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games-msg - 3/14/14


Medieval board games. Rules. References.


NOTE: See also the files: games-cards-msg, games-SCA-msg, golf-msg, sports-msg, cloved-fruit-msg, darts-msg, Tarot-Crd-Ruls-art, T-H-Dreidel-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: jmike at asylum.SF.CA.US (J. Michael Hammond)

Date: 29 May 90 16:18:40 GMT

Organization: The Asylum; Belmont, CA

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Greetings to milady Awilda and all others interested in organizing

celebrations of the King of Games!  I crave your indulgence as I throw

in my two farthings' worth from my perspective as a certified

tournament director in the United States Chess Federation.


The first important question to resolve is what *exact* versions of

period chess do you want to support?  I have seen articles and spoken

with players who have some somewhat suspect opinions as to valid forms

of the game.  I recommend the source "A History of Chess" by Murray.

It is a great big 900-pager, copyright 1913, and is still available

through U.S. Chess.  Their catalog number is C905MH, their price is

$39.95 (but well worth it), and their phone number is (800) 388-KING.

I believe the book is also available through other mail-order houses

but do not have any other information at hand.  {I hope I'm not

breaking netiquette with this endorsement; I make no kickback



Damiano della Greccia



From: mfy at sli.com (Mike Yoder)

Date: 1 Jun 90 16:07:44 GMT

Organization: Software Leverage, Inc., Arlington, MA


Llwyd ap Tentor of Myrkdfaellin asks:


>Interesting.... I wonder what real chess pieces were made out of at first??


Some existing chess sets from period with descriptions follow.  The heights

given are those of the Kings unless otherwise stated.  These are all from

_Chess Sets_ by F. Lanier Graham.


Arabic, 8th-9th C. bone, 1 9/16".

Persian (Nishapur), early 9th C. ivory, some stained green, 1 3/8".

Arabic, 9th-10th C. wood turned on a lathe.

Nordic, 9th-10th C. ivory, 2 5/16".

Spanish-Arabic(?), 10th C.(?) carved and plain rock crystal, 2 3/4".

Anglo-Saxon bishop, 10th C. whalebone, 4 1/8".

Nordic bishop, 10th-11th C. hartshorn, 3 1/8".

German bishop (Cologne), 12th C. ivory, 1 3/4".

Southern Italian, c.1100 ivory, 2 11/16".

French(?) queen, 11th-12th C. ivory, 3 7/16".

Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon, c.1200 walrus bone, 4".

Southern Italian vizier (queen), late 11th C. ivory painted red, 4 13/16".

Southern Italian pawn, late 11th C. gilded ivory, 3".

Danish(?) rook (guard), 12th C. hartshorn, 1 5/8".

Arabic, 13th C.(?) rock crystal and smoky topaz with gold foil setting.

Danish or German bishop, 13th C. walrus bone, 2 1/4".

Nordic bishop and knight, 13th C. bone, 1 7/16".

German knight, 14th C. ivory or hartshorn, 3 11/16".

Scandinavian, 14th C. bone turned on lathe, 2 15/16".  The design of the set

   was almost entirely based on the physical requirements of lathe turning.

Burgundian, late 14th-early 15th C. rock crystal and smoky quartz with silver

   gilt setting, 2 5/16".

German bishop(?), early 16th C. limewood, 4 1/8".


   Franz Joder von Joderhuebel (Michael F. Yoder) [...uunet!sli!mfy]



From: karplus at TURTLE.UCSC.EDU (Kevin Karplus)

Date: 19 Jun 90 00:17:10 GMT

Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Some evidence for dice chess:


From "A Short History of Chess" by Harold J. R. Murray (written 1917,

copyright 1963, Oxford University Press). This is not an abridgement

of his 900-page "history of Chess", but a separate work.  I'll have to

look up the longer work later.



       It is probable that the first Italian players often played

       chess with the help of the dice, an evil habit that lasted

       in Europe into the thirteenth century.


(Note the bias of a modern chess player against games of chance.)

No indication is given in this source of HOW dice were used in chess.


Knud Kaukinen                   Kevin Karplus

inactive in the West            teaching at UC Santa Cruz

                               karplus at ce.ucsc.edu




Date: 27 Nov 90 18:46:00 GMT


Responding to Matt Stum's questions ...


There are several (very similar) variants to this game, the most common

name being "Tablut". Board sizes range from 9x9 to 25x25 (of the ones

I've seen or read about). Some answers to your questions:


1) In some variants, the game is OVER when the king reaches the edge of

   the board :-). The more challenging version has the king needing to

   reach a corner, and in this case trapping against the edge is a win.

   This is sufficient, the sole objective is to trap the king; the

   king's protectors may still be running rampant.


2) You can't capture more than one warrior at once. Adjacent warriors of

   the same colour are thus safe from capture (adjacency is either

   vertical or horizontal, not diagonal).


Goffrid the Obtuse

Greyfells, Barony of Skraeling Althing, Midrealm


Jeff Boyd, BOYDJ at QUCDN.QueensU.CA

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Queen's University (Northern Center for Studies in Pretentiousness)




From: zebee at ucs.adelaide.edu.au (Zebee Johnstone)

Date: 16 Nov 91 00:07:25 GMT

Organization: Information Technology Division, The University of Adelaide, AUSTRALIA


grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu (Gretchen Miller) writes:

>I've recently started looking into period games, both atheletic and

>otherwise. Unfortunately, aside from "The Compleat Gamester", which is

>about 20 years out of period, and a few mentions of football, bowling,

>tennis, and various card and dice games, I have been able to find very



I have a translation of a Hungarian book.


Fun and Games in Old Europe, by W.Endrei and L.Zolnay.

published by Corvina.


ISBN 963 13 2386 2

C 1986

printed in Hungary 1988.  


Back flap has "orders to


Budapest 62

P.O.B 149



I found it remaindered by who knows what devious route!




       Zebee Johnstone          |      

   Adelaide City Council       |  Motorcycles are like peanuts -

   zebee at itd.adelaide.edu.au     |   who can stop at just one?



From: rkister at lonestar.utsa.edu (Robert F. Kister)

Date: 18 Nov 91 22:56:43 GMT

Organization: University of Texas at San Antonio


Heilsa! Greetings come from Gunnora Hallakarva, writing in the Barony of

Bjornsborg, Ansteorra, to Margaret Macdubhsidhe.


