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History Of Indoor Games, History of games

The History of indoor Games can be credited to the great Household games inventor - John Jaques the third. Read about Playing Cards, Draughts, Snakes and Ladders, Pub games, Table games, Cribbage and Dominoes.


Indoor Games History

The phrase "History of indoor Games" and  "Parlour Games" conjures up cozy Victorian scenes of extended families amusing themselves with musical interludes and the playing of card games, board games and chess. Classic games such as Happy Families, Tiddley-Winks, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders - games still so familiar today that few people can recall their origin, or indeed believe that any one person invented them! One person did, John Jaques II.


History of Cards
Card games were co-created with playing cards themselves and may have been invented by the Chinese when they began shuffling paper money into various combinations. Though where and when cards originated is uncertain, China does seem the most likely place to have invented cards, and the 7th to the 10th century the earliest probable time playing cards appeared.

The history of English playing cards dates probably from the mid 15th century, the first documentary evidence of their existence in this country occuring in an Act of Parliament which, upon the petition of domestic card makers, prohibited the import of foreign cards.

A board game appeared called "Draughts" in Great Britain. it was was discovered in the ruins of the ancient city of Ur in modern day Iraq.
This board game dates to about 3000 B.C. Checkers as we know it today has been around since 1400 B.C. In Egypt, a similar game was called Alquerque.

Chess originated in Persia and India about 4000 years ago. A very early form of chess was called Chaturanga, a four handed game played with dice.

Chess pieces were carved miniature elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers.

Modern Chess as we know it today is about 2000 years old.

The Persians and Arabians called the game Shatranj. Chess and cards were introduced to North America by Christopher Columbus.

Cribbage is a card game invented in the early 1600s by the English poet and courtier, Sir Richard Swiveller.

The word "Domino" is a French word for a black and white hood worn by Catholic priests in winter.

Domino Games
The oldest domino sets date from around 1120 A.D. Dominoes, as most of the Western world knows them, however, appear to be a Chinese invention. The name of the inventor cannot be traced.
The History of Dominos
The game appeared first in Europe in 18th Century Italy, possibly in the courts of Venice and Naples. Although domino tiles are clearly of Chinese inheritance, there is debate over whether the game played by Europeans was brought by the Chinese to Europe in the fourteenth century or, in fact, was invented independently.

Table Games
The history of table games discussed in this website include Carrom from Asia, the Billiards family including Snooker and the American derivatives, Pool and Carom Billiards, the Shovelboard and Shove Ha'penny family and the table-top versions of Skittles, Indoor Quoits and Bagatelle.


Pub Games
The history of English pub games and other unabashedly traditional English pastimes: Dominoes, Cribbage, Quoits, Shove Ha'penny, Billiards and Snooker, Skittles, Darts and a few splendidly eccentric extras for good measure like Ringing the Bull and Aunt Sally.


Board Games

John Jaques' son was the ingenious mind behind most of these indoor pursuits, inventing Happy Families, Tiddley -Winks, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders - and developing a very large demand for dominoes, draughts and backgammon, all of which the company produced. While JJ One (as the family refer to him) will always be recognized for his major contribution to chess, the subject of a subsequent chapter, the son was undoubtedly his father's equal in imagination, craftsmanship and enterprise.


Snakes and Ladders

Tenniel's memorable drawings of Mr Bun the Baker, Mr Grits the Grocer and so on, are at the heart of children's enjoyment of Happy Families. It was John II's foresight to commission him at an early stage in his career. Tenniel would later become Sir John Tenniel as a result of a truly illustrious career as chief cartoonist of Punch. Tenniel, of course, also brought Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland so vividly to life.


History of Patchesi Board Game

John II's (John Jaques the second) originality and business acumen were rewarded with the Freedom of the City of London in 1869. This was richly deserved, for this same man who lightened long evenings with new and clever indoor pursuits also taught the world to play croquet.