In the '20s a house was not considered really furnished unless its accessories included a mah-jongg set. As times changed, first bridge, then television and finally Scrabble, dominated game rooms (Monopoly was there all the time). This year looks like being the gamiest Christmas ever. Not only are the old favorites appearing in handsome new dress, but there are new, big and expensive entertainments on these and following pages. The beanbag game opposite, for example, is not exactly a stocking-filler—it measures four feet by four feet. Jigsaw puzzles and chess sets are available at prices up to $2,000. A novelty certain to fascinate Americans with gambling instincts is Rollette (above), a Danish creation which not only provides exciting play but is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship
Quality is the keynote of Christmas games. The lowly beanbag game is now the Greatest Show Under the Sun in hand-painted wood (Scarabaeus, $250). A chessboard is of stained glass (Merrin, $50), a round dicebox of saddle leather (T. Anthony, $14). An eight-game set comes in a cowhide case (T. Anthony, $55), a backgammon set in red morocco (Mark Cross, $160). Another dicebox is in walnut (Marshall Field, $25), and a third is a leather cube (Boutique Caprice, $6). A baccarat shoe is of silver and wood (Gucci, $249), the chessmen are spruce and linden (Cepelia, $175). The poker set is mahogany and pigskin (Gucci, $125), the dominoes are cork (Boutique Caprice, $21).
The quality jigsaw puzzle also is having a renaissance. Prices go up to $2,000 for custom versions. There are round puzzles, no-picture puzzles and art puzzles such as Matisse's "Le Grand Atelier" (above). Its 750 wooden pieces are cut to order by Par Puzzles for $125.
Miniature games are as carefully crafted as standard versions. The leather-backed Scrabble board (T. Anthony, $15), an eight-inch square, folds four ways. The English leather cribbage board (Neiman-Marcus, $5) has a leather case. The pegboard travel chess set (Buffum's, $6.50) is made of wood in Rumania. Many games are magnetic. The ace of spades holds miniature chessmen, backgammon disks and a travel Scrabble tile.
LYNN ST. JOHN