Description Type: Parlour game
Players: 2 - 4 players
Age: 4 plus
Game Time: 5 - 15 minutes
Developer or Designer: Joseph Assheton Fincher
Publisher: John Jaques and Son
Tests hand-eye coordination
Young children could swallow the pieces
No good on carpets
Most people consider Tiddlywinks a game for little kids, but when it was invented in 1888 by Joseph Assheton Fincher, it was in fact a very popular parlour game for middle-class adults.
The modern version of the game we are familiar with today came into its own in the 1950s, by believe it or not, a group of Cambridge University students. Oxford students created their own Tiddlywinks society three years later. When hearing Oxford & Cambridge, you automatically think rowing, but until recently (Oxford's team no longer exists) there was just as fierce a competition when it comes to Tiddlywinks - although it probably isn't surprising that there was not broadcast coverage.
When played as a competitive sports, there are strict and official rules, but to most of us, Tiddlywinks is just a bit of casual family fun.
The game has been released in a variety of formats, of which I have played two. The first of which came as part of a box called '100 Games', and because it was part of a collection of other family games, only very basic equipment came with it. Each player will have five coloured small discs called 'winks', and one large disc called a 'squidger'. To aim press your squidger on top of your winks, so that they leap frog inside a pot. The first person to pot all their winks is the winner.
Tiddlywinks is a good test of hand-eye coordination, and there are several strategies you can apply to try and beat your opponents. A common move is to perform a 'squob'; that's when you land your wink on top of another player's.
The only difficulty with Tiddlywinks is that you need a firm surface. it is no use trying to play on thick carpet. In my version, a mat was not provided, but if you buy a set specifically made for the game, it should come with one.
The second version of the game I have played had a mat, but no pot. The the discs were giant in size, and you used a mechanical device to flip them onto a designated circle that looked like a flower. This was a modified version, and needs a lot more space than the traditional game, but is a lot of fun for children, and more dynamic.