Taking a few days off over the holiday season meant some quality time plonked in front of the woodburner with some old board games. I introduced Joe to a childhood favourite, 'Coppit'. My 'vintage' version is, as you can see, a bit the worse for wear, but it is still a great game, even cut-throat - if a board game can said to be such a thing.
Once he got the hang of it (after one game), he won every game after. But I got repeated revenge with Scrabble and didn't gloat too much.
Another old favourite of mine is 'Tell Me' - I've had this game in various versions almost all my life. The two I have now are from the 50's and 60's. The same game, but with slight differences and not just in the box design.
It's a very basic concept; general knowledge questions are read out, the disc is spun and lands on a letter of the alphabet and the first person to call out a correct answer (or one which isn't disputed) wins the card. Winner is the person with the most cards. Although simple, the spinning disc brings in the element of randomness, so the answers are different every time.
The 1960s version is almost like the one I knew in the 70's, with fairly straightforward questions -
'something in this room' 'name of a member of parliament' 'an advertising slogan' (this one is not included in the 50's version; maybe a sign of the times?)
also 'a word used in radio' (very broad and up for debate) 'a means of communication' and a reflection of the growing prevalence of the one-eyed monster in the room, 'a television personality'.
The 50's version has many of the same questions, but also some odd, almost philosophical ones. We played both games, and this one threw up by far the most interesting discussions and verbal tussles. Here are some choice ones -
'What would you like to become?' - which could be anything from 'a better person', to 'a proper grown up' to 'a postman'.
'What or who annoys you most?' - again, a debatable subject, and dependent on the alphabet letter thrown up. And should the answer be silly or truthful? Should you say any answer so long as it fits the letter, or not answer because you honestly can't think of anything which annoys you beginning with 'X'?
'What or who do you love very much?' - same situation really, and we tended towards the silly and soppy.
'What frightens you?' Do we really want to go here? If the letter was the right one for one's honest answer, it could throw up all kinds of deep confessions, but we decided to stick with anything monster-ish or spooky.
'How do you feel at this moment?' Again, this one can lead onto quite interesting discussions and it's then that you realise how something as simple as a board game can be great conversation makers as well as entertainment.
'Something seen on a country ramble' didn't appear in the 1960's version - maybe it was deemed too old fashioned for the time. A bit 'Enid Blyton'.
'A word reading the same forwards or backwards' is very straightforward, but surprisingly tricky to think of at the time and led to a few drawn out silences as we racked our 21st century brains, more used to Google for the answer to anything.
An original owner of the 50's game had obviously decided to put in their own questions - I have a feeling this may have been 'Dad' as the block lettering is very much like my father's and other men's writing of that time. So we have something a little more modern
'A term used in inter-planetary space travel' - this was an ambiguous beast and some confusion reigned as to what kind of thing precisely fitted the question. I swung it with 'asteroid' but it didn't really feel right.
'Name of your favourite TV programme' - again, a more updated question, so maybe this family had a TV of their own. If so, they may have been quite financially comfortable as not many households at that time had them.
The last two seem to have their own little back story. There is -
'A county cricketer, past or present'
'Not a cricketer but a famous sports person'
I wonder if there was a cricket expert in the family, and the last altered question was put in to give the others a chance? We will never know, but I'm sure we had as much fun playing these old-fashioned games as previous generations have.
Berrington, the 'Teddy Bear of Doom' went up for sale in my Etsy shop and someone loved him enough to buy him. I know he's gone to a fabulous home, though I had to help him with the packing. So it's been a good start to the new year for both of us and I send everyone best wishes for 2016.