This article is for quizzes on Wednesday February 24th...
Bagatelle (from the Château de Bagatelle) is a billiards-derived indoor table game, the object of which is to get a number of balls (set at nine in the 19th century) past wooden pins (which act as obstacles) into holes that are guarded by wooden pegs; penalties are incurred if the pegs are knocked over. It probably developed from the table made with raised sides for trou madame, which was also played with ivory balls and continued to be popular into the later nineteenth century, after which it developed into bar billiards, with influences from the French/Belgian game billard russe (with supposed Russian origins). A bagatelle variant using fixed metal pins, billard japonais, eventually led to the development of pachinko and pinball. Bagatelle is also laterally related to miniature golf.
France, during the long 1643–1715 reign of Louis XIV, billiard tables were narrowed, with wooden pins or skittles at one end of the table, and players would shoot balls with a stick or cue from the other end, in a game inspired as much by bowling as billiards. Pins took too long to reset when knocked down, so they were eventually fixed to the table, and holes in the bed of the table became the targets. Players could ricochet balls off the pins to achieve the harder scorable holes. Quite a number of variations on this theme were developed.
In 1777 a party was thrown in honor of Louis XVI and the queen at the Château de Bagatelle, recently erected at great expense by the king's brother, the Count of Artois. Bagatelle from Italian bagattella, signifies 'a trifle', 'a decorative thing'. The highlight of the party was a new table game featuring a slender table and cue sticks, which players used to shoot ivory balls up an inclined playfield. The game was dubbed bagatelle by the count and shortly after swept through France.