Home Home

What's included on this site and how is it broken down?

I've tried to use some basic rules which I can summarise as follows:

  • Only games with a history that starts prior to 1900. So no Monopoly, no Trivial Pursuit and no Scrabble.
  • Originally, the site only included games that have a modern descendant that is played today. As time has gone on, this rule has become severely bent...
  • No commercial games.
  • No games that involve physical "running around" effort. That comes under my definition of sport as opposed to game. Standing still and aiming is fine.
  • No team sports like football or netball. Although many traditional games can be played in teams, any that are intrinsically team driven have not been included (yet).
  • No games that don't involve accessories of some type. So I won't include running, wrestling, horse-riding or children's pastimes like tag or leap-frog.
  • With a few exceptions, no plain vanilla dice or card games - simply because there is already so much available on those subjects.

Before I receive hundreds of emails on the subject, yes there are some games included that don't follow the rules. The reason for this is that I find them interesting! Exceptions are

  • Tennis (physical)
  • Badminton (physical)
  • Crescendo Games (20th century)
  • The Game of Goose, Halma and Chinese Checkers (commercial)
  • Senet (no modern descendent in my view)
  • Mehen (no modern descendent in my view)

Other games and types of game that I hope to include in the future follow:

  • Marbles
  • Tiddley-winks
  • Golf
  • Spellicans
  • Go-Moku
  • Children's pastimes like Hopscotch, Whip and Top, Yo-yo and Skipping.

The top level categories for this site are broken down into 3 types - Board, Table and Outdoor games. Hopefully, the definitions of these are fairly obvious. Then, because of the importance of the subject, there is a fourth section on Pub Games. Of course, the Pub Games section naturally and deliberately overlaps with the other 3 sections.

I have an old game. How much is it worth?

I haven't a clue! Honestly - I am not an antiques expert and it would be irresponsible of me to hazard a guess. You need to speak to an antiques dealer or an auction house like Sothebys to get a valuation.

I've invented a game. How can I produce and market it?

This author once looked into the subject. The first thing to say is that the majority of game inventors are not successful - there are more people with ideas than opportunities to use them. Successful people in the field are also required to understand all manner of things that they may initially never have come across before and may not be very good at. e.g. sales, marketing, legal and manufacturing to name just the obvious ones.

The second thing to say is that there are numerous sad tales of good ideas being ripped off by the big game companies. If you have a good idea, for heavens sake don't send it to Hasbros or Parker Brothers or any of the other large companies. This author knows two people who did this and were ripped off in completely ruthless fashion and has heard various other similar scare stories. Don't think that big companies have a conscience - they don't. So you need protection, patents and all the accompanying wotnot unless you're very lucky. The simplest way to do this is through an agency who specialises in inventions. They'll make sure you don't fall into any of the obvious pitfalls and ensure that you get your reward if you choose to market your game through a big company.

Of course, the disadvantage is that they'll want their pound of flesh, too. I'm not going to advertise any such agencies on this page by mentioning them but they can be easily found.

For people in the UK, apparently The Toy and Hobby Association on 020 7701 7271 will send you info if you want to design a new game.


Discover Games has a whole load of resources for budding toy and game inventors. American bias and commercial but lots of useful info.

Game Designers Association - SAZ (German but for all Europe I think) represents game designers' interests and rights.


The English and European game market is quite different to the American one. However, one idea might be to obtain the following books by Tom Braunlich: The Inventors guide to game marketing

The art of Game and Toy design

both published by Technical Game Services

239 Wood Av.

Bainbridge Island

WA 98110


I want to make my own game. Have you any plans or advice?

The author has as much manual dexterity as legless hippopotamus. But he's put together a page on Making Games for those with greater skills than himself.

Please can you send me the rules for a particular game?

The author owns an Internet shop called Masters Traditional Games. Please take a look at the Game Rules section on this website - there are dozens of game rules published there and all for free. If you can't find your game rules there, then send the author an email request. The game will be added to the list of rules remaining to be written up. However, please be warned that, due to pressure of work, it could be months or years before they are published.

Please tell me about the author of this website. Is he aware that loads of other websites have copied his work and stolen his pictures without asking and they're making money from them? Is he mad?

Well, yes, he is a bit odd. And he's not particularly chuffed that everyone's stealing his site either but life's too short to worry about people who can't think for themselves. Mainly, I find games and the history of them fascinating and I also think they are a great tool for having fun and bringing people together. So this website is here just to try to generate a bit of enthusiasm for games across the world.