Catch the Tail

A primitive playground game guaranteed to raise a chortle, Catch the Tail also works well at parties.
All players form a line with each holding the player in front's waist. The object of the game is for the head of the line to try and catch the tail - and the object for the tail is to escape. This necessarily, turns the players just behind the leader into his helpers and those near the tail player into his helpers. Players near the middle are in it just for the ride.
As soon as the leader catches the tail he becomes the new tail himself and the game continues.
A top game for at least six players.

If there are many people wanting to play then form two equal lines of players - each line has to catch the other line's tail man.

Weird Web:Video of a stripey cat chasing it's tail
strange games no:34...category: playground games STUPID GAMES


Aeroplanes is a trick party game that can probably only be played once (unless one keeps participants out of the room until it is their turn)
Two strong men are required to hold a plank of wood a few inches above the floor. The partygoer /'pilot' / 'victim' is then blindfolded and helped onto the plank. He stands on it and supports himself by placing his hands on the shoulders of the two carriers.
The carriers then proceed to make aeroplane noises and whilst wobbling the plank slightly they crouch down as low to the floor as possible. To the victim, whose hands remain on their shoulders, it appears that they are lifting him higher above the floor.
The carriers then stop their aeroplane noises and announce that the engine has failed and the 'pilot' must jump. What feels to the blindfolded 'pilot' to be three or four feet is merely a matter of inches.

I remember playing this with "Topper" Smythe-Wilkenson at a party to celebrate his entry into the RAF.

Weird Web:Plane Crash Info - Incredible site:plane crash database, strange accidents, famous deaths by decade
strange games no:33 ....category: party games STUPID GAMES

Counting Out Rhymes. No.3

Who is going to be 'it'? There is only one way to decide: a counting out rhyme.
If you are young now then I expect you will be using a contemporaneous rhyme such as this:

Ip /dip /dation /
My /op - er - at - ion /
How /many /trains /are /at /the /stat-ion /

Then that person gives a number. Carry on counting around the circle and the person you land upon is it.

Now one from school days long ago:

Intery / mintery / cutery / corn/
Apple / seed / and / apple / thorn/
Wine / brier / limber / lock /
Five / geese / in / a / flock/
Sit and sing / by a spring /
O / U / T / and / in /again/

strange games no.32...category:counting out rhytmes STUPID GAMES

Party Animals

Party Animals is an entertaining game that soon has people descending into helpless laughter.
Everyone sits in a circle. The leader passes a toy dog to the first person on his left and says to them,
"I found this dog."
"This what?" says the first person
"This dog." says the leader.

The first person then passes the dog to the second person and repeats,
"I found this dog."
"This what?" says the second person
"This what?" says the first person back to the leader.
"This dog" says the leader
"This dog." says the first person to the second.

And so on ,the same pattern, the list of "This what's" getting longer the further the dog is away from the leader.
But what makes this game a true classic is that as soon as the leader has given the person on his left the dog he gives the person on his right a toy cat and says,
"I found this cat."
"This what? " says the first person on the right.
"This cat."

...and so on...

The real fun starts once the cat and dog cross in the circle, as people try and remember whether it's a dog, cat ,which is right, which is left, where they are......

I was once at a party where several people had to have a lie down in a darkened room after playing Party Animals.

Weird Web:Drunkonia-photos of drunk americans organised by state
strange games no:31...category: party games STUPID GAMES

Thimble Soccer

One dull, rainy afternoon whilst Nanny was sewing I spied a whole set of metal thimbles in her sewing basket...shortly afterwards Thimble Soccer was born.
Find an old table that doesn't mind being scratched and chalk out a soccer pitch onto it. Fashion some goal posts out of cotton reels. It can be useful to form a border all the way around the table using cardboard strips to stop the ball coming off too easily.

It's good to play one against one but two players per side is optimum. Each player has four thimbles - one each on the index and middle finger of each hand. A ping pong ball makes a good football.
Rules are as for normal soccer. Each player must keep both index and middle fingers on the table whenever the ball is in play (there are no flying players) and mustn't slide his fingers around but 'run' them along the table top as if they were legs.

strange games no:30 ...category:indoor games STUPID GAMES

Blindman's Circle

A perfect game for small parties requiring stealth and cunning. In Blindman's Circle the partygoers sit in a circle. In the middle one person is blindfolded and sits on a stool. All players are allocated a number which they must remember. The middle player calls out two numbers of his choosing - those two people must now swap places without being touched by the middle man. He must remain seated, extend his arms and try and touch them as they move.
Obviously the circle needs to be set so that the middle man has every chance to catch players.
If he misses he must call out two more numbers, if he is successful then change places.
For a new middle man (who will remember which numbers were where) everyone should keep their numbers but rearrange where they sit to start with.

