- Place of origin:
ca. 1885 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
Carved and painted wood
- Credit Line:
Given by Mrs W. H. Fellowes
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Squails, which is played on a smooth table top, is a combination of shove ha'penny and bowls. The number of players has to be an even one, because they are usually divided into two teams. First a jack is flicked along a smooth surface, and then the discs are flicked. The discs of the player that are closest to the jack win the game.
The game was very popular in the late 19th century. Some very fine sets were made with which to play the game. The squails themselves are usually round with raised centres, but any flat circular object can be used. The jack, or target, is a metal object, usually a coin. To avoid arguments about who is nearest, a special measuring device, called a swoggle, is used. This particular example of Squails was made in India. It has a penny of George III (ruled 1760–1820) as a jack.
Design: 6 pair of slightly domed wooden discs painted in various patterns; 3 carved mother of pearl discs; George III penny
No. of pieces: 12 discs
No. illustrated: none
Place of Origin
ca. 1885 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Carved and painted wood
Height: 11.4 cm box, Diameter: 11.7 cm box, Diameter: 6.3 cm squails
Object history note
Squails, which is played on a smooth table top, is a combination of shove ha'penny and bowls. First a jack is flicked along a smooth surface, and then the discs are flicked. Those discs of one player that are closest to the jack win the game.
CGG-Games & Puzzles, 1991
Historical context note
Rewards: points awarded for the nearest to the jack. The one farthest away, one point, the next two and so on with the maximum score going to the squail closest to the jack.
Forfeits: normal play gives two points to the opposition if a player knocks the jack off the table or within 3in of the edge.
any squail going off the table or within 3in of the edge is out of play for that round.
No. of Players: any
Equipment required: 6 pairs of disc
smooth table top
Rules: Squails is a type of table bowls that was popular in Britain in the last century. Players are divided into two teams and seek to position wooden discs, called Sqauils as near as possible to a metal target called the Process or Jack.
1. Squails can be played on any table top, but a fairly strong, smooth round one is best.
2. The game may be played with wooden discs, raised in the centre, however, coins, wooden counters, coasters or plastic tddleywinks could all be used. Each team's squails should be clearly differentiated by colour or a number. Each player has an equal number of squails.
3. Old targets were usually made of metal-eg a small medal or stumpy lead cylinder. The target is placed or flicked into the centre of the table to start a round.
4. Squails is a game for any even number of players, but four to eight is probably good. Players are divided into two teams and team members take alternate places around the table.
5. Choice of playing order goes to the player who gets his squail nearest the target in a preliminary play. Turns pass clockwise around the table, alternating between teams. Each player plays one squail in a turn.
6. Playing a Squail is when the player plasces his squail partly over the edge of the tableand then pushes it with the palm of his hand as in Shove Ha'penny.
7. The objective is the players attempting to position their squails as near as possible to the target. Playing one squail into another to move it toward or away from the target is permitted.
8. If a squail pushes the target more than 6in away from the centre of the table the target must be put back in its original position. Two points are gnerally awarded to the opposition if a player knocks the target off the table or within 3in of the table edge.
9. A Dead Squail is one that goes off the table or stops within 3in of the table edge; it is dead for that round.
10. SCORING. Points are scored after all the players have played all their squails for a round. The squail farthest from the target scores one point, the next farthest two points and so on to the squail nearest the target.
11. A game consists of an agreed number of rounds.
Boxed wooden game of squails made in India in the 1880s
Children & Childhood; Games