Steeple Chase Bagatelle Game

Steeplechase Bagatelle

This tabletop Bagatelle game was made by the Lindstrom Tool & Toy Company, Bridgeport, Conn. and copyrighted in 1934. It was donated to the Museum in 2004.

The board is made of wood and arch shaped at the top. Nails are used as marble deflectors on the board's surface. There are two different target areas on the board. One is the colored circles with horseshoe shaped target areas in the painted diamond. The second target areas are on the bottom edge of the board is a series of notched numbered areas. The intent of the game is to accumulate points by having a marble land in one of the targets on the board's surface. There are two ways to play.

For proper play, the top of the board should be raised upon a support on the table so that the bottom of the board sits on the table and the entire board slants downward toward the player. Like most standard tabletop Bagatelle games, this game was designed for a right-handed player. On the right side of the board is a Runway - a covered wooden channel, in which to place a marble. The function of the Runway is to direct the marble to the top surface of the board. When a marble is placed in the Runway and the board is properly slanted, the marble rolls down the Runway and rests against a Plunger - a spring-loaded cylindrical rod which when operated by the player, propels the marble up the Runway.

When a player pulls the Plunger and releases it, the Plunger cylinder hits the marble, propels it up the Runway, and then gravity takes over and the marble rolls down the slated board surface. The degree of propulsive force upon the marble is dependent upon how far out a player extents the Plunger from the board and how quickly the Plunger is released. Different degrees of force cause the marble (during its decent on the board surface) to rebound against the sides of the board and against the embedded nails which act as deflectors. As the marble rebounds against the nails it rolls down the board's surface, it either falls into a target area (resulting in a player accumulating scoring points as marked in the painted blue areas), or the marble comes to rest at the notched bottom of the board which also has painted scoring values for each notch.

Playing The Game

According to the manufacturer, this game can be played in two ways, as either the STEEPLECHASE RACE HORSE GAME or as a HIGH SCORE BAGATELLE GAME.


Each player picks a coloured marble to represent a horse. The mottled marbles are the "field", the three mottled marbles together represent one horse. Any colored marble reaching any of the four lower rings marked 150, 250, 350, and 500 is "first" and pays 1+1/2 to 1 in the 150 ring, 2+1/2 to 1 in the 250 ring, 3+1/2 to 1 in the 350 ring, 5 to 1 in the 500 ring. Any coloured marble reaching the bottom base line is "third", and pays 1 to 2. When a colored marble gets into a ring of its own color, it pays double the odds mentioned above.

The mottled marbles (the "field") pays 1/2 the odds of the regular solid colored marbles mentioned above, namely, a mottled marble in the 500 ring pays 2+1/2 to 1 instead of 5 to 1. There are no doubling possibilities on odds with mottled marbles. The mottled marbles on the "third~ bets pay 1 to 5.

Any coloured marble reaching the horse-shoe wins the race, and pays 12 to 1. Any mottled marble reaching the horse-shoe pays 3 to 1.


Each player shoots 7 marbles, one at a time. The scoring value of each disc is plainly shown by the numerals appearing on the game. However, when a marble enters a disc that has the same colour as the marble, then the score is doubled. When a marble of a different color enters a disc the score value is the same as appears on the game.

If one of the marbles is shot into the HORSESHOE then the entire score is doubled. For example: if the total score is 1200 and one of the marbles enters the HORSESHOE then the total score is doubled and becomes 2400.

Last update February 26, 2010