Strange Games no.29...category: party games STUPID GAMES


Another strange game devised by myself in my youth. Bucketheads is an hilarious yet asinine game for two (or possibly more) people.
Two players place an object on the floor preferably somewhere near the edge of the room. The object can be anything that is easily recognisable.
They then go to the centre of the room and each places a plastic bucket over their heads. The bucket should act as a partial blindfold enabling each player to see some but not much of the floor. It is also quite disorientating. The players then hold hands and spin around a set number of times. The point of this is for the players to further lose their orientation and a little of their balance but not to be totally dizzy.

The race is then on to find the object first.
As well as fun to play it is also fun to observe two of your friends staggering wildly around the room wearing buckets and crashing into each other.

Bucketheads - the product of a bored yet fertile mind.

strange games no.28...category: indoor games

Slapsies / Slaps

If Rock, Paper, Scissors is the king of playground hand games then Slapsies is its boorish, dysfuntional, half-brother. I first remember it being played in the 1940's but its popularity fluctuates and presently it is making something of a comeback.
For two people, both hold their hands as if praying but with arms stretched in front and fingertips touching. Each takes it in turn to try and slap the back of one of their opponents hands before they can be withdrawn. If they succeed they get another go. If they miss, their opponent has their turn.
If a player withdraws their hands three times when a slap has not been attempted then their opponent has a free slap (very painful).
Slapsies has an uncultivated relation, namely Knuckles. Here players touch fists and the aim is to strike your opponent on the top of his fist with your knuckles before he can withdraw.

strange games no 27...category: playground games STUPID GAMES

Human Croquet

It's a lazy August afternoon and you are sitting on the veranda sipping a cool Pimms when the party host shouts, "Anyone for Human Croquet?"
The perfect summer garden game, Human Croquet necessitates a large number of people. Ten pairs of people form the hoops by facing each other, raising their arms in the air and clasping hands; leaving enough space between their bodies for the 'ball' to pass through. The 'ball' is a partygoer who is blindfolded. His partner, the 'player', must direct his 'ball' through the ten hoops in sequence and before any opponent teams to win. The player moves the ball by standing behind him, turning him in the intended direction, then saying 'GO'. No further commands can be given (or contact made) except a 'STOP' command.
Teams take it in turns to play and the ususal croquet rules can apply. If you get your 'ball' through a hoop you get another turn. If your ball hits an opponent's, they stay where they are whilst you get another go.
Chin chin!

strange games no. 26 ...category: garden games STUPID GAMES

Circular Skipping

A game that I fear has almost died out; to win at circular skipping requires timing and not a little stamina.
One person has a good rope a few yards long, the end of which has a small weight attached. This man must crouch down and spin the rope around a few inches above the floor (he will have to keep changing hands to keep the rope spinning). The competitors form a circle outside of the rope and when the centre man shouts "skip" they must all enter the zone of the spinning rope.
Any player whose legs become entangled is eliminated. Last man standing is the winner (as well as being completely out of breath).
For the more competitive partygoers the centre man can heighten the rope to about knee high.

strange games no: 25 ... party games STUPID GAMES

Drinking Competition

A endearingly simple yet always engrossing party game. Drinking Competition seems to have fallen out of favour in recent times. It can be played either by everyone simultaneously or as a relay for two or more teams.
Each person is given a water tumbler filled to the brim with water and a teaspoon. The first person to drink all the water using only the spoon is the winner. This will take significantly longer than you would initially think.
Obviously, there is an adult version of this game...many are the happy hours I've played it at Mrs Mulligan's Gin Palace.

