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Floor Games

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

H.G. Wells had so much fun playing with his children on the floor of their playroom, he decided to write a jovial little book to inspire other parents in their pursuit of quality time with the kids. While the raw materials available from hobby stores of his day were woefully short of the variety and quality of what can be bought easily now, he and his sons created their own worlds to rule. This short work describes two games of imagination played out upon the floor of his home – an archipelago of islands, and a thoroughly integrated city, conveniently organized with two mayoral positions for his sons “G.P.W.” and “F.R.W.” While the toy people appearing in their worlds were often of martial nature, Wells decided to leave decryption of military games to a later book: “Little Wars.”

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ., 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 c. . . Read More

Community Reviews

After you read Little Wars, you have to read this one.

This Temenos Press edition is titled, Floor Games: A Father's Account of Play and Its Legacy of Healing. Absolutely one of the best descriptions I've read in quite some time of mature pretend play, discounting the unapologetic and all-to-be-expected colonialist framework that mars the Game of the...more

This is Wells at his most playful, literally. Wells outlines the games he plays with his two sons and the equipment they use. He describes building islands and cities on the floor in their home. The cities are populated by toy soldiers and any other figures they could find. He bemoans the lack of...more

Not much to be gained in this very short "book". I did like the philosophy of the open floor for children to play on, but then Wells starts to sound too British, criticizing toy store toys as too rigid, while at the same time specifing exactly what a child should take away from playing with brick...more

Often called a "companion book" to his work on wargaming called Little Wars even though it was written first, Floor Games is about the practice of creating imaginary worlds out of figurines, blocks, and whatever else might be lying around -- a skill possessed by almost every child, though most fa...more

Brilliant. But skip the legacy part.