Victorian Parlor Games That Are Suitable for a Slumber Party

There is no particular age limit for these games but from my own experience they will work well for girls ages eight and older. They can all be played with a minimum of four quests but six to eight participants would preferable.

The game of Funny conversations

This is a classic Victorian parlor game and was sold as a small boxed set of cards towards the end of the 19th Century. Parker Brothers made a version of this game in 1893, called “Komical Konversations”. The game is simple in that a number of random questions are written on cards and as each one is drawn (and read out) a random response is selected from the pile of answer cards.

The questions can be anything but are usually absurd or somewhat amusing, such as “Do you make as much noise snoring as you do sipping your tea?” or “Do you think the term ‘fish’ would apply to anyone here?” etc. The random answers are generic and can apply equally to all of the questions, such as “yes’, “no”, “maybe”, or “I will tell you that when we know each other better” etc.

When I gave my daughter and her party guests a set of these vintage cards (which can be purchased on eBay) they began to play the game as per the instructions. When I returned to the table, having been arranging their cucumber sandwiches in the kitchen, I observed the guests were now making up their own questions. Questions such as “Is there a boy in your class that you like?” or “Do you get an allowance?” now replaced the standard questions from the vintage game. Whether you purchase a vintage game of Funny conversations or have your party guests make up their own questions and answers this game should prove popular for your young female guests at their next gathering.

The game of Slander

This Victorian parlor game is played as follows: –

One of the party guests goes out of the room and the others make ‘remarks’ about the absent guest. These remarks are written down on pieces of paper and then placed on a table. The guest then returns and one of the party picks up a remark at random and reads it out aloud. The guest, that the remarks are targeted at, then has to try and guess which one of the party made the remark. The guest gets three chances, using three different written remarks, to try to correctly associate a remark with a person. If the guess is correct then the person that made the remark now goes out of the room and the game continues. If the guest is unable to guess who made a particular remark, after three attempts, then the same guest goes out of the room again and retries with new remarks. If the same guest fails to correctly guess, who made the remarks, a second time then another guest can take her place so as to stop the same guest going out of the room if she is repeatedly unable to guess correctly.

The type of ‘slanderous’ remarks being made is up to the party and the examples given in the vintage books are “This person is a gossip”. “This person is lazy” and other general negative remarks. It is quite possible, however, that your guests may make more specific and precise remarks and if that is the case then remember that one of the overriding principles of Victorian social behavior is not to embarrass anyone or make them feel uncomfortable in any situation.

All that said, I believe that this vintage parlor game of slander was designed and played with a little bit of mischief in mind and if your party girl’s get into the right spirit of this game it will surely amuse them as it has amused many girls for the past 100 years or so.

The game of “What is your problem?” (A variation on classical charades)

Charades is a game where one person has to ‘act out’ in mime a person, activity, animal or object. For example the person may pretend that they are a cat or a washing machine (or anything else) and the rest of the party has to guess this by observing the mime. The party can be split into two teams and each party gives one of the other team member’s the subject to act out and that person acts out the subject to their own team, who need to guess the subject from the mime. There are a number of variations of this classic game but the one that I have found to be the most amusing to my party guests is “What is your problem?”.

In this variation of the charades game teams take it in turns to act out a scene, as a group, while the other party guests have to guess “What is your problem?” If there is a large number in the party then more than two teams can be formed, the preferred number in each team is three but teams of two or four also works quite well.

The team doing the acting out leaves the room for a discussion on the subject of their short ‘skit’ (play acting). The acting team needs to decide which team member has the ‘problem’ and what the problem is. Examples of problems are “This person interrupts all the time”, or “This person turns around three times when she hears her name” etc. Having decided who has what problem the team then devises a short skit that conveys this problem to the other guests. In the skit the acting team can talk but they cannot directly state the problem. For example, for the “This person interrupts all the time” problem the girls could simply act out a scene where they are at a restaurant having a conversation and the girl with the problem keeps interrupting everyone at the table. The skit should be timed to last around two minutes to keep things moving. If the guessing party guests have no idea what is going on, they can be given the clue of which girl in the acting group has the problem.

