An old game, Quoits goes back to about the 13th century. A "Quoit" is a disc with a hole in the middle; or a large ring 6-10 inches in diameter. The quoit is thrown over a "Hob" or pin sticking about 6-8" out of the ground. The modern-day American variation of the game is horseshoes.

Equipment Needed: 2 Hobs; 2 or more quoits per player.

Play: Drive the two hobs into the ground about 15-30 paces apart. (Distance is strictly up to the players—there is no "official" distance.)

Players stand at one hob and toss their quoits at the other hob. The players will agree beforehand whether one will toss all of his/hers before the opponent tosses or whether the two players will toss alternately.

Scoring: After all quoits are tossed, walk to the other hob and determine who's quoit is closest to the hob. Closest quoit gets 1 point. If a player has more than one quoit closer to the hob than all of the opponents quoits, then they will receive 1 point for each hob closer than those of the opponents. This is known as "Cutting Out."

If a player succeeds in "ringing" the hob with a quoit (so that the hob passes through the hole in the quoit), he is awarded 2 points.

Play continues to some mutually agreed upon score.

Source: Walter Nelson, The Merry Gamester (4th Edition)

Nine Man's Morris

Versions of Nine Man's Morris have been found dating back to ancient Egypt. Also called Merels, the game was very popular in Scandinavia and the British Isles, and is still played today in many parts of the world.

Equipment Needed: Gamesboard; nine "men" in a different color for each player, can be pegs, stones or beans.

Play: Each player alternates placing their nine pegs on the board. If a player places three pieces in a row (called "forming a mill"), one of their opponent's pieces is removed. Once all the pieces have been placed, players take turns moving any one peg to a vacant adjacent hole.

If a player gets three pieces in a row, again, one of their opponent's pieces is removed. A player wins when only two of their opponent's pieces is left, or when their opponent is blocked from further moves.

Source: RTI Heritage Tours website,

Bowls or Lawn Bowling

Equipment Needed: A jack; 2 bowls per player.

Play: A small white ball (the "Jack") is rolled onto the green to act as a target. Each player receives two "bowls" or balls. Players then roll their bowls in turn, trying to place them close to the jack. As the bowls are not perfect spheres, but rather slightly flattened, skill is necessary to roll them in the desired direction and distance. An opponent's bowl, the jack, or your own bowl may be hit on a roll and knocked away. At the end of each round or "end" the player closest to the jack earns the point. A number of points required to win the match is agreed to by the players and play continues until one player wins—normally 16 "ends."

The Compleat Gamester didn't go much into rules of games (most were commonly known). Rather the author discussed the game. As to Bowls:

In bowling there is a great art in chusing his ground, and preventing the windings, hangings, and many turning advantages of the same, whether it be in open wide places...or in close bowling alleys. Where note that in bowling the chusing of the bowl is the greatest cunning. Flat bowls are best for close alleys; round byassed bowls for open grounds of advantage, and bowls round as a ball for green swarths that are plain and level. There is no advising by writing how to bowl, practice must be your best tutor; which must advise you the risings, fallings and all the several advantages that are to be had in divers greens, and bowling-alleys; all that I can say, have a care you are not in the first place rookd out of your money, and in the next place you go not to these places of pleasure unseasonably, that is when your more weighty business and concern require your being at home, or some where else.


Last updated on January 17, 2018.

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