At the risk of starting to look like the "Viking Answer Lady", I've been

doing some games research in preparation for constructing a series of Tafl

games. My bibliography includes some listings that will be of help to you.

As a suggestion, look for books on games in public libraries, or college

libraries only if they have a Child Development of Education department. In

general, the public library (and/or InterLibrary Loan) is your best bet.


Murray, H.J.R. _A History of Board-Games Other than Chess_. Oxford. 1952;

   New York: Hacker Art Books. 1978.


Murray, H.J.R. "The Medieval Games of Tables." _Medium Aevum_. 10:2 (1941)

   pp. 57-69.


Bell, R.C. _Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations_. 2 vols. London:

   Oxford U.P. 1960, 1969.


Botermans, Jack, Tony Burrett, Pieter van Delft and Carla van Splunterer.

   _The World of Games_. New York: Facts on File. 1989.


Murray's books are absolutely exhaustive, and give copious historical notes.

Bell is very similar, although not so comprehensive, while Botermans et. al.

is illustrated with great color photos of reconstructed game boards.


Gunnora Hallakarva

c/o Christie Ward



From: mfy at sli.com (Mike Yoder)

Date: 18 Nov 91 19:11:38 GMT

Organization: Software Leverage, Inc., Arlington, Ma.


Good day to all, gentles.  The following material is probably only of interest

to chess mavens; it describes the rules to be used for the chess matches in the Carolingian Challenge III (sometimes called Duello).  It is the result of

research done at the behest of Danulf Donaldson (he, as the autocrat, asked me

to look into period chess rules).


One gentle spoke recently of investigating period games.  In any such endeavor

it is probably best to divide games into chess and all others -- Murray opined

that the literature of chess probably exceeded that of all other games

combined, and it would be difficult to gainsay him.  For chess itself, Murray's

massive tome contains extensive quotations from period sources (in various

languages), and problems from period collections.  I have leaned on it heavily

in producing the following; a full bibliography is at the end.




"Others may talk of the Round Table with its fifty knights, but I greatly

prefer the Square Table with only four knights." -- Fiske


Although it is often said that medieval chess and modern chess are very

different in character, this statement is somewhat misleading in the context of the Society because it creates the impression that modern chess rules are out of period.  The statement is true, but "period" goes beyond the traditional end of the medieval era by some hundred and fifty years; what fails to be "medieval" may still be period.


Consider then the question, "What is the closest period equivalent to modern

chess?". The answer is, for all practical purposes, "modern chess."


There was, to be sure, much more variation in chess rules within period than

there is now; but the mainstream pretty rapidly converged to a set of rules

which has not changed significantly in more than four hundred years.


The transition from the old chess to the new was quick wherever the latter

sprang up: this can be measured by the rapidity with which terms to distinguish the two forms vanish.  In all cases, the new game very quickly just becomes "chess" with no modifiers; during the transition period it is typically named by a term which translates as "queen's chess" or "chess of the furious queen." This refers to the fact that the queen in the old rules was a very weak piece, whereas the new queen "In a straight line spreads her destruction wide, / To left or right, behind, astride." (Hmm, reminds me of a lady I knew...)


The traditional date for the start of the transition from the old to the new

chess is 1475, but this is a rather arbitrary choice, and Murray thinks it too

early by about a decade.  The oldest surviving book dealing with practical

play, Lucena's text of 1497 (probably), describes both forms.  Luis Ramirez

Lucena was a young student in Salamanca at the time.


In any case, those of you who have worried that modern chess is out of period

can relax.  For all practical purposes, modern chess is period.


*Timed* chess matches, on the other hand, aren't period as far as is known.

They are a practical necessity for completing large tournaments in less than a

day, however.  Time limits were introduced about the middle of the 19th

century, but the penalty imposed was often a monetary fine rather than the loss of the game!  Sandglasses were used initially, but in the 1880s were replaced by clocks.


Living chess is recorded as far back as the 15th century; frequently the moves

of the game are determined beforehand, but I do not know whether this occurred

in period.  According to legend, such a game was played in 1454 in Marostica

(situated between Venice and Lake Garda) for the hand of a lady.




These rules are the same as modern rules, except that (1) en passant capture is forbidden if it gives discovered check; (2) there is no "draw by 3 repetitions" rule; (3) there are no exceptions to the 50-move rule in which more than 50 moves are permitted before a draw can be claimed.  (It may surprise some to learn that the 50-move rule is period.  But it is derived from a 70-move rule used in its predecessor, Shatranj; and Lopez may be responsible for reducing the number, since he argues that 50 moves are sufficient.)


In addition, it is not true that white always moves first; in period it was

typical to choose lots both for move and for color, and at some point the black pieces came to be considered lucky.  (I do not know if this was within period.) The modern custom came about from a suggestion by G. Walker in 1835 that the player who lost first move should get the black pieces as compensation.  For the Duello I will use the rule that the person who has second move may choose their pieces' color.


               ON RUY LOPEZ


Ruy Lopez de Segura (his last name is pronounced Lopeth) was a Spanish priest

from Zafra, Badajoz; he is commonly reputed to have become a bishop, but in

fact he merely sought this post without achieving it.  His _Libro de la

invencion liberal y arte del juego del Axedrez_ (Alcala, 1561) was to prove of

great importance in the development of chess.


In a tournament played in the court of Philip II of Spain in 1574-5, Ruy Lopez

and Alfonso Ceron (reputedly Lopez' equal) were defeated by Leonardo Di Bona da Cutri of Calabria and Giulio Cesare Polerio.  (This is the first documented

chess competition.)


Reuben Fine calls Lopez' book "hardly worth much by modern standards" and makes a convincing case for this assessment.




The following works, except for Chernev's _Companion_, each contain at least

some information on period chess or chessboards.  The _Companion_ is the source for the quote from Fiske, who wrote on the history of chess, particularly in Iceland.  Murray's work is virtually a necessity for anyone who would study the history of chess.


_The World's Great Chess Games_: Ed. by Reuben Fine; Crown Publishers, New

York, 1951.


Andy Soltis, _Chess to Enjoy_, Stein and Day, New York, 1978.


Alex Hammond, _The Book of Chessmen_, William Morrow and Company, New York.


Irving Chernev, _The Chess Companion_, Simon and Schuster.


