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Games for the Games

Try your hand at an extraordinary collection of vintage board games.

Specially selected from the extraordinary collection of vintage board games housed in the V&A; Museum of Childhood, ROAD SHOW presents six games to try your hand at. Games for the Games will enable players to question Victorian morality or challenge companions to a classic game of strategy. The selection includes the original Patchesi by Great British Games company Jaques of London who won gold medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Games for the Games is free to play and tables will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Games for the Games has been designed by Andrew Stafford’s Office, and is supported by the V&A; and Museum of Childhood.

The games will be on the road every day of the festival.


Games for the Games
& The V&A; Museum of Childhood
by Catherine Howell, Collections Manager at the V&A; Museum of Childhood

The collection of board games at the V&A; Museum of Childhood is one of the finest in the world. The collection ranges in date from the sixteenth century to the present and most games are European in origin.


The collection is particularly rich in the finely detailed and wonderfully coloured board games of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These games, as well as being beautifully designed, were used as serious educational tools. History, geography, religion, science and mathematics all featured in games produced by well-known publishers of the time. They also published moral games so that children could learn how to behave and avoid the perils and evils of the world. All these games have basic rules and are normally laid out as a simple race to the finish, but players were often expected to learn and remember facts as they played.

The Jubilee (1810) has 150 playing spaces detailing the major events of the reign of George III. The Mansion of Happiness (1800) and the Cottage of Content (1848) are both examples of moral games. Bad deeds are punished and good ones rewarded and the winner reaches the safe haven of the game’s name.

All the traditional games of childhood feature in the collection whether they be the more generic favourites, such as chess, Ludo, draughts and Snakes and Ladders, or the modern classics such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit.

The chess game featured here is from the late nineteenth century and is a travelling version that could be easily kept in a pocket. Patchesi dates from the same period and was published by John Jaques & Son Ltd (winners of a Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851). The game later developed into Ludo. The Cycle Game from the early twentieth century originally had solid lead playing pieces and is played in a similar way to Snakes and Ladders.

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© Exhibition Road Show 2012.