Our group was originally considering swordplay but we decided to do a less complicated, easier-to-handle game for our first one. Beggar My Neighbour was a good choice as the Year Ten members of our group had studied the Industrial Revolution in mandatory History the previous year and the Year Nines were studying it at the same time.
Beggar My Neighbour is a card game originally created during the Industrial Revolution, where playing cards had risen to prominence due to the advent of machines that could mass produce them. In a game of Beggar My Neighbour, two or more players take turns drawing cards. If a 'court card' (ace, king, queen, jack) is drawn, then the player's opponents have a certain number of oppurtunities to draw another court card before the player takes the entire deck of cards in the centre. The number of oppurtunities is based on the card drawn; an ace is 4, king is 3, queen is 2, jack is 1). This positions the jack card as the most powerful in the game, interesting as it is usually the opposite in card games. Once a player has used all of their cards, they have lost. The person with either the most cards at the end of a set time or the only one left wins. The game sounds complicated on paper but it is fairly simple when actually playing it.
Our game ran very smoothly on the day. Everybody seemed to pick up the rules quite quickly and we only had to correct a single table on how they were playing the game. We should have made more of an event of the final game but I don't think it impacted too harshly on people's enjoyment. The bracket system made sure that the games were well-organised and we seemed to have a perfect amount of people so that everybody was in a game at any given time. Our only major problem was that the game ran a little shorter than we expected and it did not fill out the whole period.
The accessibility and simplicity of Beggar My Neighbour made it popular among all the classes of the Industrial Revolution. It is interesting that the queen is presented as a more powerful card than a king. This can be linked to the fact that Queen Victoria's husband died early on, leaving her as the sole monarch. As the games could potentially be quite short, it was good for downtime, which citizens of Britain during the Industrial Revolution found themselves with a lot more of.