F. Lanier Graham, _Chess Sets_, Studio Vista Ltd., London.


David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, _The Oxford Companion to Chess_, Oxford

University Press.


H. J. R. Murray, _A History of Chess_, Benjamin Press, Northampton, Mass.


Franz Joder von Joderhuebel (Michael F. Yoder) [...uunet!sli!mfy]



From: rkister at lonestar.utsa.edu (Robert F. Kister)

Date: 26 Nov 91 01:37:17 GMT

Organization: University of Texas at San Antonio


Greetings to Fiacha from Gunnora Hallakarva:


Just as a note, Linnaeus was travelling in Finland, but the Tablut

game he describes belongs not to the Suominen, but to the Lapps. They still

play it even today.


Sources for this game:


The best is H.J.R. Murray's _Board Games Other than Chess_ (full bibliographic

   info was given in my reply about board games). Murray discusses all the

   "Tafl" group of games, including Tablut, Alea Evangelii/Hnefatafl,

   Tawlbrwdd, etc.


Difficult (but possible) to obtain is D. Willard Fiske's Victorian treatise

   on _Chess in the Icelandic Sagas_. It does contain amazing amounts of

   information from the sagas which applies to hnefatafl, but incorrectly

   assumes that the game so described is draughts or backgammon.


Alea evangelli: the complete description, in both Latin and in English

   translation is to be found in Henry Armitage's _The Time of St. Dunstan_.

   The Alea passage is a complex correspondence of the gospels, such as was

   a favorite philosophical diversion of the clerical scholars of the day.

   If you know the rules of hnefatafl already, it makes sense, but no one

   could easily reconstruct the rules from the description as given.


Some of the other sources I listed in my board games note also describe

these games. I'm currently (among my other projects) working on a set with

the pieces carved of ivory nut (I'd use walrus ivory if I could amputate my






Subject: Period games and magic_

Date: 10 Feb 92

From: salley at niktow.canisius.edu (David Salley)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Canisius College, Buffalo NY. 14208


Margaret Macdubhsidhe writes:

> I've recently started looking into period games, both atheletic and

> otherwise.  Unfortunately, aside from "The Compleat Gamester", which is

> about 20 years out of period, and a few mentions of football, bowling,

> tennis, and various card and dice games, I have been able to find very

> little.  Besides Master Samalluh's (please pardon the mangled spelling) book,

> does anyone know of any good secondary or primary sources for games

> descriptions?  Is anyone else researching card, dice and athletic games

> (outside of tourney/fencing/martial arts)?  Want to share

> research/ideas/sources?


Duncan MacLeod writes:

> I am also looking for period sources for slight of hand magic, Both of these

> requests are for children who are trying their best to be patient, so

> swiftness of response would be much appreciated!


Actual period sources are rare, I only know of one:

        _The Art of Iugling [Juggling] or Legerdemaine_ by Samuel Rid, to be

sold by him in his shop in London, 1612.  To get this manuscript, go to a

University with a _U.S. Govt. Doc. Microfilm Collection_ and ask for Reel 971,

Cat# 21027, Pr 1121.U6, MiU F63-378.  Grainy photocopies of microfilm of

nearly illegible blackletter calligraphy of Old English grammar and spelling

make this difficult reading, but it's worth the effort.


Some very scholarly secondary sources include:

        _Medieval Games_ by Salamallah the Corpulent, Raymond's Quiet Press

ISBN 0-943228-03-4,$10.00.  I've also managed to track down about 3/4 of the

books he lists in the Bibliography.  Among them, I'd recommend the following



        _Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland_ by Alice Gomme,

pub. London 1894. in 2 vol.  Normally, I avoid Victorian books as the

scholarship usually tends to be nearly non-existant.  These books however,

are very well researched.  I can't quote a price or ISBN, because I don't

own them.  


        _Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations_ by Richard C. Bell,

Dover Pub., ISBN 0-486-23855-5, $6.50.  My edition is "revised edition - two

volumes bound as one" which makes it a bit confusing as the sequence goes;

table of contents, text, bibliography, index, table of contents, text, biblio-

graphy, index.


Some additional books:

        _Games of the World: How to Make Them, How to Play Them, How They

Came to Be_  edited by Frederic V. Grunfeld, Holt Rinehart & Winston Pub,

ISBN 0-03-015261-5.  My copy doesn't have the price listed on it.  Richard

Bell (see listing above) is listed as one of the consultants for the book.

The book is documented to the nth degree with photographs of museum pieces

and medieval manuscripts.  Instructions on building boards and playing pieces

are well written, well diagrammed and often photographed in intermediate stages

of construction.  Games are categorized into: Board & Table Games, Street &

Playground Games, Field & Forest Games, Party & Festival Games, & Puzzles,

Tricks & Stunts.  Additionally the table of contents has cross-indexed each

game for: Indoor or Outdoor; Solo, Pair or Group; Mental, Physical or Chance;

Playing Time - Short, Medium, Long & Prepartion Time - Short, Medium, Long.


        _The History of Playing Cards: with Anecdotes of Their Use in

Conjuring, Fortune-Telling and Card-Sharping_ edited by Ed S. Taylor et al.

Originally pub. London 1865, my edition is pub. by Charles Tuttle Co 1973,

ISBN 0-8048-1026-5.  No price listed on my copy.  It doesn't have a biblio-

graphy :-(, but all of the direct quotes are adequately footnoted.  The

illustrations are all modern drawings of medieval cards :-(  I would have

preferred photographs, warts and all.


        _Juggling: The Art and Its Artists_ by Karl-Heinz Ziethen & Andrew

Allen, 1986, Rausch & Luft Pub., ISBN 3-9801140-1-5, $69.00.  Karl wrote

a book in French, which translates as _The Complete History of Juggling_.

Unfortunately :-( it's in French, 1,000+ pages, $200.00+, and only available

from France by custom order!  Andrew talked him into publishing the American

Coffee Table version listed here.  I'd suggest getting it from the library

as after the first ten pages of medieval history, it goes into 1940.

Additionally, the illustrations are simply labelled, "Greek Vase c240BC" or

"Danish Manuscript 1470" with no additional information.


