I’m not a fan of bingo. I would go so far as to say that I strongly dislike it. But even I was delighted to play with this 18th century pre-cursor to the game, the French “Jeu de Cavagnole.”
During our interview, which you can hear above, Andrea Immel (curator of the Cotsen Children’s Collection) and I walked through the complicated apparatus of the game, all kinds of ivory spindles, cages and beads with scrolls…
One of the biggest differences between this game and your average bingo experience is the game board. I know that some bingo cards have branched out. Road trip bingo, for example, has pictures of objects to be marked off as they’re spotted on the drive. But the Jeu de Cavagnole decorations have nothing to do with the gameplay at all. They’re just conversation pieces, designed to move the experience beyond simple gambling.
So if you’ve ever thought that bingo could be more interesting (and if filthy rich French people fall into your definition of ‘interesting’) check out the interview above.