The Tiddlywink Squad

Today, we take a look at a game with a name that suggests it’s not all that serious, but that actually has organizations centered around playing it. I’m referring to tiddlywinks, based on the simple principle of using a disc to flip another disc into a cup. The piece used to flip the others is called a squidger, something I didn’t know until recently. Oh, the things you learn when researching old games! Also, if you cover an opponent’s wink with one of your own, it’s called squopping. You aren’t allowed to play a squopped wink, although this rule is apparently not always recognized when kids play.

The game was first patented in England in 1889 under the name “Tiddledy-Winks.” Apparently saying that extra D was too difficult, because it was eventually dropped. It was introduced as a simple parlor game, but picked up a greater level of renown in the 1950s, when Oxford and Cambridge Universities began playing tournaments against each other. Soon, the English and North American Tiddlywinks Societies had formed, proving that there’s no game that can’t be turned into a national or international competition. There’s even an official journal of tiddlywinks, called Winking World. While I didn’t realize that some people took tiddlywinks so seriously, is it really any odder than doing the same for other games? At least tiddlywinks doesn’t result in as many injuries as, say, football.

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