Victorian Mad Libs

I watch this web series called “Beer and Board Games” where people get drunk and play sometimes terrible board games. Pretty self-explanatory. It’s hilarious stuff, but the language is extremely NSFW.

(I once got inspiration for three old posts about horrifically offensive early film titles from another great web series called “Welcome to the Basement“; you might notice that both shows were created by and star Matt Sloan who, on a completely tangential note, does all of the official voice-work for Darth Vader now, since James Earl Jones no longer does it. The point is, both shows are fantastic for nerds and they’ve influenced some of my posts here, and you should really watch them.)


On an episode of “Beer and Board Games” from way back in 2013 (gameplay starts around 3:00), they played a once-popular Parker Brothers game from 1898 called Peter Coddle Tells of His Trip to Chicago. I believe this is a follow-up game to an 1890 version called Peter Coddle Tells of His Trip to New York.

Peter Coddle

As they immediately point out, this is basically an early version of Mad Libs, but instead of filling in the blanks completely by yourself, the game comes with mildly amusing suggestions on cards. While it’s possible to get a legitimately funny story with the 1898 suggestion cards, the game is a little tame by today’s standards. So they spiced it up by using Cards Against Humanity cards to fill in the blanks.

Below is the original text of the game, in case you’d like to play it for yourself. As I’m transcribing this from their video, I’m not sure if any of the story got edited out.

Peter Coddle Tells of His Trip to Chicago

Our old friend, Peter Coddle, lived in the town of Rock Bottom, which is a town so small that it’s not down on the map. Peter had never visited a city in his life, but was most anxious to do so.

“Well, you see, I hain’t much for story-tellin’, but I don’t mind telling yer a few things that happened when I went down to Chicago. I took with me [BLANK] and [BLANK], so I was well fixed.

“It didn’t take me long to get aboard the train, because I was anxious to get to the city. What do you suppose was the first thing I saw on the train? A [BLANK], sitting right near [BLANK], which frightened [BLANK] right across the aisle from me. And [BLANK] jumped out of the window!

“There were some soldiers on the train, just back from the Philippines–every one of which had [BLANK] and [BLANK] with him. And someone stole from me my [BLANK] and [BLANK], which I intended havin’ for lunch. This made me mad as [BLANK], so I up and threw [BLANK] at the feller just back of me.

“The conductor was goin’ to throw me off, but I gave him [BLANK], which I guessed pleased him, for he smiled like [BLANK].

“The train at last pulled into the depot at Chicago, and I got off and went out onto the sidewalk in front of the station, feeling like [BLANK]. Talk about your high buildings! Why, one was as high as [BLANK].

“As I was walkin’ along State Street, I came to a big shop. They had [BLANK] with [BLANK] inside, and I bought some. While I was in the shops,  some feller yells out, “[BLANK] has been stolen!”

[I assume some of the narrative on the video has been cut out of the middle here.]

“A big policeman saved me and I gave him [BLANK] for his kindness.

“I went over to another place, kept my Mr. Northen, and got a room for [BLANK] a day, which I thought very cheap. I slept all night and woke in the morning feeling like [BLANK]. After breakfast of [BLANK] and [BLANK], in the afternoon I went into Sam and Jack’s Theatre. A girl came out who looked like [BLANK] and sang a song about [BLANK].

“I got home last night, and the way I feel about it now is that if ever I go to Chicago again, I will take along with me [BLANK] and [BLANK].”

Please let me know if any of you come across any ridiculous Victorian board games. I’m sure there have to be some offensive or stupefying ones out there. If I get enough, I’ll do a whole post on them.

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