This Is What a 17th Century Drinking Game Looked Like
It turns out our modern drinking games are weak sauce compared to how European aristocrats partied in the 17th century. Today it’s often about how many shots you can handle in under an hour or what word will signal a waterfall on the latest Bachelorette. Back then, it was apparently about mechanical, heavy, often pointy, and usually animated objects that carried a ton of booze.
An antique drinking game, called Trinkspiel, is currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. It’s a mechanized vessel made out of silver that is over 200 years old. The museum conservator describes it as “an animated machine, which is something like a robot.”
It was first created somewhere between 1610 and 1620 by Joachim Fries, a famous German goldsmith. Apparently, these metal, wind-up sculptures were all the rage in the 1600s and a common form of party game for the rich.
So, how does it work?
1. First the host would introduce the automaton of the night: “This is Diana, the Goddess of Hunt.”
2. Then, the dinner host would remove the stag’s head and fill the sculpture cavity with wine.
3. She would turn the device’s key like a boozy music box, and send it buzzing and bouncing around the dinner table.
4. And, lastly if Diana the drunk warrior stopped in front of you, you would then have no choice but to drain the entire metal vessel of its alcoholic contents.
When you were all finished, maybe you looked like this. Because drinking vessels may change, but drunkenness is timeless.
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