        _Street Magic -- An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and

Their Conjuring Arts_ by Edward Claflin and Jeff Sheridan, Doubleday and Co.,

ISBN 0-385-12864-9, $5.95.  Well written, well documented and lots of photo-

graphs of museum pieces and manuscripts.  Duncan, if you only use one book

from this list, it has to be this one!


Books strictly on techniques, or how to play:

        _The Juggler's Handbook_ by Bob Stone, Spiritwood Publishing, ISBN

0-9611928-0-1, $12.95.  This one contains something I've never seen anywhere

else, Juggling Notation.  Juggling notation is to juggling what musical

notation is to music, a set of symbols for writing down how to do a sequence.


        _Juggling with Finesse_ by Kit Summers, Finesse Press, ISBN

0-938981-00-5, $14.95.  An American success story, Kit Summers is two time

winner of the International Jugglers Association World Championship.  The

second time was AFTER he had been hit by a truck and told he would never

leave his hospital bed.


        _The Juggling Book_ by Carlo, Random House, ISBN 0-394-71956-5, $6.95.

Carlo is a juggler for Barnum and Bailey Circus, nuff said!


        _The Complete Juggler_ by Dave Finnigan, Random House, ISBN

0-394-74678-3. No price listed on my copy.  I'm normally sceptical of any

book that calls itself _The Complete "X"_.  In my opinion, "X" has to be

at least a dozen words to define a field of knowledge narrow enough to covered

completely in one book.  This one however, comes real close.  The author is

a former president of IJA and there's enough tricks here to keep a juggler

going for years.  For those who like to compare their performance against

others, the book contains the Official Rank Requirements of the IJA, ie, what

you have to be able to do to earn the next rank.


        _Hand Shadows_ & _Hand Shadows II_ I can't get my paws on these at

the moment, so I can't give you author, price or ISBN, but they're both

available from the Dover Pub. children's books catalog.  They're just what

they sound like, illustrated books on how to cast shadow pictures on the

wall. Does anyone know if this is period??  By the by, I'd recommend getting

the Dover catalog, it's free.  Write to: Dover Pub., 180 Varick St., N.Y., N.Y.

10014. Specify your fields of interest and ask for the general catalog as well.


        _The Boardgame Book_ by Richard C. Bell. Nothing spectacular, but

rules for most of common board games all conveniently in one volume.


Books which have been recommended to me, but I haven't yet read myself.

        _A History of Board Games Other Than Chess_ by H.J.R. Murray

        _Games Ancient and Oriental and How to Play Them_ by E. Falkener

        _A History of Playing Cards_ by Catherine P. Hargrave


                                                      - Dagonell


SCA Persona : Lord Dagonell Collingwood of Emerald Lake, CSC, CK, CTr

Habitat          : East Kingdom, AEthelmearc Principality, Rhydderich Hael Barony

Disclaimer : A society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers.

Internet    : salley at klaatu.cs.canisius.edu

USnail-net : David P. Salley, 136 Shepard Street, Buffalo, New York 14212-2029



Re: Period games and magic

Date: 11 Feb 92

From: eadengle at watcgl.waterloo.edu (Ed "Cynwrig" Dengler)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: University of Waterloo


(David Salley) writes:

>Margaret Macdubhsidhe writes:

>> I've recently started looking into period games, both atheletic and

>> otherwise.  Unfortunately, aside from "The Compleat Gamester", which is

>> about 20 years out of period, and a few mentions of football, bowling,

>> tennis, and various card and dice games, I have been able to find very

>> little.  Besides Master Samalluh's (please pardon the mangled spelling) book,

>> does anyone know of any good secondary or primary sources for games

>> descriptions?  Is anyone else researching card, dice and athletic games

>> (outside of tourney/fencing/martial arts)?  Want to share

>> research/ideas/sources?


I have been doing some of my own games research for some time now. Some

additional references that I have used for non-athletic games are:


_A History of Card Games_ (originally published as _The Oxford Guide to Card

Games_) by David Parlett, Oxford University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-19-282905-X.

Probably one of the best books I have ever seen on card games as it

seriously tries to describe where card games came from and what games were

played when (yes, I know that was a confusing sentence :-).


_A History of Board Games Other Than Chess_ by H.J.R. Murray. The copy I

have in front of me is from the Oxford University Press, 1952. I do believe

they still have it available for approximately 25 English pounds. A bit

slow going but a very good summary of most board games.


_A History of Chess_ by H.J.R. Murray. The copy I have in front of me is

from the Oxford University Press, 1962 (first published in 1913). Still

considered the classic book on the history of chess.


_Korean Games_ by Steward Culin. Dover, 1991 (originally published in 1895).

ISBN 0-486-26593-5. A light read through (no real in-depth history and some

out-and-out mistakes in some of the history it does describe (e.g. cards were

originally used for fortune-telling)) of some of the oriental games.


_The Game of Tarot_ by Micheal Dummett. London, 1980. It is not in front of

me right now, so I do not know its ISBN number. This is the book to see if

you are interested in the history and playing of Tarot cards.


All of the above books are easily obtained via inter-library loan from your

local library.


Sorry that this is such a short list, but the Games Museum at the University

of Waterloo is currently closed so I cannot cite some of the other references

I have used. Maybe tomorrow I will have some time to go over and get the

information on some of these books.


Cynwrig the Wanderer

(writer of _The Gambling Wolf_ gaming articles in the local newsletter)

Bryniau Tywynnog, Barony of Septentria

Principality of Ealdomere, Kingdon of the Middle

m.k.a. Ed Dengler



Truth or Dare, medieval style

Date: 11 Feb 92

From: lisch at relay.mentorg.COM (Ray Lischner)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


I have not made any seriour study of medieval games, but in my

reading, I have come across a couple interesting games. One is

"le roi qui ne ment" (the king who does not lie).  This is

mentioned as early as 1285 (Le tournoi de Chauvenci), and I

have seen it in one of the fabliaux. (I don't remember which.)


As far as I can tell, the game is played among a group of people.

One is chosen as king or queen, who gets to ask any question

of his or her "subjects." Being royalty, the subject is forced

to answer the question truthfully.  In return, the subject is

granted the favor of asking a question of the king or queen,

who must also answer truthfully. It seems the king or queen

would get to ask questions of many subjects, and then the

subjects get to ask their questions, and then it's time to

choose a new king or queen, or to play a different game.


There are other, similar, light-hearted games played by the noble

youth. Someday, I might sit down to try to figure out exactly

how and when they were played.


