Cribbage, anyone?

I’m writing a short essay about pub games. These simple ways of spending time are actually quite rebellious. The first ever attempt to enforce legislation upon pubs was not against the alcohol but against the games: Henry VII saw pub games as a distraction from more productive, patriotic activities such as archery practice and so he went against them.

Today, pub games can be a middle finger to The Corporation in that a dart board can provide pleasure for decades, and doesn’t require any batteries, apps or expensive upgrades. Some games, like word association or coin tossing, don’t require any special equipment whatsoever. Others, such as a ring-toss or a trivia quiz, will also involve several people or even the whole pub: a contrast to the lonely-making technologies of iPods and Wii-fit and the likes.

Instead of marinating in our Claustrospheres and consuming phosphur dots, let’s go to the pub and reinstate low-tech games.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

5 Responses to “Cribbage, anyone?”

  1. Damien Blond says:

    Come check out for cribbage. We have a lot of UKers there who often play in the pubs 🙂

  2. Maus says:

    A great reminder of my law school days. I spent at least three nights a week at the local pub playing dominoes or darts over a pitcher or three with other like-minded refugees from the academic grind. I still have the tungsten-tipped darts with “Guiness harp” flights that provided me so many hours of uncomplicated joy.

  3. Fantastic. You can’t beat it.

  4. Mark Wentworth says:

    Huxley commented on this in Brave New World:

    “Strange,” mused the Director, as they turned away, “strange to think that even in Our Ford’s day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness. Nowadays the Controllers won’t approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.”

    It’s surprising just how prescient Brave New World is.

  5. A brilliant quote. I’ll sneak it into my essay.

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