General Circle Games

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A series of General Circle Games from Gilcraft's Book of Games collected by Francis Gidney, Gilcraft.


Players in circle bend down, facing in, hands behind backs. Leader walks round and places an old boxing- glove, knotted scarf, or slipper, in the right or left hand of one of the players, who, when the whistle goes, smites the player next to his right or left respectively with the slipper and continues to do so while the victim runs round outside the circle back to his place. Care must be taken that he smites the right place. Two slippers may well be used at once by different players.


Two 10-feet ropes are tied to a central point. The badger holds one end and, rattling a tin with a pebble in it, tries to avoid the baiter who holds the other end and has a kit-bag stuffed with straw. Both ropes must be kept tight.


Players join hands in a circle, one or more go into the centre and try to get out over or under the arms of the rest. No bursting through is allowed and the circle must not close in.


Players in circle, two deep, in pairs of equal weight. Outer ones mount inner and pass a ball one to another about the circle. If it is dropped, riders run away, whilst pony of rider who dropped it or made a bad throw picks up ball and then cries “halt.” No player may then move his feet Pony tries to hit any rider with the ball. If he succeeds, ponies and riders change places, if not, they carry on.


Players move round in a circle, whenever leader blows his whistle all sit on the floor, and last down falls out. Variation.-Leader tells a yarn, and whenever a prearranged word is spoken (it, the, and, etc.) all sit down. May well be combined with No. 6.


Players move round in a circle, and leader says “Sit down in (say) 5's.” All who do not get into a group of 5, sitting on the floor, fall out Variation.-Leader tells a yarn, and whenever he mentions a number all sit down in groups of that number. May well be combined with No. 5.


Leader swings round a rope with a soft weight on the end, players, in circle, jump over it as it comes round. Any touching it fall out. Pace should vary, but it should be uniformly low from the ground.


Players in circle, in centre a number of small objects, one less than the number of players. Leader gives sundry orders, which are carried out, but whenever he says “Grab,” all dive to the centre to try to get one of the objects. Unsuccessful player falls out, one object is removed, game continues.


Players in circle, leader in centre has a cork which he holds in the flame of a candle till it is smouldering; the leader then passes the cork to one of the players who blows on it and passes it on saying “Jack's alive.” The player in whose hand the cork stops smouldering is suitably decorated by the leader drawing with burnt cork on his face.


Players in circle so that, with arms extended, their fingers just touch, and blindfold. Two other players in centre tied as in a 3-legged race but not blindfold. The victims try to get out of the circle without being touched by the blind men, who may reach out but must not move from their original positions.


Two players kneeling within reach of one another; one has a paper rolled up as a club. Whenever he asks “Are ye there? “the other must reply and try to dodge the ensuing blow. Both players are blindfold and neither may move his knees. Variation.—The two players hold hands (left) and each has a club, calling alternately. Variation.—The two players move about in a circle, otherwise proceeding as above.


Players seated round a large circle of seats of various heights, one player in the centre and one vacant seat. Players move round the circle to occupy the next seat as it falls vacant. Player in centre tries to occupy the vacant seat first. When he succeeds the player ousted takes his place.


Players in circle, one in centre tries to intercept a ball thrown from one to another. Thrower of an intercepted pass, or of an uncatchable ball, or of a ball that goes above shoulder height changes places with the player in the centre. Variations.-Bouncing or rolling the ball, and having two in the centre.


Players in circle pass a stick round one to another, whoever is holding it when the whistle blows puts his hands behind his back and is missed next time the stick comes round but does not fall out. Continue till only two are left.


Players in circle, “poison” (stool, indian club, or chalked circle) in the centre. All join hands and try to pull each other on to the “poison,” any player touching it falls out. Variation.-First player to fall out takes the place of poison and is joined by each successive player to fall out. These must stay immovable.


Players in circle, feet astride, knees straight. One in centre tries to throw a ball out between the legs of the rest who may not move but may use their hands to stop the ball. One who lets it out goes into the centre. Variation.-Those forming the circle try to throw ball between legs of one in centre who may move but must keep his feet astride. Variation.-As last with two in centre tied as for 3-legged race. See also under Team Games.


Players in a circle seated on floor with “pussy” in centre. Pussy mews three times to anyone he wishes, each mew must be answered by stroking and the words “Poor Pussy.” Any player laughing in the effort loses a point or becomes pussy. Pussy may make any grimaces or actions but must not speak, going all the time on all fours.


Players in circle, “robber” is sent out of the room, “farmer” is chosen, and an “apple” put in the centre of circle. Robber enters the circle and tries to grab the apple and get out of the circle without being touched by the farmer, whom he does not know. The farmer may not move till the apple is touched. Robber must leave the circle at the same point as he entered.


One player is the “bear” and has a balloon on his back. He has three safety bases and tries to make as many journeys as possible from base to base without the rest bursting his balloon with knotted scarves. If he tips off their hats they fail out “dead.” The bear making the most journeys in safety in a limited time wins. Dead men come in again at each new bear.