Peregrine Payne     Dragon's Mist, An Tir

Ray Lischner        UUCP: {uunet,apollo,decwrl}!mntgfx!lisch



Date: 16 Jun 92

From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: University of Chicago Computing Organizations


          Islamic Board Games


Jeff Zeitlin asks about them. A good source is Sallamallah's book on

period games, which I believe is still available from Raymond's Quiet



Backgammon, probably the game called "nard" in Arabic, was played in

Islam, with slightly different rules. The various pit and pebble

games are, I think, North African in origin; I am pretty sure they

are period (and earlier), but am not sure if we know the particular

rules then. Chess (Shatranj) is an Islamic as well as European

(originally Indian) game.


The Caliph Ma'mun (May Allah be contented with him) was a passionate

chess player, but not one of the first rank. He used to say:


"I am the master of the world, and to that task I am sufficient. But

to master two spans square, that is beyond me."





From: WILLIS%EIVAX at ualr.EDU (Brandr)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Flirtation

Date: 9 Apr 1993 15:37:35 -0400


> On the other hand, can someone post some alternative flirtatious

> games that can be played?  That don't involve getting amorously

> involved with persons unknown?  Or are less un-hygenic?


My lady, Glennys nic Kinley has developed a game she calls the Castle of Love,

based on her reading about the games of the middle ages.  She discovered a

passage which said the "Castle of Love" was played as a diversion at

tournaments and courts.  The basic concept of the game was a Lady defends her

castle while the Lord lays seige with words as his missles and flowers as his


We play the game thusly.  The lords and ladies are suggested to form pairs but

this is not necessarily so.  At the first playing many of the young single

ladies accepted all attackers to  their castle.  The lady stands in the castle

(if you wish I can snail mail diagrams and instructions for the portable on I

built) Then in front of the castle stands a gate keeper, usually a lady.  The

lord approaches the castle  and must first remove the gatekeeper.  We have

seen everything from bribes to taunting to picking up the gatekeeper and

setting her to the side.  Then the lord must convince the lady to allow him

into the castle.  This can be with words, songs (sung by hired bards is my way)

gifts or anything short of physically forcing his way into the castle.  We

gave a gift to the best interacting couple that played.  It was a great hit

after we played the actual game the gentles at the ball kept playing the game

over and over.  It was very fun.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: eadengle at watcgl.uwaterloo.ca (Ed "Cynwrig" Dengler)

Subject: Re: Mead and Backgamon

Organization: University of Waterloo

Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1993 19:16:55 GMT


Greetings to the Rialto and m'lord Nahum!


You wrote in your missive:

>Seeking information, would some kind gentle (or Jew) :-) please help me.

>Two questions

>1 -  I love playing Backgamon but can not practice because I have forgotten

>how to set up. I would be incredibly embarased if I came to some event

>say a year down the line and was absolutely unable to play.

>   Please, please, please would someone post or e-mail the set up configuration

>My most extreme gratitude!

>Nahum haZev    <FNKLSHTN at acfcluster.nyu.edu>


Well, there are about 25 or so variants that I could tease your playing

skills with, but I believe that the one you want is traditional medieval

backgammon (sometimes mistakenly referred to as "American" backgammon,

even though it originated in Europe). The layout is as follows:


       m l k j h g    f e d c b a

      +-+-+-+-+-+-+  +-+-+-+-+-+-+   White: enters on a-f

      |w| | | |b| |  |b| | | | |w|          moves from a-m-n-z

      |5| | | |3| |  |5| | | | |2|          bears off on t-z

      |                          |          2 on a, 3 on r, 5 on m and t

      |                          |   Black: enters on z-t

      |2| | | |3| |  |5| | | | |2|          moves from z-n-m-a

      |b| | | |w| |  |w| | | | |b|          bears off on f-a

      +-+-+-+-+-+-+  +-+-+-+-+-+-+          2 on z, 3 on h, 5 on n and f

       n o p q r s    t u w x y z



1) in some variations, the men on r and h are moved to q and j respectively

2) doubles can be handled in one of three manners:

   a) are played again

   b) the player has a second throw

   c) are treated as normal throws (ie. no special favours)


Hope this helps in your playing! If you want to know about other varients,

try the books:


   A History of Boardgames Other than Chess

       by H.J.R. Murray


   Board and Table Games of Many Civilizations (1 & 2)

       by R.C. Bell



In service to at least my version of the dream,

Cynwrig the Wanderer



From: haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Chinese - yes or no ??

Date: 29 Jun 1993 18:00:23 GMT

Organization: Digital Equipment Corporation - DECwest Engineering


Greetings from Fiacha,


As a gamesmaster, I have had cause to investigate the origins and

distributions of various games. This had led me to define cultural contact

in terms of the spread of various games.


Western Europe in late period played chess, cards and various dice games.

Chess was learned from the moslem lands, possibly via Byzantium and

possibly via Al-Andalus.


Cards were a local invention, first recorded in 1377 and rapidly spreading

through Italy France and Spain. Spreading a little more slowly into England

and Germany.


Dice were largely cubical and used for a variety of games, hazard being the

most popular in England (and slowly changing into the modern American game

of Craps). Cubical dice are standard throughout western Europe.


In China, the games were WeiChi (Go), a variant of chess and some games

played with long thin tiles or cards. There is no suggestion that the concepts

of these games appeared in Europe in period and so I judge that there was no

cultural contact.


Japanese games are equally unique and unknown.


Indian games include a large number of four sided games, particularly Parcheesi

which was unknown in period.


Africa is the home of Owari (or Mancalah). This game was undoubtable known in

Moslem countries as a game played by black slaves but it too was unknown in



I conclude that trading contact is not the same as cultural contact because

traders such as Marco Polo did visit these remote lands, but did not bring

back any of their games.


I conclude that the transmission of chess and chackers from the moslem to the

European countries does equate to cultural contact.


I do not know of any Mongol games so I make no judgement in that area.


I conclude that Africa south of the Sahara, India, China and Japan are all

out of place in the SCA.


