Gaming was a major pastime for the Elizabethans. As such, it is an important part of the Guilde of St. Ives' re-creation of the Elizabethan world. After working so hard, it was a way of releasing steam. Along with dancing and music, games were an important part of socializing, especially in England.
"It is a singularity in the nature of the English, that they are strangely addicted to all kinds of pleasure above all other nations. . . . All cities, towns, and villages swarm with companies of musicians and fiddlers, which are rare in other kingdoms. . . . Not to speak of frequent spectacles exhibited to the people by fencers, by walkers on ropes, and like men of activity, nor frequent companies of archers shooting in all the fields, nor of Saints' days, which the people not keeping (at least most of them, or with any devotion) for church service, yet keep for recreation of walking and gaming. What shall I say of dancing with curious and rural music, frequently used by the better sort . . . What shall I say of playing at cards and dice, frequently used by all sorts, rather as a trade than a recreation."
Attributed to Fynes Moryson, an Elizabethan traveler. Quoted in "Daily Life in Elizabethan England" by Jeffery L. Singman.
The English, even the lords, spent much time and much passion in their gaming. So much so that the observer above compares it to having a trade. Whether this means people earned a living at it or it was given as much devotion as a trade is not clear to me. It is clear to me that the games should be played with gusto and a desire to win. With this in mind, here are some gaming activities St. Ives members may find helpful to the cause.
Below is a list of games sorted by their equipment. Click on game name to get to the rules and the reference source. In the future, we will be adding on-line versions of the games you can play, but I wouldn't hold my breath.