Games and Pastimes

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

While many feel that the “only” form of pastime in The Middle Ages was “martial” (The Joust, Mutual Combat, etc), many more sedate games existed and were played. While most martial games developed physical agility and endurance, other games were designed to develop the mind. The combination of them both was often though to “well round out” a young Nobleman. Variations of Blind Man's Bluff, Tug-of-War and Leap Frog – all developed from The Middle Ages. Another, called “Hot Cockles”, involved one player being blindfolded while his friends took pieces of knotted cord and repeatedly struck him! If the blindfolded person could identify his “attacker”, he won and now the “attacker” became the “victim”.


Mumming was yet another unusual Medieval game. Persons wore elaborate half character and half-horse costumes. The would reenact a past (and popular Joust). Tennis, Handball, Soccer and Bowling were all forms of Medieval games (although slight different from more modern versions). For young Noblemen, Archer and Fencing were considered an enjoyable way to pass time. Although shunned by Church Authorities, various games of Chance and Gambling were common.


Dice rolling and the advent of Playing Cards would all come into use. Of course, the “Game of Kings” - Chess, was a popular pass time (for those who could afford the board and pieces). The much used (and somewhat iconic), Maypole Dancing and Bobbing For Apples – were two games that evolved from way to “introduce” young men to young ladies. Another cross gender game of the same vein was “The Ragman's Roll”. This game involved the placing of a parchment into a hat. The parchment had a prediction or sometimes a task that needed to be performed to advance to the next stage. This game was a forerunner of “Truth or Dare”.