However, the unbridled curiosity that got me into the SCA (or set my persona

travelling far from his birthplace) and the courtesy I am trying to develop

will not permit me to object to any individual who choses to claim one of

those lands as their place of origin.




        haslock at zso.dec.com



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mfy at sli.com (Mike Yoder)

Subject: Re: SCA Palatine Selection Methods

Organization: Software Leverage, Inc. Arlington, Ma

Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1993 15:34:22 GMT


Good day to Jennifer Geard and all other Rialtans.  Jennifer wrote:


>    Disadvantages: chess is not the world's greatest spectator sport --

>      playing with live chesspieces might make it better to watch but

>      would probably have to be framed as a masque in order to look at all

>      period.  (Hmmm... actually this could be fun.)


My sources assert that living chess is "recorded at least as early as the 15th

C.," and "often" the moves are determined in advance.  I don't remember whether

I got this from Murray's _History of Chess_ or some other source.


According to legend, in 1454 a game of living chess was played in Marostica for

the hand of a lady.  (Marostica is a town between Venice and Lake Garda.)  For

several years starting in 1954, an annual game of living chess was played in

Marostica to commemorate this; I do not know if the custom still continues.


I do not know how likely it is that this "legendary game" actually happened.

Nor do I know whether the first references to the legend occur in period.  If

anyone on the Rialto is going to northern Italy sometime soon, maybe they will

be tempted by this information to make a side trip to Marostica. :-)


   Franz Joder von Joderhuebel (Michael F. Yoder) [mfy at sli.com]



From: DDF2 at cornell.edu (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: help with a period games tourney

Date: 5 Dec 1993 04:40:25 GMT

Organization: Cornell Law School


gl8f at fermi.clas.Virginia.EDU (Greg Lindahl) wrote:


> My shire holds an annual (board) games tournament, and we are

> attempting to do a better job this year with our research.



Do you have Master Salaamallah's book of games? It has been available, I

believe, both from the stock clerk and from Raymond's Quiet Press; I do not

know whether either has it at the moment.


> Second, I am having a hard time tracing backgammon (table) to before

> 1600.


I believe that Nard is the Islamic name for backgammon, and that the

medieval Islamic version was reasonably close to the modern one, absent the

doubling cube. This is from my memory of what Sallamallah says, and may

well be wrong--I read the book some time ago.


Salaamallah is, I think, still active in the Society (East Kingdom); you

might see if anyone has his address.



DDF2 at Cornell.Edu



From: andrew at bransle.ucs.mun.ca (Andrew Draskoy)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: game board references, great book

Date: 23 Oct 1994 18:03:42 GMT

Organization: Memorial University of Newfoundland


I recently found a wonderful book which should probably be in the private

library of everyone in the SCA.  It's called "History of Everyday Things"*

On page 99 there's an illustration of a 15th century folding game board

with multiple games on it.


The boards I recognise are for Fox and Geese, Chess, and Nine Men's Morris.


There is another board that looks most intriguing.  If anyone can tell me

what it is, I'd be grateful.  The board consists of four concentric rings,

the outer one consisting of about 55 alternating red and black segments,

each about four times as long as wide.  At the top(?) of this band, aprox.

five of these are replaced with a (black?) diamond shape on a white background.

On the other side of the board, there are little white triangles outside

the band attached to every seventh segment.  The next band towards the

centre is quite thin and alternates black(?) and white segments corresponding

to three segments of the outer band.  The next band in has the same number

of segments, with blue corresponding to the black, and black to the white.

In the centre is a white circle containing a black star pattern with each

point connecting to the inner side of a blue segment in the previous band.


The book gives no sources for anything, but it is apparent that it is

well researched and that the things shown in it are real.  Therefore,

if anyone knows of a reference for this portable game board, please

let us know.


Miklos Sandorfia

andrew at bransle.ucs.mun.ca



From: ah488 at dayton.wright.EDU (Patrick J. Smith)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: History of Chess

Date: 20 Oct 1994 21:08:02 -0400


Sorry to take up bandwidth with this, but system problems lost me the name

and Email address of the gentle who asked for this information.


H.J.R. Murray's "A History of Chess" is available from the Benjamin Press,

Northampton Massachusetts. IBSN 0-936-317-01-9

To the best of my knowledge, his "A Short History of Chess" has not been

reprinted since Oxford University originally did so in 1963.

Jerzy Gizycki's "History of Chess was published in English Translation

of B.H. Wood by Abbey Press in 1972, an is out of print now.

John Gollon's "Chess Variations: Ancient, Regional, and Modern" was

published by Charles Tuttle Co in 1968, and also is not in print now.

Richard Eales "Chess: The history of a Game" was published by Facts on File

Inc. in 1985, and should be still in print. Unfortunately, I can't find my

copy to get the ISBN right now.


Murray's work, while a classic, has been dated somewhat by new findings

in the last 100 years. Gollon's or Gizycki's are probably best, but not

easily found. Eales is still good, if not the best.

If I can be of further help, pleas Email me at ah488 at dayton.wright.edu,

and not take up space on the network.

  I remain,

   Brusten de Bearsul, O.L.



From: nusbache at d1.rmc.ca (2LT Aryeh JS Nusbacher)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: History of Chess

Date: 25 Oct 1994 18:22:16 GMT

Organization: Royal Military College of Canada


Richard McAteer (rmcateer at chat.carleton.ca) wrote:

> Does anyone know how to play Hnefatafl  "King-board".


I have in interesting book called _The English at Play in the Middle Ages_

which opines that as soon as chess was introduced to an area, people

dropped hneftafl, never to play it again, 'cause it was such a pointless

game compared with chess.


Aryk Nusbacher

Post-Graduate War Studies Programme

Royal Military College of Canada



From: kbm at pts.PRof.COM (Karen Murphy)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Hnefatafl a dead game??? Nah ...

Date: 1 Nov 1994 14:20:40 -0500


Unto the Rialto, greetings from Arnora.


Regarding Richard's request for information on hnefatafl (hereafter

referred to in its norse/icelandic abbreviation, tafl, 'cuz i'm too lazy

to spell the whole thing :), I know the game well, and, in spite of

Aryk's words that it died out of popular play becuase of chess, I much

prefer the game to chess.


Granted, it is nowhere near as intricate game as chess is, in that each

piece can only move in straight lines, vertically and horizontally along

the board, but as a teacher of basic strategy and tactics, it has always

struck me as far more practical an example than chess.