When I have hosted this game in the past, as part of a traditional Victorian tea party, I have prepared a number of problems and situations for the girl’s to act out to save time, but if the girl’s have their own ideas then these should be encouraged. Also, if this game is hosted, then you (as the hostess) should try to allow each girl to ‘star’ in the acting so that the more forceful guests don’t ‘hog the limelight’.

Innovative companies are motivating and unifying their stakeholders towards new opportunities by using competition and rewards. This, as it does in sports, encourages improved results from value-focused activities. Workplace Games are being used to engage stakeholders, increase customer loyalty, motivate participation, and improve knowledge of products and services. And importantly for the business, drive results in production, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Somewhat remarkably, especially today where our businesses compete on a global scale, business results and improvements from gaming can happen very quickly. These results can affect everything from internal and external operations and sustainment of services, to marketing that can cause the business to become more readily shared between stakeholders, employees and customers. Simply stated, Workplace Games motivate everyone and leads to open collaboration of the business to the public, your customers and potential customers, through or because of the game.

Already, GAMIFICATION has been seen in private and public businesses around health, education, insurance, science and technology. Gamification leaders have included: NASA, DARPA, Deloitte, Bunchball, Warner Brothers, Adobe and others. Approximately, 70% of large companies will be using Gamification by 2014. While some businesses will use games in various business processes or pieces of their products and services, others will give a top down approach of using games across the entire business. Encompassing the entire business with Workplace Games exemplifies a total business approach where companies share their vision across the business to every activity that supports the company strategy.

While Workplace Gaming may take many forms, the basics of this gaming uses virtual badges for completing activities to “unlock” the next activity or goal and then rewards this progression. This simple, but effective approach leverages ongoing activities while setting up the next activity in the workplace. The game’s public rewards encourages friendly competition between stakeholders, this may include both employees and customers. Gaming competition improves the interaction between entities and results in increased performance. This use of competition, awards, virtual badges and points often use public LEADERBOARDS to encourage higher and higher performance.

It is important to stress that rewards should be based on desired results, innovation and value to the business so that less significant awards or badges don’t get in the way of desired outcomes. Rewards need to focus on value, efficiencies, opportunity, completing activities and other performance related metrics and critical success factors. And, as with any game, management and fairness of the game should be taken seriously so that animosity or other unwanted competition does not develop between the stakeholders. Managing the game badly, like managing the business badly, will result in unwanted results.

Using Workplace Games and the resulting rewards encourage our companies to self-motivated towards innovation and improvement. This motivation and self-improvement in turn results in individual and organizational behaviors that are based on self-leadership, knowledge, communication, individual experiences and best practices. These powerful organizational and individual attributes then result in product and service differentiation, value and efficiency that save time and other resources.

These approaches are leveraged with public and in-house Social Media, Web Pages and similar tools. These tools lead systematic and reproducible methodologies and processes. Focus areas for games can include: strategy, vision, mission, service or product value, profit, product functionality and features, customer loyalty, employee loyalty, task or project progression and people proposition. Focus and align game and business efforts on quality control, cost efficiencies and brand management to grow, innovate and gain brand recognition. Even slow growth in your market can become part of the game. Innovative solutions, new markets and hard decisions can then be addressed head on using the game to address real problems. When outsourcing is needed to win competitiveness, it happens because of the increased communication and awareness of problems, solutions and innovative competitiveness. Mergers and acquisitions suddenly are pushed down into the organization and looked at as value added for the purpose of growing the organization or improving the product and service. Funding solutions that match a strategic move made by your competitor become less frequent because the team solution puts your organization on the cutting edge of new opportunities.

Workplace Games can put the necessary focus in a competitive way to the strategic moves that allow you to break away from your competition. Using games that are well grounded in proven best practices can take communication from a frequent worry of your company to a valuable asset that drives success for the company and the now recognized top performers and innovators.

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