Hunting Deer In My Lords Park
A Medieval Version of Duck Duck Goose
History has a reputation as a boring subject, but it need not be. Throughout history people have played games, in fact playing games from days gone by is a great way to learn about the past. Learning how our ancestors played teaches us about their morals, social norms, and much more. Playing games such as Hunting Deer in My Lords Park is a great way to get kids engaged in learning history.
It is unclear how far in history Hunting Deer in My Lords Park was played, but Francis Willughby gives a detailed description in his Seventeenth-Century treatise on games simply titled "Book of Games".
Francis WIllughby's Book of Games is probably the best source of pre 17th century games. It is an all encompassing tome containing Willughbiy's research into the games people played in his time.
How to Play
Everyone stands in a circle facing inwards holding hands spread out as far as possible. The person that is “it” does not stand in the circle but rather walks around outside it and touches someone on the back. The person touched must chase the one that is “it” and follow their exact path, the person that is “it” may weave in and out under other’s arms to try to make the chaser lose track of where he went. Should the chaser make a mistake in the path then they are caught and will remain in the circle and the gap they made by chasing is closed. Should the person who is “it” manage to complete the circle and get back to the gap without the chaser catching them than the chaser is caught and remains in the circle and again the circle closes in filling the gap. Should however the chaser catch the person who is “it” they become “it” and the previous person who is “it” takes the chaser’s previous spot in the circle. Game continues until there is no more room in the circle.
Experiences Playing it
At a recent SCA feast members of my local group played this game. As with all children's games played by adults it got a little rambunctious, but I believe fun was had by all. I highly recommend the game, its fun and gets people to playing. No injuries occurred that night (well not during this game) so I'd call it a success.
The Avacal Games Guild is a group within the SCA that encourages research into historical games and to recreate them so we can play them.
© 2014 Jeff Johnston