Mind you, I also have a limited attention span, so learning the rules to

tafl was much easier for me than learning the rules to chess.  At best, I

play chess poorly, but I play a mean game of tafl, and I also play

several different types of tafl (there are at least three different and

documentable board sizes, the 11, 13 and 19 boards, with at least one

convincing argument for a 17 board as well).  in all variants, the

attackers outnumber the defenders by a substantial margin, making the

defenders the harder role to play.


If Richard (or anyone else :) has any specific questions on the game or

one of its variations, there are a number of people in my area who play

these games frequently and well; let me know, and if i can't answer the

questions myself, I'll pass them along to those who can (hello, Cynwrig

... :)





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Period kissing games

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Mon, 28 Nov 94 07:42:14 EST

Summary: how to do it right


From una  Mon, 28 Nov 94 06:39:29 EST


        Respected friends:

        This was written in response to an Email request, but I decided to

inflict it on you all. }:->


        "Prinkum Prankum" is a true carol- the singers dance in a ring, a

very simple bransle type dance. For steps and tune you would have to find

an old Carolingian. ("Old Marion" and Vissevald Selkirksson are on the Rialto

now and then.)

        The words are:

        "Prinkum-prankum is a fine dance

        And shall we go dancing once again?

        And once again, and once again,

        And shall we go dancing once again?"


        "This dance it shall no furthur go."

        "I pray you, good sir, (madam) why say you so?"

        "because Joan (John) sanderson will not come to"

        "She (he) must come to and she will come to,

        She (he) must come whether she (he) will or no."


        Then the dance stops, the man in the middle leads a lady from the

circle to a pillow , on which they kneel for the kiss. the lady remains in

the middle while the man rejoins the dancers. Repeat until everyone's had

enough, or (my preference) stop as soon as it's obvious to one of the

experienced dancers that the less popular dancers will soon realize they're

being skipped.


        Kissing bough:

        -It seems to have begun in Pagan days as a way of designating the

person who would speak next at the Yule storytelling. But by the time it's

`nailed down', in medieval France, it's become a courtly game.

        An evergreen branch, light enough to be easily lifted and as perfect

as possible, is selected. It is decorated with ribbons holding small bells.

        I don't remember anymore who starts this one, but the man who holds

the bough carries it to the lady of his favour. She gives him a subject upon

which he must compose a poem `ex tempore'.

        When he has one, he rings the bells on the kissing bough, recites

his poem and claims his reward. Then the lady gives the bough to another

gentleman (It is to be hoped she selects one who is capable of poetry)

- he does not, however, get a kiss at that point. He, in turn, must find

a _different_ lady to approach, etc.


        The original version of clove lemon:

        (This is more a middle-class thing: the poor give homemade trinkets.)

A citrus fruit, or at least a citrus rind, is obtained. (Remember, at this point

lemon rinds were inches thick. This is one reason why so few period recipes,

relatively speaking, call for lemon juice.)

        If a rind, the center is packed with whatever spices the young man

can obtain.

        In either case, the outside is scored and the scores rubbed with

spice. A prudent person will score in a pattern suitable for the number of

cloves he can afford.

        Once the cloves are set in, the lemon is set in a warm, dry place

until the skin begins to harden. (Ideally, this will occur at the proper

time- St. Valentine's day in some areas, twelfthnight or midsummers's morn,

whatever suits the local custom.)

        Then the suitor presents it to his sweet-heart. (One assumes a kiss

would be returned if the gift is a welcome one.) If the hearts are true, the

pomander will finish drying pure and sweet. If there is a flaw, it will show

in the fruit.

        (A clever, but unwilling, girl could probably manage the matter so

that her superstitious parents declared the suitor as rotten as his gift...)


        That's all I can remember at the moment. Do me a favor, if you would-

see if you can get any of these to take hold in your area...

        The sins of the lazy researcher are visited upon the Society, unto the

thousandth generation thereof.



(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk R.S.F.

Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf C.O.L. SCA



From: alfredo1 at aol.com (Alfredo1)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Period Games

Date: 9 Jan 1995 12:28:45 -0500


> i have recently taken up carving gameboards from in Period.  so far I have

> found a large group of games to work with, but i am always in search of more.


> I have checked out all of the sources from the Compleat Anachronist:Period

> Pastimes.  what i would like to know is: what are some other good sources

> available for Period games.  if you can, also give an isbn number, price, and

> what library i might be able to get it from via interlibrary loan.


Games of the World, Frederic V. Grunfeld, ed., ISBN 0-03-015261

Especially geared toward making games.


The Boardgame Book by R C Bell, ISBN 0 89535 007 6

This is supposed to work as boards itself, moving cut-out pieces on the

pages, but it doesn't work to well.  Still the photos of the authors collection

are great. Be sure to see the hidden side of the dust-jacket.


The Book of Games, Peter Arnold, ed., ISBN 0-671-07732-5

Mostly deals with rules and strategies.  Some period illustrations.


The Games Treasury by Merilyn Simonds Mohr, ISBN 1-881527-23-9 (pbk)


100 Indoor Games You Can Play by Peter Arnold, ISBN 0-517-65409


These are all "coffee-table" books; the first three have period

illustrations and photographs that will help you with design details.


Alfredo el Bufon



From: kellmer at u.washington.edu (Brent Kellmer)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: (More) Tablero Questions

Date: 31 Jan 1995 22:33:37 GMT

Organization: University of Washington


Greetings to those gentles gathered on this bridge, from Rodrigo Ramirez

de Valencia!


I haven't been following this thread closely, so I'm not sure if it's

been mentioned, but there's the Creative Anachronist "How to While Away a

Seige" that has Tablero rules and an explanation in it.  There is also a

drawing of a late period Tablero board (around 1560's I think, but I may

be off a bit).  I'm sure the author would be happy to help out if you

contact him -- it's Baron Gerhardt Kendall of Westmoreland, one of the

pillars on which An Tir stands (he is quite a wonder).  I don't know if

he has an e-mail address, but I can dig out a postal address if you'd like.


Point of note:  I've only seen it referred to as "Tablero de JESUS,"

rather than "Tablero de Jeses" (although one might be a corruption of the



There is also a traditional game of An Tir known as Tablero de Gucci,

after a well-known family in the kingdom -- generally done with beer

rather than with coins.  Games rarely last too long, even for the

strong-willed and hollow-legged.  


