Pass the Pigs / Pig Mania
The International Tale of the Pigs: From Germany to California
By David Moffat
While working at a ski resort in Berchtesgaden, Germany, a waitress gave me and my friends a small rubber pig on New years Day. It was meant to be a good luck charm. In our idle time we used to put the little pigs in our beer glasses to see whose pig would float up and down the most times. While removing the pigs to drink the beer we noticed that when a pig was “rolled” like dice they would land in various positions, on their sides, snouts, feet, or back we added another pig and began “rolling” both pigs at the same time. We noticed that some positions were more difficult than other to occur.
We made up a scoring system dependent on the “Fall of the Pigs”. We soon had a fun little pastime. Years went by with the little pigs hibernating in a drawer at home until I opened a restaurant pub in Bakersfield, California, my home town, which is about 100 mile north of Los Angeles. Not wanting to have dice thrown on the bar, I brought out the two little pigs from retirement. Soon there shouts of “sooee” and much laughter as patrons played the game. Because of the popularity of the game, myself and several friends decided to put the game on the market. We formalized the rules of the game. It was introduced to the public in the United States 1977 as ‘Pig Mania”. In 1984 it was introduced in Great Britain as “Pass the Pigs”. In the rest of Europe it took on various names according to nationality. Now the game is enjoyed around the world by millions.
A lucky charm indeed became very lucky!
I suppose I'll now have to buy a copy of the original game. You can find them on E-Bay with some frequency. If you'd like to learn to play, there are several on-line versions, including this one.