5 Phrases From the ‘Games of Physical Skill’ Wikipedia Page That Merit Closer Inspection

Try Mumblety-Peg at your next bachelor party
5 Phrases From the ‘Games of Physical Skill’ Wikipedia Page That Merit Closer Inspection

You’d be surprised what Wikipedia editors classify as a “game” or a “physical skill.” “Trust fall” makes the list, but somehow “Herre på stång” doesn’t? I have to side with middle school teachers in 2004 on this one: Wikipedia isn’t a reliable resource.

At any rate, there certainly is a vast array of delightful competitions in Wikipedia’s “Games of Physical Skill” list. I didn’t write about any of those, though. Instead, please enjoy some of the most bizarre, inane and dangerous physical competitions the world has to offer…

Are You There, Moriarty?

As you can tell from the title, this is the most British game to ever exist. To play Are You There, Moriarty?, two lethally bored children lie down on their stomachs, head to head, but with three feet of separation (or “one metre,” as they so Britishly insist on calling it.)

Each contestant rolls up a newspaper to their desired length and sturdiness. The tension builds. Player One asks, “Are you there, Moriarty?” Every fiber of every muscle is on a hair-trigger. Whenever they feel like it, Player Two will politely say “Yes” — and the carnage begins. In a frenzy of pantaloons and wadded up Daily Mails, the two players roll this way and that, whapping at empty air until one of them is struck. The first kid to get hit has to go eat a sloppy wet breakfast, or whatever else they do for fun, and another young challenger takes his place.

Bowling for a Pig

This game also has British roots, so legally, you’re required to say “Bowling for a Pig” in the same cadence as Monty Python’s “pining for the fjords?!” It sounds goofy, but it actually has a tremendous cultural impact I didn’t see coming. 

This one is pretty much what it says on the tin. Competitive bowling was a popular contest at fairs and carnivals in 18th- and 19th-century England. In those days, a person who could afford to go to a fair was probably raising livestock. They weren’t rolling in quid, exactly; it was more like subsistence farming than lording over a vast plantation. So winning a pig, or sometimes a lamb or other small-ish animal, could be enough to change your family’s fortune for a year. 

As time went on, bowling continued to be fun as hell, but fewer people were raising their own livestock. So the prize slowly became a dead pig, and then a hunk of pork, and then eventually: bacon. Indeed, etymologists say this is where the expression “taking home the bacon” comes from.

Chubby Bunny

This one sounds cute, but it’s the deadliest game on the list. 

The whole idea is to take turns popping something in your mouth, and trying to say a silly phrase. The most common variant requires saying “chubby bunny” with a mouthful of marshmallows, but it’s also played with cotton balls and anything from “fuzzy bunny” to “chubby monkey.”

There are three documented asphyxiation deaths connected to this otherwise adorable game: a 12-year-old, a 32-year-old and a 37-year-old. Oddly, Charlie Brown may be to blame. While the origins of the game are unclear, there’s a Peanuts strip from 1959 where Charlie Brown chucks marshmallows into Snoopy’s mouth and tries to keep count.


This event is part of the Stånga Games, an Olympics-esque competition held on the Swedish island of Gotland every year since 1882. Players compete in games like Herre på stång, Rövkrok and, as if we needed to tell you, Sparka Bleistre. None of those games made the “Games of Physical Skill” list, so I’m not going to tell you what they are.

Stångstörtning itself is just an ostentatiously Scandinavian way of saying “log tossing.” The log must be over 4 meters long, 26 kilograms and made of spruce. The world record of 9.75 meters, set by Erik Larsson, has been untouched since 2015.

It may sound dorky, but put some respect on Stångstörtning’s name — it was once an Olympic sport. Kind of. It was an unofficial “demonstration” event at the 1912 Olympics.


This game has several versions, and they all involve hucking a pocketknife. In most cases, there’s a small wooden peg stuck in the ground, and the loser has to pry it out with their mouth (causing them to grumble and mumble). 

Sometimes the objective is to throw your knife into, or closest to, said peg. If you can’t whittle yourself a peg, you can just drive your knife as far into the dirt as possible, and challenge your opponent to dislodge it with their mouth. There’s an even ballsier version where each player whips the knife into the dirt at their own feet, and the person who comes closest to slicing off their tootsies wins. Driving it directly into your own foot is widely acknowledged as an automatic W.

There’s a still gutsier version that I don’t quite understand, but it involves two people doing a split and flinging knives between each other’s legs. And this game somehow hasn’t killed as many people as Chubby Bunny

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