The term ‘parlour games’ might not even be on some people’s radar, in Victorian times the late 1800s, before electricity and television, people spent their evenings playing games with friends and family.

These games were usually played in a room called the parlour which is the equivalent to our living room.

Some games they would have played include:

Do You Love Your Neighbour?

Players – Five or more
Duration – A few minutes for each round
Equipment – Chairs, one less than the number of players

The chairs are lined up with all players sitting down except for one. The standing player asks one of the other players, ‘Do you love you neighbour?’ If he replies no, then the two players either side must quickly jump up and swap seats. He may reply yes, but must attach an exception. For example, he could say: ‘Yes, except for those wearing blue jeans’ or ‘except for those with blonde hair.’ Then all of those players must jump up and find a new chair.

Whatever the answer, while players are attempting to find a new seat the player who asked the question can try to sit down. Whoever is left standing asks another player: ‘Do you love your neighbour?’ ... and so on.

Hot Boiled Beans, or Hot And Cold

Players – Three or more
Duration – A few minutes for each round
Equipment – An object that is easy to hide

One player is sent out of the room, while those remaining hide a small object such as a ball, pen or a watch. The player returns to the room as the others call: ‘Hot boiled beans and bacon for supper! Hurry up before it gets cold.’ The player attempts to find the missing object while everyone else calls out that her supper is getting very cold, freezing cold, hot, very hot, or burning in relation to how close or far she is from the hidden item. Once the item is found a new player is sent from the room and the object (or a new one) is hidden in a different location.

Sounds very basic but kids love it. The adult version incorporates forfeits – they have to perform a certain task chosen by the others if the object is not found within a certain time limit (prepare some in advance).

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile
One of the sillier parlour games, of which there were many. Parlour games often involved a person being required to perform silly actions in order to win the game.
Players – Four or more
Duration – A few minutes for each round
Equipment – None

One person is selected to be ‘it’. That person is the only one in the group who is allowed to smile. He or she can do anything they want to try and get someone else to smile apart from touching them. If the person smiles, he or she becomes it. The person who never smiles is declared the winner.

Guess the kiss
Players – the more the merrier
Duration – as long as you like
Equipment – lipstick

A player is chosen to be it and is blindfolded. They pucker up ready for a kiss from anyone in the room and have to guess the mystery kisser.

The depth of passion will vary according to your company. Simple pecks recommended for family get-togethers, naturally. Beards and moustaches are a dead giveaway, but you can play tricks by spraying perfume on men or disguise the suitor by other devious means.