This tabletop Bagatelle game was donated to the Museum in 1982. Its maker is unknown, nor is it's age know.
The board is 62.5cm long x 36.2cm wide x 4cm high. It's made of wood and arch shaped at the top.Nails are used as marble deflectors and target areas in various places on the board's surface. The intent of the game is to accumulate points by having a marble land in a target area 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 the right side of the board is a Runway - a covered wooden channel in which to place a marble. The function of the Runway is to direct the marble to the top surface of the board. When a marble is placed in the Runway hole and the board is properly slanted, the marble rolls down the Runway and rests against a Plunger - a spring-loaded cylindrical rod which when operated by the player, propels the marble up the Runway.
When a player pulls the Plunger and releases it, the Plunger cylinder hits the marble, propels it up the Runway, and then gravity takes over and the marble rolls down the slated board surface. 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 (during its decent on the board surface) to rebound against the sides of the board and against the embedded nails which act as deflectors. As the marble rebounds against the nails it rolls down the board's surface, it either falls into a target hole (resulting in a player accumulating scoring points), or comes to rest at the bottom in a scoring slot. However, a marble may land in the area marked "LOSE 250", or "OUT".
The playing surface has a number of outlined areas with defined point values. The bottom edge of the board has 9 slots with defined point values and the two ends marked as "OUT". Depending upon decisions of the players involved, a game can continue by retrieving the marble and the same player can start the process anew or another player can have a turn. For example: the method of play decided upon may entitle each player to have 3 "shots" in a row in order to accumulate scoring points.
Last update February 25, 2010