Game of the Month : Dwyle Flonking

by Dagonell the Juggler

In honor of April Fool's, I went thru my files for the most foolish game I could find. I chose Dwyle Flonking. This is a traditional tavern game usually played outside of English pubs. One team fields the driveller, the other forms the girter. The flonking team has two chances to use the dwyle to score a wanton, a marther or a ripple. If no score is made, the driveller is swadged. After each member of the team has flonked, the teams switch places. Highest score after two innings wins. Really, would I make something like this up? :D

Okay, bear in mind the purpose of a tavern game is to drink beer. Players form two teams. One team selects a player to be the flonker, or swatter. He holds a driveller, a broomstick, which has a dwyle, a rag soaked in stale beer, fastened to the end of it. The other team forms a girter, or a ring of people around the swatter.

The flonker, or swatter, then attempts to flonk, or hit, the players of the other team with the dwyle. The players are allowed to duck or dodge, but must remain within reach of the dwyle at all times. Dancing and taunting are strongly encouraged. :D The flonker gets three points for a wanton, which is a hit to the head, two points for a marther, which is a hit to the body, and only one point for a ripple, which is a hit to an arm or leg.

If the flonker fails to hit anybody in two attempts, he must be 'swadged', and drink a quantity of beer. The traditional 'tankard' for this purpose is a clean chamber pot. After each member of the team has had a chance to swing the dwyle, the teams switch places. The team which scores the most points at the end of two innings wins.

Timothy Finn, in his book Pub Games of England attributes the creation of game to King Offa of Mercia, an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon king, but gives no citation for his statement. The accompanying picture is a detail from the painting "Children's Games" by Pieter Brughel the Elder which was painted in 1560.


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Finn, Timothy Pub Games of England, Oleander Press, New York 1981