This tabletop Bagatelle game was donated to the Museum in 1983. The date of manufacture is unknown, but is assumed to be in the previous decade. The maker is also unknown.
The board, approximately 60cm long x 30cm wide x 3cm high, is enclosed in a metal frame and covered with clear glass. The board is made of wood, printed paper, tin, and uses metal strips as deflectors on the board's surface. The printed top surface has full color cartoons of cowboys and indians scattered over the surface. A number of target holes with embedded metal cups are cut into the board at the upper left and bottom right of the board. Each cup is marked with a number. The intent of the game is to accumulate points by having marbles land in a target hole on the board's surface.
For proper play, the top of the board should be raised upon a support on the table so that the bottom of the board sits on the table and the entire board slants downward toward the player. Like most standard tabletop Bagatelle games, this game was designed for a right-handed player. On each side of the board is a Runway - a covered metal channel which directs a marble to the surface of the board, where the marble encounter a metal arch. This arch directs the marble to roll freely on the board's surface. When a marble is at the base of the Runway the marble rests against a Plunger - a spring-loaded cylindrical rod which when operated by a player, propels the ball up the Runway. The Runway on the right is the starting Runway, the one on the left side of the board enables the player to accumlate additional score if a mable lands in that Runway during it's descent on the board's surface.
When a player pulls a Plunger and releases it, the Plunger cylinder hits a marble, propels it up the Runway, and then gravity takes over. The degree of propulsive force upon the marble is dependent upon how far out a player extents the Plunger from the board and how quickly the Plunger is released. Different degrees of force cause the marble to descend onto the board surface, and rebound against the sides of the board which deflect a ball from falling into a cup. As a ball rebounds, it either rolls into a cup (resulting in a player accumulating scoring points), or comes to rest at the bottom of the board.
Last update February 25, 2010