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Victorian Era Parlor Games

Long before television, radio and movies became the source of entertainment; a number of games were invented in Victorian times to amuse people during leisure time. But those games which involved engaging children in activities that fatigued them were not approved by parents.

Hence indoor games were preferred. During the Victorian era, the games which were played indoor was popular among the public. The indoor games were usually played with the guests in the best room in the house, which was the parlour. Thus derived the name- parlor games!


Here is a list of popular Victorian parlor games

Blindmans wand – This game tests your skills in identification and disguise. In this game, one player (blindfolded) holds the wand and the each of the other players holds the other end one at a time. The blind player should identify the person holding the other end. The game is a variation of blind man’ss bluff.


Twenty questions One of the most popular games of the Victorian century the game of twenty questions is still popular. In this game, one player thinks of a person, thing or a place and the others try to guess what he thinks by asking questions which would give an answer in the form of yes or no. The game ends if the twenty questions are asked or if the player discovers what the player was thinking of.

Deerstalker– In this game there are two players who are blindfolded. One is a deer and the other a stalker. The deer and stalker are taken to the opposite ends of a large table by the spectators. Then the game begins when they are directed by the crowd to move around the table. The stalker has to catch the deer and the deer should escape from the clutches of the stalker.

Dumb Crambo– The game of the secret word! The game is played by two teams. One of the teams chooses a secret word among them and tells the other team a word which rhymes with the secret word. The other team has to act out the secret word.

I have a basket In this game players firstly form a circle and the game begins when one announces: I have a basket. Then the next asks what is inside? Then the next person has to name something that begins with the letter A and the other has to name a word which begins with the letter B. A person has to leave the game when he/she cannot think of a word that begins with the letter which falls on their turn.

There are various other Victorian parlour games which involve word-play, exercise, dramatic skill, and logic such as Cupids Coming, Taboo, Jackstraws, Tiddly winks etc. Most of these games are competitive are usually does not require any equipment. But the most exquisite feature of the parlor game for the children is the reward Admiration of peer group. For children, there is nothing greater than their friends admiring them.

Victorian Christmas parlour games

There were several parlour games played during Christmas times. Here are some examples. There are more examples.


In this parlour game, one player needs to think of the name of an object.

The other players try to discover what it is by asking (only once) the following four questions:

  • How do you like it?
  • Why do you like it?
  • When do you like it?
  • Where do you like it?

Player 1 must answer the questions truthfully. The person who guesses correctly wins, and then takes the role of Player 1.


This is an all time classic Victorian game familiar to most people.


The host shows everyone a little knick-knack in the room. All the guests are to leave while the host hides it. When they return, everyone is to look for the item until they spot it. They are then to sit down. The last one to find it loses (or has to be “it”).


1. All players sit in a circle at the start of this cool game

2. Each player takes it in turns to say “Ha”, “Ho” or “Hee”.

3. The first player to start laughing loses and is out of the game.

4. Continue until everyone is out of the game.

5. The person who manages not to laugh for the longest is the winner


1. Choose one player to be The Sculptor.

2. All other players stand in a still position.

3. The Sculptor must then move the other players into strange poses that are difficult to hold.

4. The other players must not laugh, break pose or move.

5. The Sculptor can distract the other players and encourage them to laugh, but they must not touch them.

6. The first player to move or laugh, loses and becomes The Sculptor.


Each person uses the dictionary in turn to look up a word and writes down the real, simple definition and then makes up two or three other definitions. The word and the definitions are read to the rest of the players and each player has to guess the correct one. The player gets points for each person he/she fools. The dictionary makes as many arounds as you would like, and the player with the most points at the end wins.

Example: Somnambulist

a. a person who practices rituals

b. a person who likes to be alone

c. a person who sleepwalks

d. a person who is solemn and serious