Tiddlywinks is a game played on a flat felt mat with sets of small discs called "winks", a pot, which is the target, and a collection of squidgers, which are also discs. Players use a "squidger" (typically made from different types of plastic, though glass, rubber, cork and onyx are occasionally seen) to shoot a wink into flight by flicking the squidger across the top of a wink and then over its edge, thereby propelling it into the air. The offensive objective of the Tiddlywinks game is to score points by sending your own winks into the pot. The defensive objective of the game is to prevent your opponents from potting their winks by "squopping" them: shooting your own winks to land on top of your opponents' winks. As part of strategic gameplay, players often attempt to squop their opponents' winks and develop, maintain and break up large piles of winks.
The game began as an adult parlour game in Victorian England. Joseph Assheton Fincher filed the original patent application for the game in 1888 and applied for the trademark Tiddledy-Winks in 1889. John Jaques and Son were the exclusive distributors of the game named Tiddledy-Winks. However, competition was quite fierce, and for several years starting in 1888 other game publishers came out with their own versions of the game using other names, including Spoof, Flipperty Flop, Jumpkins, Golfette, Maro, Flutter, and many others.
It became one of the most popular crazes during the 1890s, played by adults and children alike. In its earlier years, many different varieties were produced to meet the marketplace demands, including those combining tiddledy-winks principles with tennis, basketball, croquet, golf, and other popular sports and endeavours. Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, the public perception of the game changed.
Playing Tiddlywinks is serious business...