The 10 weirdest vintage games


Whether you need ideas for a party or just a quiet evening in with the family, everybody loves a good game, but there are plenty of classic ones that run the risk of being forgotten. So turn off the TV and try your hand at one of these vintage games. It’s fun, the old-fashioned way!

Image source: pink candy

1. The Flour Game

Based on an old game called ‘bullet pudding’ (which, surprisingly, involved a bullet), The Flour Game is just fantastic, as long as you don’t mind making a mess! Mould a mound of flour using an upside-down mixing bowl and place a coin gently on the top. All the players then take turns to slice off parts of the flour tower, making sure that the coin doesn’t fall. If it does, the game is over and the loser has to root out the coin using only their teeth!


2. Are you there, Moriarty?

You may have heard of Moriarty - Sherlock Holmes’ arch enemy - but how he ended up as the namesake of this game is anyone’s guess! It’s very easy to play: just take two players, blindfold them and give them each a rolled up newspaper. One player calls out, “Are you there, Moriarty?”, the other shouts, “Yes!” and then the first player attempts to hit them round the head with their paper. It’s the perfect last-minute game when things go quiet at a party and only a bit of casual violence can save the mood.


3. Blind man's buff

Whilst the blindfolds are out, why not have a good old-fashioned game of Blind Man’s Buff? This time only one person is blindfolded and it’s up to them to run around, trying to touch the other players. As soon as they grab someone, it’s that person’s turn to be the chaser! This game dates back to ancient China, so it really doesn’t get more vintage than this, and it’s ideal for garden parties, where you can’t trip over the furniture.


4. Hot cockles

Hot Cockles is an adaptation of Blind Man’s Buff (just in case that game wasn’t adrenaline-fuelled enough for you). Out comes the blindfold again, but this time the blindfolded person has to sit down while everyone else takes it in turns to kick them. It’s up to that poor unfortunate player to guess who just kicked them and, once they guess correctly, the person they picked becomes the new victim. Really not one for players who are likely to get carried away - on second thoughts, perhaps this one is best left in the past...


5. The Laughing Game

Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha. Are you laughing yet? You will be when you play The Laughing Game! Get everyone to sit in a circle and take it in turns to say “Ha”. Go around the circle, with each person adding an extra “Ha” each time, and make sure you absolutely keep a straight face. If you crack up you’re out of the game, and you’ll probably be surprised how many people drop out almost immediately. This game makes a great icebreaker - you’ll all be giggling like idiots in no time!


6. The Game of the Sociable Snake

You’re swallowed by a snake and have to work your way through its body to make your escape. Not the stuff of light-hearted party games you might think, but this is exactly the premise behind The Game of the Sociable Snake and it has been hugely popular since the days of ancient Egypt! Quite why this vicious snake is known for its sociability, goodness only knows, but for family get togethers forget Monopoly and Cluedo: break out this game instead. 


7. Ouija board

We’ve all seen movies with ouija boards, where the glass moves across the board spelling out messages from the ‘spirit world’. Of course, it’s actually the users’ subconscious movements operating the glass, but it’s still a hugely popular pastime, especially for a creepy Halloween party. You should be able to get your hands on a board quite easily, so gather your most superstitious friends and have a go at communing with ghosts!


8. Aunt Sally

Aunt Sally is a traditional fairground game and the one essential prop is this scary-looking doll. It’s supposed to be the head of an old woman, clasping a clay pipe between her teeth, and the aim of the game is to chuck sticks at the figure until the pipe breaks. It’s like a coconut shy, but freakier! A little strange, maybe, but it could be a lot worse - they used to play this with a live chicken (and the chicken was the prize!).


9. Dwile flonking

Dwile flonking. You probably can’t guess what it’s all about from the name (unless you’ve flonked a few dwiles before), but it is a hugely popular pub game. Divide up into two teams: one team dances around the other, while the non-dancing team uses a stick to throw a beer-soaked cloth (or dwile) at them. Whether you prefer throwing wet rags or getting hit in the face with them, it’s best to play this one outside to save the carpets.


10. Barrel rolling

Dating back to the 18th century, when television was just a distant dream, a fantastic pastime - nay, sport - was barrel rolling. Take one barrel, lay it on its side and roll it along a pre-designed course. The first person over the finish line is the winner. It’s as simple as that! Time was you could step up the difficulty and the danger by standing on top of the barrels and walking them along the course, but it’s probably safer to push your barrel (if you can get your hands on one!).

If you need any more retro gaming inspiration, check out DotComGiftShop’s full range of vintage toys and games.