are then to sit down. The last one to find it loses (or has to be “it”). It makes it a bit more difficult if guests continue to mill for a few seconds before they sit down. You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile. One person is selected to be “it.” That person is the only one in the group who is allowed to smile. He or she can do anything they want to try and get someone to smile. If the Continue reading »