Steampunk Fun and Games

Steampunk Fun and Games


During the Victorian Era, leisure time increased for all classes of people. Obviously, as now, the wealthier you were, the more leisure time you had, but even the poor could find time for fun.

Games were divided into outdoor games and indoor games.  Some games were played indoors that we would now play outdoors. Some common children’s games have become pub games. The Victorian Era wasn’t that long ago.  We’re still playing game that were developed in the dawn of history, so it’s no wonder we’re still playing the same games we enjoyed that recently.

Some of the games, we’ve steampunked up, and others are just fin the way they were.

Outdoor games, for example, have remained virtually unchanged:  hoops, graces, bicycling, skiing, skating, croquet, badminton, cricket, polo, curling, jacks, anagrams, hopscotch, skipping rope, and marbles.  We’ve added the Bilge Rat Pucky as a lovely Airship Pirate Game, which is a cross between Curling and Croquet using a stuffed rat as a puck. It’s a free-for-all game that can be played rowdily or with grace and decor, with plenty of “I say, Old Chap!”s and “Indubitably your turn, my dear Mr. Chomlieu”s.

Parlor games were played indoors and because many lacked any equipment were also played as traveling games or at any time they had to wait. These games included charades, minister’s cat, cat and mouse, hot boiled beans, the laughing game, crambo, alphabet, dictionary,  I’ve been to market, Shopkeepers, Carnelli, TEGWAR, Petals Around the Rose, 100 Candles, Cripple Mr. Onion, Stars and Comets, Seahorse, Numberwang, Double Fanucci, Trinkets, Green Glass Door, Werewolf, Jewels in the Sand, conundrums, enigma, and many more.

Table games, such as billiards, Shove halfpenny, bagatelle, carom, skittles, and bat and trap

Other indoor games included checkers, chess, backgammon, blind man’s bluff, pin the tail on the donkey, dominoes, peggy, english 16, tic-tac-toe (naughts and crosses), Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, tiddlywinks,

Then there were the card games, such as beggar my neighbor,  happy family, whist, bridge, cribbage, old maid, go fish, snap, euchre, kalookie, crazy eights, slapjack, camicia, Skitgubbe, and all their variations.

Then there were the board games.  Victorians not only played older board games, they invented many board games we still play today – or would, if they were still available. Chess, Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe (aka Naughts and Crosses), Fox and Geese, Backgammon, Pacheesi, Memory, Game of Life, Othello, Battleship, Game of Goose,  Monopoly, Ouija, Mah jongg, Snakes and Ladders, The Prince’s Quest, A Day at the Zoo with Daddy, Cycling, The Wonders of The Deep, A Trip to Mars, The Tailess Donkey, and more.


The Captain’s Cat – All players sit in a circle, and the first player describes the captain’s cat with an adjective beginning with the letter ‘A’ (for example, “The captain’s cat is an adorable cat“) Each player then does the same, using different adjectives starting with the same letter. Once everyone has done so, the first player describes the cat with an adjective beginning with the letter ‘B’. This continues for each letter of the alphabet.

Crazy Eights - is a game for two or more players, in which the object is to get rid of the cards in your hand onto a discard pile by matching the number or suit of the previous discard.

The basic game of Crazy Eights uses a standard 52 card pack, or two such packs shuffled together if there are a lot of players. The dealer deals (singly) five cards to each player (seven each if there are only two players). The undealt stock is placed face down on the table, and the top card of the stock is turned face up and placed beside the stock to start the discard pile.

Starting with the player to dealer’s left, and continuing clockwise, each player in turn must either play a legal card face up on top of the discard pile, or draw a card from the undealt stock. The following plays are legal.

  1. If the top card of the discard pile is not an eight, you may play any card which matches the rank or suit of the previous card (for example if the top card was the king of hearts you could play any king or any heart).
  2. An eight may be played on any card, and the player of the eight must nominate a suit.
  3. If an eight is on top of the pile, you must play either another eight or any card of the suit nominated by the person who played the eight.

The first player who gets rid of all their cards wins, and the other players score penalty points according to the cards they have left in their hands – 50 for an eight, 10 for a picture, and spot cards at face value (one point for an ace, two for a two and so on).

If the stock pile is exhausted, the standard rule according to most books is that play continues without drawing. A player who cannot or does not wish to play just passes. If all pass, the game is blocked. Play stops and everyone scores for the cards remaining in their hands.



The Novel and Elegant Game of the Basket of Fruit or Moral and Intellectual Dessert (1822)

New Geographical Game Exhibiting a Tour of Europe (1794)

The Game of Trades (1860)

The New Game of Emulation Designed for The Amusement of Youth of both Sexes and calculated to inspire their Minds with an abhorrence of vice and a love of virtue (1804)

A New, Moral and Entertaining Game of the Reward of Merit (1801)

The Travellers of Europe, with Improvements and Additions (1849)

The Pirate and Traders of the West Indies (1857)


Steampunk RPGs


Uber RPG: Steampunk – Steven Metz

Clockwork and Chivalry – Ken Walton

Airship Pirates – Peter Cakebread

Deadlands: Wild Weird West – Shane Lacy Hensley

Castle Falkenstein – R. Talsorian

Full Light, Full Steam – Josh Roby (

Forgotten Futures – Marcus Rowland (

Gurps: Steampunk

Tephra –

Etherscope – Nigel McClelland, Ben Redmond

Oz Dark and Terrible – S. Alexander Gentry

Victoriana – Cubicle 7

Iron Kingdoms –  Rob Baxter et al, Privateer Press

OGL Steampunk – Alejandro Melcho

Steampunk MMPORG –

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.