Players in circle join hands, “hare” inside, two “hounds,” outside. Hounds try to catch hare, players in circle let hare in or out at will, but prevent or hinder the hounds to best aid the hare.


(cf. CATCH THE BALLOON) Players sitting on floor in a circle, each with a number. Leader in centre balances a staff erect with finger on top, calls a number and removes finger. Player with that number must catch the staff before it drops, if he fails he loses one life. Numbers should be haphazard about the circle. Variation.-Each player also has a bird or animal allotted him, and must make the animal's correct noise as he catches the staff.


Players in circle, two deep, facing in. One chases another, whenever the fugitive stops in front of a pair the rearmost one of that pair becomes the fugitive. Touched fugitive chases his pursuer. Variation.-Pairs face each other with joined hands forming cages in which the fugitive takes refuge, outer one of cage becoming fugitive. Variation.-Whenever the whistle blows fugitive becomes pursuer and vice versa. Variations.-Walking, hopping, etc., for running.


Players in circle round room, each takes the name of a town. One player in centre. Leader calls out two towns and “Letter”, “Parcel,” or “Telegram.” The towns mentioned change places and the one in centre tries to occupy one of the vacant seats. “Letters” all walk, “parcels” all crawl (or hop), “telegrams” all run; all includes one in centre. Variation.-Player in centre is blindfold and tries to catch one of the two moving, and need not hop or crawl.


Players in circle round room are each in secret allotted names of some bird or animal, two players to each animal. On word to go each makes his appropriate noise and tries to find his pair. Pairs, when “found,” go and sit down. Donkey may be allotted to one only, who is therefore left alone braying.


Players seated in circle on floor, holding edges of a sheet or blanket. One player outside tries to catch a ball or balloon rolled about on sheet by the others raising or lowering the sides.


Players: 1 bull, 1 matador, 4 chulos, 6 scarf men. Phase 1.-Bull enters arena with five strips of paper (6-inch) on his back, which chulos try to remove. A chulo or scarf man once touched by the bull is dead. Scarf men try to intercept and distract attention from chulos, who may take refuge outside the arena not more than three times. Only one strip may be taken at a time. Phase 2.-When all strips are off, or all chulos dead, arena is cleared, bulb blindfold, with a scarf tucked under belt as tail, matador tries to remove scarf without being touched.


Wheel chalked on floor about 9 feet radius, 2 feet 6 inches hub, 1-foot rim, and spokes. Players round rim. Two players chase another, all keeping to the rim or spokes. Players outside watch lest any step outside. Fugitive may be considered safe in the hub.


Players seated in circle, one leaves the room to return to find out, by asking a question of each in turn, what “It” is. “It” is to each player his right-hand neighbour, so all answer accordingly.


A piece of string in a circle with a ring on it, players holding string. One in centre tries to catch ring which is passed to and fro about circle. Player in whose hands it is caught goes to centre.


Players in circle, every other one blindfold. Those not blind move round and take positions between the others. Those blindfold then tell their right-hand neighbours to talk or sing or ask questions with a view to guessing their identity. Direct questions such as “What is the colour of your hair? “need not be answered.


About twelve players sit in a circle, shoulders touching, with legs straight out, one player stands in the small space between their feet and, holding himself rigid, falls on to their outstretched hands. They pass him about the circle, and any player letting him down takes his place.


Players in circle, four others in centre guarding a lightly built tripod, which those outside try to upset by throwing tennis balls or kicking a football. Any player upsetting it takes the place of the “guard” from whose side the successful throw came.


Players in circle, facing in, one runs round outside and taps another on the back. Both then race round the circle in opposite directions, and whichever fails to get back first and fill the gap carries on.


Players in circle, two in centre, of whom one is blindfold. Blind one tries to catch (or hit with a pillow) the other, who must always reply “Yes, Sir,” to “Jehoshaphat.” Those forming circle try to prevent blind one coming to grief.


Players move round in circle doing a “follow my leader.” At a given order all shut their eyes. Leader pulls one player out and sends him out of the room, the rest then jumble up in the centre of the room. Player who first says the name of the one missing wins (c.f. Sense-training Game, No. 54).


Players seated on floor in circle, numbered but not in sequence. Leader in centre holds a small balloon, and as he drops it he calls a number. The player with that number tries to catch the balloon before it touches the floor.


Players at wide intervals round a large circle chalked on floor, all race round the same way. Either each on touching the one in front falls out (Championship reversed, practice for the weaker); Or those caught fall out (real Championship). In each case continue till one is left. With large numbers heats are essential. Variation.-When whistle goes, all about turn and chase the other way.


Players sitting in circle; at first signal each player inhales a deep breath, and at next signal lets it out with a long sustained whistle. As each player runs out of breath he lies down, dead. Last to die wins.


Players in circle, one player outside. A ball is passed round the circle and the player outside races it. The player making the most circuits whilst the ball makes two, wins.


(Variation of PASSING THE STICK) Players in circle; one takes a hat and puts it on to the head of the next and so on round the circle. The player holding the hat, or having it on his head when the whistle goes, sits down. Last in wins. It must be seen that the hat is really put on each head and not merely passed from hand to hand