Chin chin!

strange games. no:24...category: party games STUPID GAMES

Feeding Time

A great long lost childrens' party game ; in what other game can you find sweets and bray like a donkey.
Best played in the home, divide the partygoers into teams of two. One team member takes on the role of an easily imitated animal:cat, dog, horse, cow, chicken, etc. The other team member is its keeper and is given a paper bag. The party host will have beforehand hidden copious quantities of sweets around the house. It is the animals task to find them. All the animals leave the room and upon finding a sweet they must call for their keepers using their animal voices. The keeper then has to find his animal from its noises alone and collect the sweet in his bag. The keeper then remains where he finds himself and sets his beast off on another search. The animal/keeper team with the most sweets is the winner.

strange games. no:22 ...category: party games STUPID GAMES

Table Hockey

An energetic and fun game for a rainy day. Table hockey requires an old smooth table that doesn't mind if it gets a scratch or two, a supply of teaspoons (not Mama's best silver ones), cotton reels and a checkers counter for the puck.
Teams can contain 1, 2 or more players (5 is the most I've played in but it was a rather large table); each has a teaspoon which he holds with the rounded side downwards on the table the object being to shoot the 'puck' into the opponents goals which are formed from two cotton reels. All the customary hockey rules should apply or one can invent more unusal ones.
Be careful of bruised fingers

strange games. no:23...category: indoor games STUPID GAMES

Ankle Battle

Another marvelous game from my childhood. To be successful at Ankle Battle you will need the balance of a cat and strong muscles.
It's a game for two players at a time. Each faces the other then each grasps their left ankle with their left hand. Then each player holds his opponents right hand in a firm grasp. Hopping on their right foot, and not releasing either their left ankle or their opponents hand, battle commences.
The first player in this strenuous game to either release their left ankle or fall in an undignified heap onto the floor is the loser.
Play as teams or a have a knockout world championship.

strange games. no:21...category: childrens party games

Vacant Chair

A rarely played variation on Musical Chairs. Here the chairs are formed into a circle with one more chair than persons - the Vacant Chair. The person standing in the middle of the circle must try to possess this chair-without-a-sitter. To stop him all the other players should move round continuously, one chair at a time so that the vacant chair is always changing. Once he gets a seat, the person left standing gets to go into the middle.

strange games. no 20...category: party games

Hens and Chickens

Almost everyone must be familiar with 'What's the Time Mr Wolf?' but when I was knee high to a Beagle the game we loved to play was Hens and Chickens.
One person is chosen to be the fox and must sit down and look sly and hungry. The others are the hens and chickens and form a line past the fox, chanting:
"Chicany, chicany, crany, crow,
I went to the well to wash my toe,
And when I came back a chicken was dead"

Everyone forms a ring around the fox and one chicken says,

"What are you doing old fox"
The fox replies, "Making a fire"
Hen: "What for?"
Fox:"To boil me some water"
Hen:"Pray what is the water for fox?"
Fox:"To scald a chicken"
At this points all the hens and chickens can let out a gasp of horror.
Hen:"And where will you get a chicken?"
Fox:"Out of your flock"

At this point the fox attacks and tries to grab a chicken. Pandemonium!
If the fox makes a 'kill' then foxy and chicken change places

strange games, no: 19 ... category: party games

Deer Stalking

A rip-roaring party game for two people to play at a time. Most of the fun is in the watching. Two party-goers are blindfolded - one is the 'hunter' and one is the 'deer'. They are placed next to a round table but opposite each other and both facing in a clockwise direction. The aim of the game is for the 'hunter' to catch the 'deer'. A time limit of a minute should avoid too much exhaustion...if the 'deer' remains free after that time he is the victor.
Party-goers can be made to wear fake antlers and a toy gun to add to the drama.

strange games, no:18...category: party games

Spotty Death

A charmingly physical game for a party and one in which you need the agility of a gazelle to win. Place or chalk a large red spot on the floor. Partygoers link hands in a circle around the spot. Without breaking the circle each must try and get their neighbours to stand on the spot. If anyone's feet touches it they are out and the game continues until there is one victor.
The merriment is increased if each losing player over-acts being struck down by the plague and rolls around the floor howling.

strange games no.17.... category: party games

Orange Battle

A perennial favourite game at all the best parties - Orange Battle has it all: skill, intense competition and copious supplies of citrus fruit. Simply supply all partygoers with two tablespoons and an orange. They must balance the orange on a spoon in one hand whilst holding the other spoon in their other hand. The objective is to knock opponents oranges onto the floor whilst protecting your own. As soon as an orange hits the floor that person is out. Last man standing wins.
I have happy memories of playing this game at Buffy Hessington's coming out party using real duck eggs. Towering!

