The 1938 Vintage Board Game of Jack and Jill
Howard R. Garis (1873-1962) is best known for his children’s book series featuring Uncle Wiggly Longears and the Uncle Wiggly board game inspired by those beloved tales. But he wrote numerous other stories and even created a few additional board games that are just as wonderful. The vintage 1938 game of Jack and Jill (or Who Brought the Water) is another of Garis’ board games. The game was also illustrated by Lansing Campbell, who was the talented illustrator for many of his children’s books.
The game of Jack and Jill is a simple style race game, but with an interesting addition. As one might suspect, the game includes a race to fetch a pail of water. It is this ‘pail of water’ that adds a charming element to the game. The player holding it can change during the game and this is an exciting feature for children (and others) playing it.
On the inside of the box lid, a short story is written that sets up the scenario for the playing of the game. Exact directions then follow.
The story shares how Old Mother Hubbard asks Jack and Jill, who were playing in front of their house, to get her a pail of water from on top of the hill and bring it to her house. Jack and Jill decide to race to the Well to grab the pail, and then on to her house. The game follows this storyline, and so the object for the game is to be the first player to reach Old Mother Hubbard’s house with the pail of water.
One of my favorite pieces for the game is the small hollow wooden game piece which represents the pail of water (shown right-very bottom). It is a thoughtful addition, and at the beginning of the game this piece is placed at the top of the hill on the Well space of the board.
Players begin the game from the house of Jack and Jill. By the spin of the spinners, indicating movement, players follow the white stone path to the Well, and then on to the house of Old Mother Hubbard. Along the way, players may land on specialty spaces and need to follow directions written on them.
Players choose to be either Jack or Jill at the start of the game. The red game pieces are Jacks. The yellow game pieces are Jills. The board’s spaces give different directions for Jack and Jill, as can be seen on the board below.
Whoever reaches the Well first takes the Pail and moves it with his piece accordingly. If another player passes the player with the Pail, he then takes the Pail and now he moves with the Pail. Although there are a few more special rules, the game is won by the Player with the Pail landing by exact spin on space 150 (Old Mother Hubbard’s house) first.
The pleasant trek on the board includes lots of mentions and illustrations of other Nursery Rhymes. Players pass Tommie Tucker, Humpty Dumpty, Little Boy Blue, Jack Spratt, Mother Goose, and many others. This whimsical journey, while playing Jack and Jill, and a race with a pail, is one which can still be enjoyed today and makes the game a unique and cherished collectible.