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What Is Bilboquet?


Well besides being the best ice cream emporium and café in the West Island :-), BILBOQUET is also a game.

The origins of the game are obscure.  It may have been invented independently in multiple places, or it may have spread around via international commerce.  It is known in places as diverse as the Arctic, France, and Peru.

The French game is called bilboquet which was played as early as the 16th century.  The game was popular in the royal courts of Europe, where players caught a swinging ball in a cup at the end of the handle.

In North America, the game was both a child's toy and a gambling mechanism for adults, and involved catching a ring rather than a ball.

In some native American tribes it was even a courtship device, where suitors would challenge the objects of their interest to a polite game of ring and pin.

The Mohave variant of the game included up to 17 extra rings attached to the cord, and game scoring involved differing point values assigned to different rings.

Other variants include those played by the Inuit of what is now Labrador, with a rabbit's skull in place of the ball, with extra holes bored into it, which had to be caught on the handle like a skewer; and those that used balls of grass or animal hair.

This game was also popular in England during the early 1800s, as Jane Austen is reputed to have excelled while entertaining her brother's son in a game called bilbocatch.

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