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Hopla Classic English Game

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It seems like every time the UK tries to gift us something wonderful, we refuse to give it its due respect. A ChipShop debuts in Brooklyn — promising to finally turn us on to Shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash — and what do they open right next door to? A Corner Burger (not exactly a level playing field). They give us The Beatles; we make it possible for John Lennon to meet Yoko Ono. And the biggest offense of all: they give us Shakespeare; we cast Ethan Hawke as a contemporary Hamlet. Oy vey.

For the sake of our kids, let’s get this one thing right. Hopla!, which has been regarded as a classic British game since the early 20th century, belongs in every American family’s home. To start, the directions are incredibly simple, but the game itself can be a challenge. So instead of fumbling with a large sheet of rules that folds about a million times, you and your kiddies can get the competition started right away. Here’s how you play: you flip a wax-filled cone with a hilarious wooden hand into the Hopla net. That’s it. No joke. The game, which is packaged in its original 1920s retro box, comes with four Hands, a 49-holes Hopla target, and 12 colored cones.

Hopla! Is also as egalitarian a game as you can get. Unlike some board games that require counting or other skills the preschool set may not have mastered yet, this British favorite will get your little one and bigger one together at the table, laughing, competing, and enjoying the heck out of slapping down that wooden hand. Cheers, Britain!

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