strange games . No:16...category: party games

Piggy Back Polo

Fantastic to play in the garden Piggy Back Polo is an energetic and immensely entertaining game. Pair up the players - one large and one small. The larger player gives the smaller one a piggy back. Each rider holds a walking stick upside down. The aim of the game is to knock a tennis ball into the opponents goal.
Play on a summer's day with lashings of Ginger Beer for the competitors.

strange games. No:15....category: garden games

Two Dogs and a Bone

An energetic game for 12-20 players.
A skittle (the ' bone') is placed on a chalk mark in the centre of the room.
The players are split into two equal teams and given numbers to remember. So, if there are 12 players there will be numbers 1 to 6 on each team. The teams line up opposite their opposing numbers at either end of the room and equidistant from the 'bone'

A caller shouts out a number of his choosing. Those two players must rush to get the 'bone' first, return it to their team and gain a point. However, if they are tagged once they are carrying the 'bone' then the opponent team gets that point.
The most important rule is that no player can cross ( with his feet) the centre line of the room on which the 'bone' stands. This rule can lead to tense and thrilling stand-offs with both players hovering around the 'bone' waiting for the other to grab first.

The caller calls another number once a point is won

First team to 10 wins

strange games. No:14..category: children's party games

Mother Magee

A party game that never fails of cause a commotion of laughter.
Everyone stands in a circle. The first player turns to his left and says, "Mother Magee is dead!"
The person on the left must reply, "How did she die?"
"Like this," says the first and closes one eye. The second player closes his same eye and repeats the dialogue to the next person but adds his own affliction.
"Like this," he says and opens his mouth wide whilst closing one eye.
And so on around the circle with ever increasing complexity.
Try holding an ear, balancing on one leg, tilting your head, raising a shoulder, hopping, wrinkling a nose...

strange games. No:13...category:childrens party games

Counting Out Rhymes Number 2

Another comparison of playground counting out rhymes - the only sane way to determine who is 'it'. First a marvellous contemporary one.

Cin : der : ella :
dressed : in : yella
went : to : the : ball
to : kiss : a : fella :
by : mis- : take :
she : kissed : a : steak :
how : many : kisses : did : she : make

the person who is being pointed at shouts out a number. Continue counting around the circle till you get to that number. That person is then 'it'

And a much more preferable one taught to my by my Nanny.

One-ery : two-ery :
Zicary : zan :
Hollow-bone : crack-a-bone :
Ninery : ten :
Spittery : spot
Must : be : done
Twiddledum : twaddledum :
Twenty- : One

strange games no.12 ...category: chants

Collapsing Bridges

A fun indoor game for two evenly matched competitors.
One player, 'the bridge' forms a bridge like structure by kneeling with his hands also on the floor, shoulder width apart and a good distance from his knees. The other man, 'the boat', must pass under the 'bridge' (usually achieved by a rapid scuttling motion) up to 3 times. On one of these times the 'bridge' will collapse, crushing the boat below. The 'boat' must escape from the wreckage in a pre-determined time limit (usually around 10 seconds). The 'bridge' can not use hands to grip the 'boat'. Then change places.

strange games. No:11 ... category: indoor games

Puss in the Corner

An excellent game for small parties Puss in the corner will have you in paroxysms of delight.
The traditional way to play this game is to have one person in each corner of the room. The fifth person, 'Puss', is dressed up as a cat.
Corner people agree, using shouts or hand signals, to change corners. As soon as they leave their corner and rush to the next they can not return. Puss must try to get to an un-occupied corner before a runner. If his happens the cat outfit is transferred to the person who left that corner, or, if the two runners have crossed, the person running towards that corner.
The excitement levels are intensified by the runners shouting, "Puss, puss - you can't catch us"

strange games no:10...category: party games

Jingle Jangle

This party game is a variation on that perennial favourite Blind Man's Buff. I first played this game at the party to celebrate Cedric Toffingdon's going up to Oxford.
One person wears a hat that jingles - the 'Jingle Jangle man'. A jester's hat is perfect although any hat with bells will suffice. The rest of the partygoers all wear blindfolds. The first person to grab hold of the Jingle Jangle man wins and gets to wear the hat in the next round.
If you can, its best to be an observer of this game. To see your fellow party people, groping, stumbling and clashing heads whilst tentatively chasing a delicately creeping Jester is a rarely experienced joy

strange games. No: 9 ... category: party games