Russian Desk Games of the 19th Century

Game accompanies mankind during all of its history. Last century people played cards and dominoes, chess and draughts which are customary to us. However the 19th century knew also other games which are half-forgotten now.

There is a very interesting collection of desk games in the National Library of Russia. The exhibition held in July - August 1999 showed some games; the earliest game refers to 1815 and the latest one refers to 1899.

Travel about Russia. 1885. Chromolithograph. New Game 'Gusiok'. 1869. Lithograph.
Totalizator or Obstacle-Race. 1896. Chromolithograph.Totalizator or Obstacle-Race. 1896. Chromolithograph.
Games which helped to amuse adults and children were of two types. The first type includes the games of chance which were particularly entertaining and promised winnings as a game "Gusiok". A player of these games cast a die and according to the number of fallen spots moved a fish across the highly coloured field. Leads were controlled by the rules which quite often were put into rhyme or humorous form.


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