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Mirth and Dancing
Table Games


I

A bare table is wanted for these three simple but strenuous and hilarious games. Should the table be rounded at the ends but oblong, the chances are all the more varied. Should it be round the players can range themselves all round it, with a chalk tick or a strip of stamp-paper to mark where the diameter comes, dividing the sides. If the table is rectangular the players must confine their beginnings to either end.

A scrap of stamp-paper is stuck in the centre. Each player has two draughts (black one for one side, white for the other) or, if there are no draughts available, one side plays with two halfpence apiece, the other with two pennies (or superior players may resort to sixpences and shillings, or even to half-crowns and florins). Colours or coins are first tossed for, then there is a second toss for the start. The draughts or coins are ranged, two at a time on either side as if on a shovehalfpenny board, each one being only half on the table. Everybody plays their two in turn, side and side about. Thirteen points is game. Anybody making a bull - i.e. covering or partly covering, but not merely touching the stamp-paper, scores 13 for his side. Failing this, the side that comes nearest to the stamp-paper counts one for that counter and for every other counter that is nearer than any of the other side's, but not for any counter that has a successful rival on the other side. This means that while only one side scores, it may be kept from scoring more than a single point in one game. When coins are used they change sides with each game.

II

Goals are chalked at either end of the table and a marble is put on the centre sticking-plaster. The players kneel behind the goals (as many as the table will accommodate, or singly) and try to make a goal by blowing the marble.

III

Four players stand at the four corners of a rectangular table that has a coin placed on sticking-paper in the centre. They bounce an old tennis-ball transversely across the table, trying to dislodge the coin, while the man at the other corner catches the ball and has his try in returning it. If possible there should be two tennis balls, one for each pair of cross corners, as this saves passing the ball from hand to hand and makes the game faster. An alternate shot and return is allowed to each pair of cross-players, these being partners. Or each man may play for himself, the score being thirteen.

FLOOR GAMES

I

The same as above, but the coin, preferably a shilling, is placed on the floor at one end of the room, while the players, divided into two sides, take their stand at the other end and try to dislodge the coin with the ball. Only one tennis-ball is needed for this.

II

Instead of the coin, put a cap or hat in the middle of the room, range the players at equal distances round it and give them either two playing-cards or two coins apiece. These they try to throw into the hat, one at a time as the turns pass. Or one player may deal with a whole pack of cards at a time, taking, of course, each card singly.