In Service to St.Bunstable, Madrone, and AnTir,


Rodrigo Ramirez de Valencia

Madrone, AnTir

kellmer at u.washington.edu



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: greyk at netcom.com (Grey Knowles)

Subject: Re: Help with Gambling Games

Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 23:51:09 GMT


-Otto,M.R. (motto at usgp4.ih.att.com) wrote:

: My beloved Angus is interested in holding an event where the good gentles

: of the area can enjoy an evening in pursuit of games of chance.  I would

: appreciate information any of you might have on such games as were played

: in our period.  Also, if any have held or attended a similar evening's

: festivities, I would be interested in tips and stories of how it went.


You may think about a name 'Rock n' bone' which would refer to both

barony and bones, ie dice.

As far as games go, I can tell you two good gambling games:

1) The predecessor to craps, Hazard. Almost excatly the same.

to play hazard: roll 2 dice (6 sided) after placing an ante. if 7 or 11

comes up, you win. if neither appears, take note of the number and roll

until you hit it. getting the number means you win, but if you roll 7 or

11 you lose. Pretty simple. Bets can be placed all over, on the number

that comes up on firstroll, whether he winns or loses, what the losing

number is.... etc.

2) German game: Lucky Pig (I forgot the translation). Much more

involved game. Can be played continuously throughout the day as 1 game.

board looks like:


\      \ 12   \     \


\11    \  9   \  10 \


\8    \  6   \   4 \


\3    \  2   \blank\



Rolling the dice is fairly simple: Roll the number and, unless there's a

coin there, put one there. If there's a coin there, take it. Here's the

trick: 12 is the king and 10 is the wedding. the pig is 2. The idea is

that if you roll the king, you get everything on the board BUT the

wedding. if you roll the wedding, you must put a coin, only (it's a gift

for the groom/bride). If you roll the pig, you get the entire board, even

the wedding. Also, note there's no 5. If you roll a 5, it's house choice.

This could be ANYTHING -  from downing all your ale, to ...?


Have fun.


greyk at netcom.com



From: Alfredo1 at aol.COM

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: games of chance and such...

Date: 3 Apr 1995 01:17:28 -0400


> Once again I beseech ye for help!  I am giving my first revel soon, and

> I plan on offering various games for the revelers, unfortunately...as

> with most of my knowledge...I am only familiar with a few.  If any of

> you have suggestions, they would be so greatly appreciated.


I heartily suggest the ancient game of Morra.  It needs no equipment,

and it makes Scissors-Rock-Paper look like child's play.  If you've

never played Morra, then you've probably never stood facing an opponent,

holding out a hand displaying from 0 to 4 fingers, shouting (preferably

in Italian) a number from 0 to 8, while your opponent did likewise, and

repeated the action until one of you had shouted a number that matched

the total number of fingers thrust forward.  There is an old Italian

proverb about someone who would play Morra for money in the dark being

exceptionally trustworthy, or trusting, or something (they were talking

so fast!).  Here is a table of the Italian numbers.


0       zero    /DZEH-ro/

1       uno     /OO-no/

2       due     /DOO-ey/

3       tre     /TREY/

4       quattro /KWAT-tro/

5       cinque  /CHEEN-kwey/

6       sei     /SEY-ee/

7       sette   /SET-teh/

8       otto    /OUGHT-toe/


Although I am Spanish (not Italian) I remain,





From: mugjf at uxa.ecn.bgu.EDU (Gwyndlyn J Ferguson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: games of chance and such

Date: 13 Apr 1995 12:27:20 -0400


Unto Wllm MacA, Melys, and those upon the bridge,

       This is in response to requests for rules for _Road to

Jerusalem_, so here it is.

       I first encountered this game at a games eent, and my lord has

subsequently made it his favorite to make and play.


       As near as I can tell (minimal research and much hearsay) _Road

to Jerusalem_ sprang from the 3rd Crusade and appears to have been a

tavern game.  The original board is a spiral of 63 spaces, with start on

the outside and Jerusalem in the center.  There are several special spaces:


1. Start

5. Spur

6. London Bridge--Pay one coin, go to space no.12

9. Spur

14. Spur

18. Spur

19. Paris Inn--Pay one coin for a drink, spend two turns drinking.

23. Spur

26. Play at Dice--Must roll a 5 to continue.

27. Spur

31. Roman Fountain--Toss in one coin, spend one turn wishing.

32. Spur

36. Spur

41. Spur

42. Bad directions from Venetians, go to space no.24.

45. Spur

50. Spur

52. Ransomed by Germans, stay here until someone passes you.

53. Play at dice--Must roll 9 to continue.

54. Spur

58. Black Death! To continue, go back to start and pay one coin.

59. Spur

61. Oasis--Pay one coin for a sip of water.

63. Jerusalem!


You need: A pair of dice, the game board, coins or tokens, and markers

for the players (buttons or such).

The game will support as many players as wish to play, the more players,

the richer the pot!

Each player pays one coin into the pot at Jerusalem and puts his marker

on start.

Determine who is to go first, and proceed clockwise from there.  Roll two

dice and move the same number of spaces as the total.  You MUST do waht

the space tells you to do.


You must pay one coin to Jerusalem whenever you are a) on start, or b) a

space that tells you to pay.

You must roll the exact number to get into Jerusalem, excess points are

moved backwards.  Example: Player A is two spaces from Jerusalem, he

rolls a five.  He would count two spaces into Jerusalem, and 3 spaces

back. If he does not land on a spur, he may move forward again on his

next turn.

Spur spaces indicate that you MUST roll again and move. You continue

moving in whichever direction you were moving when you landed on the spur

(yes, even backwards).

You have one chance per turn to roll an exact number when caught Playing

at Dice.  When the correct number is rolled, you may immediately proceed

with a normal turn (roll again and move).

If you are Ransomed by Germans, you are released when another player

passes you, even if he's going backward.

When you roll the exact amount and enter Jerusalem, you sack the city and

get all of the coins in the pot (yay!).

Game play continues with all of the players paying a coin to Jerusalem,


player wishes to continue playing, he may pay one coin to Jerusalem and

begin at start.

Anyone can join in at an time by paying one coin to Jerusalem and

beginning at start.


This game is good fun, and can easily be played with poker chips as well

as pennies (or cookies, or whatever).

My lord has created a version of the board in which the track is uncoiled

and laid out over a map of Europe, so that London, Paris, Rome, