Floor Toys

How utterly we despise the silly little bricks of the toyshops! They are too small to make a decent home for even the poorest lead soldiers, even if there were hundreds of them, and there are never enough, never nearly enough; even if you take one at a time and lay it down and say, "This is a house," even then there are not enough. We see rich people, rich people out of motor cars, rich people beyond the dreams of avarice, going into toyshops and buying these skimpy, sickly, ridiculous pseudo-boxes of bricklets, because they do not know what to ask for, and the toyshops are just the merciless mercenary enemies of youth and happiness—so far, that is, as bricks are concerned. Their unfortunate under-parented offspring mess about with these gifts, and don't make very much of them, and put them away; and you see their consequences in after life in the weakly-conceived villas and silly suburbs that people have built all round big cities. Such poor under-nourished nurseries must needs fall back upon the Encyclopedia Britannica, and even that is becoming flexible on India paper! But our box of bricks almost satisfies. With our box of bricks we can scheme and build, all three of us, for the best part of the hour, and still have more bricks in the box.

So much now for the bricks. I will tell later how we use cartridge paper and cardboard and other things to help in our and of the decorative make of plasticine. Of course, it goes without saying that we despise those foolish, expensive, made-up wooden and pasteboard castles that are sold in shops—playing with them is like playing with somebody else's dead game in a state of rigor mortis. Let me now say a little about toy soldiers and the world to which they belong. Toy soldiers used to be flat, small creatures in my own boyhood, in comparison with the magnificent beings one can buy to-day. There has been an enormous improvement in our national physique in this respect. Now they stand nearly two inches high and look you broadly in the face, and they have the movable arms and alert intelligence of scientifically exercised men. You get five of them mounted or nine afoot in a box for a small price. We three like those of British manufacture best; other makes are of incompatible sizes, and we have a rule that saves much trouble, that all red coats belong to G. P. W., and all other colored coats to F. R. W., all gifts, bequests, and accidents notwithstanding. Also we have sailors; but, since there are no red-coated sailors, blue counts as red.

Then we have "beefeaters," (Footnote; The warders in the Tower of London are called "beefeaters"; the origin of the term is obscure.) Indians, Zulus, for whom there are special rules. We find we can buy lead dogs, cats, lions, tigers, horses, camels, cattle, and elephants of a reasonably corresponding size, and we have also several boxes of railway porters, and some soldiers we bought in Hesse-Darmstadt that we pass off on an unsuspecting home world as policemen. But we want civilians very badly. We found a box of German from an exaggerated curse of militarism, and even the grocer wears epaulettes. This might please Lord Roberts and Mr. Leo Maxse, but it certainly does not please us. I wish, indeed, that we could buy boxes of tradesmen: a blue butcher, a white baker with a loaf of standard bread, a merchant or so; boxes of servants, boxes of street traffic, smart sets, and so forth. We could do with a judge and lawyers, or a box of vestrymen. It is true that we can buy Salvation Army lasses and football players, but we are cold to both of these. We have, of course, boy scouts. With such boxes of civilians we could have much more fun than with the running, marching, swashbuckling soldiery that pervades us. They drive us to reviews; and it is only emperors, kings, and very silly small boys who can take an undying interest in uniforms and reviews.

And lastly, of our railways, let me merely remark here that we have always insisted upon one uniform gauge and everything we buy fits into and develops our existing railway system. Nothing is more indicative of the wambling sort of parent and a coterie of witless, worthless uncles than a heap of railway toys of different gauges and natures in the children's playroom. And so, having told you of the material we have, let me now tell you of one or two games (out of the innumerable many) that we have played. Of course, in this I have to be a little artificial. Actual games of the kind I am illustrating here have been played by us, many and many a time, with joy and happy invention and no thought of publication. They have gone now, those games, into that vaguely luminous and iridescent into which happiness have tried out again points in world of memories all love-engendering must go. But we our best to set them and recall the good them here.


Folksonomies: play

/business and industrial/construction (0.600093)
/art and entertainment/theatre (0.500019)
/shopping/toys (0.499687)

silly little bricks (0.945587 (negative:-0.817196)), rich people (0.921887 (positive:0.407054)), poorest lead soldiers (0.879800 (neutral:0.000000)), merciless mercenary enemies (0.863379 (negative:-0.330411)), unfortunate under-parented offspring (0.854190 (negative:-0.705903)), scientifically exercised men (0.833071 (neutral:0.000000)), poor under-nourished nurseries (0.832714 (negative:-0.430919)), unsuspecting home world (0.828479 (negative:-0.494666)), toy soldiers (0.824756 (negative:-0.432224)), G. P. W. (0.824734 (neutral:0.000000)), F. R. W. (0.824471 (neutral:0.000000)), Salvation Army lasses (0.820172 (positive:0.442811)), reasonably corresponding size (0.820010 (positive:0.298435)), Mr. Leo Maxse (0.811279 (neutral:0.000000)), silly suburbs (0.750146 (neutral:0.000000)), ridiculous pseudo-boxes (0.741847 (negative:-0.435537)), Floor Toys (0.741471 (negative:-0.817196)), decent home (0.741008 (neutral:0.000000)), motor cars (0.739681 (neutral:0.000000)), big cities (0.737670 (neutral:0.000000)), weakly-conceived villas (0.736627 (neutral:0.000000)), rigor mortis (0.736271 (neutral:0.000000)), small price (0.733603 (neutral:0.000000)), pasteboard castles (0.731646 (neutral:0.000000)), decorative make (0.730110 (neutral:0.000000)), India paper (0.729766 (positive:0.318932)), national physique (0.728807 (positive:0.680763)), railway porters (0.727131 (neutral:0.000000)), Encyclopedia Britannica (0.727031 (negative:-0.430919)), small creatures (0.726598 (neutral:0.000000))

Tower of London:Facility (0.892212 (neutral:0.000000)), G. P. W.:Person (0.882377 (neutral:0.000000)), weakly-conceived:City (0.836436 (neutral:0.000000)), Salvation Army:Organization (0.784385 (positive:0.442811)), India:Country (0.782729 (positive:0.318932)), lions:Organization (0.770634 (neutral:0.000000)), shops—playing:City (0.768045 (neutral:0.000000)), Mr. Leo Maxse:Person (0.719359 (neutral:0.000000)), Lord Roberts:Person (0.707555 (neutral:0.000000)), Hesse-Darmstadt:City (0.701649 (negative:-0.494666)), two inches:Quantity (0.701649 (neutral:0.000000))

Rail transport (0.885686): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Toy soldier (0.816516): dbpedia | freebase
Box (0.744791): dbpedia | freebase
Rigor mortis (0.734598): dbpedia | freebase

 Little Wars and Floor Games: The Foundations of Wargaming
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Wells, H.G. (2006110), Little Wars and Floor Games: The Foundations of Wargaming, Retrieved on 2017-01-03
  • Source Material [www.gutenberg.org]
  • Folksonomies: history gaming