Victorian Games
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These are the sources cited in the Victorian section of the website. If you're curious, they have more details about the games described here as well as other interesting games.

I've also included a list of other helpful books about games and some books about life in general in the Victorian Era. Many of them were written for kids, but I recommend those books for adults, too. For one thing, kids' books are good for getting an introduction to a topic, and for another, they include more pictures. Pictures are not only good for getting a better understanding of what the book is talking about, but they're great for planning costumes for a party.

Hope you've enjoyed the games and the site!


Beaver, Patrick. Victorian Parlor Games. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, 1974.

This book specifically discusses games that were played during the Victorian era. Although most of the book discusses the type of parlor games played at parties, there is also some discussion of card and board games.

Bolton, Lesley. The Everything Games Book. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2005.

This book gives rules for playing various types of games but no historical information.

Burns, Brian, ed. The Encyclopedia of Games. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1998.

This book has a wide variety of games, grouped by game type. It's mostly a general reference about how games are played with mostly a modern focus, but there is some historical information about games as well.

Cassell, Ltd. Cassell's Book of Sports and Pastimes. London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1882.

This is a book from the 1800s that describes many types of sports and games. There are both indoor and outdoor games and instructions for making toys and game equipment. It also discusses various hobbies, like chemistry, and how to keep pets. I couldn't find a physical copy of the book, so I looked it up through Google Books.

The Diagram Group. The Way to Play. New York: Paddington Press Ltd., 1975.

This book contains the rules for many games, both modern and historical, often with a little historical background included.

Greenaway, Kate. Kate Greenaway's Book of Games. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.

This book is a reprint of one that was originally published in 1889. It is a book of games specifically for children, the kind that would be good playground games or for children's parties.

Grunfeld, Frederic V., ed. Games of the World. New York: Ballantine Books, 1975.

This book has both historical information about games from different periods of history and different areas of the world and also gives information on how to make and play the games.

Hofer, Margaret K. The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board and Table Games. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.

This book discusses the history and types of board games that were played in the 19th century and early 20th century in the United States. It has some wonderful pictures of commercially-produced board games but does not offer playable boards or give detailed rules for the games. See the section on Other Game Books for a book that does include playable boards for these games (Great Board Games by Brian Love, which was listed as a source in the bibliography of this book).

The Key to Hoyle's Games. Ottenheimer Publishers, Inc., 1968.

This is a general book of rules for card games. It offers a little historical background for some games, but not much.

McCutcheon, Marc. Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians. Cincinnati, OH: Writer´┐Żs Digest Books, 1993.

This book is meant to be a resource for writers, giving some brief facts about daily life in the 19th century.

Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996.

This book describes many aspects of life in the Victorian era. It also includes a brief history of the era and a chronology of important events.

Mohr, Merilyn Simonds. The New Games Treasury. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.

This book has a wide variety of games, grouped by game type. It's mostly a general reference about how games are played, but it offers historical information about games as well. I particularly like how the author gives sources for certain pieces of historical information.

Morehead, Albert H. and Geoffrey Mott-Smith, eds. Hoyle's Rules of Games. New York: New American Library, Inc., 1963.

This is mostly a book of card games, although it also gives rules for some board games and parlor games. It includes a little historical information for some games but not much.

Parlett, David. The Oxford History of Board Games. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1999.

This book provides detailed historical background for many different board games from different periods of history and areas of the world.

Provenzo, Asterie Baker and Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr. Play It Again. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1981.

This book has historical information and rules for different types of board games from different parts of the world. It provides boards that readers can copy and use.

Schlereth, Thomas J. Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1991.

This book is part of the Everyday Life in America series. It covers many aspects of daily life in the United States between 1876 and 1915.

Other Game Books

The Editors of Klutz Press. The Klutz Book of Card Games for Sharks and Others. Palo Alto, CA: Klutz Press, 1990.

This book came with a set of playing cards and contains the rules for many different card games, including Old Maid, Hearts, Poker, and various solitaire games.

Kalman, Bobbie. Games From Long Ago. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 1995.

This book came describes a number of indoor and outdoor games that were popular in North America during the 1800s.

Love, Brian. Great Board Games. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc.: 1979.

This book contains the rules, game boards, and pieces for games that were commercially-made between 1895 and 1955. Many of the games were ones that were shown or discussed in Hofer's The Games We Played. Now, you can play them yourself! Victorian era games in this collection include: Game of the Man in the Moon, Chivalry, Transvaal (a Fox and Geese variant), Game of Baseball, The Game of Playing Department Store, Office Boy, and Round the World with Nellie Bly.

Sackson, Sid and the Editors of Klutz Press. The Book of Classic Board Games. Palo Alto, CA: Klutz Press, 1991.

This book came with two sets of playing pieces (black and white glass pieces) and a pair of dice so that readers could play on the game boards provided in the book. Among the games included are Checkers, Asalto (under the name Dalmation Pirates and the Volga Bulgars), Solitaire (the board game version), Halma (under the name Hoppers) and Backgammon.

Victorian Life and History

Flanders, Judith. Inside the Victorian Home. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.: 2003.

This book discusses life in Victorian England with a focus on the types of houses people lived in and the different rooms in a house and their uses. The uses of the different rooms touch on different aspects of life including marriage, raising children, medical care, and entertaining guests.

Hughes, Kristine. The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England: From 1811-1901. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books: 1998.

This book is meant as a resource for writers to help them understand basic facts about life during both Regency and Victorian England. It includes details of daily life such as food, clothing, and household goods and information about government and society in general.

Mitchell, Sally, ed. Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia . New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1988.

This is a single volume encyclopedia with short articles about famous Victorians and aspects of Victorian life and culture. There is a chronology of important events in the beginning of the book. There are articles on board and table games (although it's very brief and mainly discusses Chess and Whist), toys, and amusements and recreation (divided into two articles to focus on different social classes). Each article has its own bibliography.

Wilson, Laura. Daily Life in a Victorian House. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press: 1993.

This is a book designed for children to show them what life was like for a typical Victorian family in England. It presents a fictional family and explains their daily routine with explanations of typical Victorian clothing for men and women, the education of children, toys and pastimes for the family, dinner parties, and other topics. Every page has pictures of objects used during the Victorian era. The book also discusses how the servants' lives differed from those of their employers and what life was like for poor people.

Helpful Links

Learning Victorians: Popular Culture

This is an article about popular forms of public entertainment in the Victorian era.

Victorian Clothing & Victorian Dress

This site has pictures and articles about different types of clothing worn during the Victorian era.

Victorian Entertainments: "We Are Amused"

This is a series of short articles about different forms of entertainment enjoyed in the Victorian era, based on an exhibit at the University of Illinois.

Victorian Lives

This is a page from the National Archives site displaying documents and photographs from the Victorian era. At the bottom of the page, there is a sheet for a game called Put the Candle Out, which is another version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Victorian Parlour Games

This page focuses specifically on parlor games, some of which have been discussed on this site, although there are some others that I haven't covered. It's part of a larger site with resources to help teachers plan lessons to teach children about the Victorian era.

Victorian Toys and Victorian Games

This is an article about toys from the Victorian era (it doesn't really have much about games in spite of the title) with pictures of different types of toys. It's part of a large site with information about the lives of children in the Victorian era.

What is the Victorian Era?

In spite of the title, this site mostly discusses clothing. There are links to pictures of different types of clothing from the Victorian era, organized by style periods. On the left side of the page, there are links to sites where viewers can purchase patterns for period clothing and sewing tips for people making costumes.

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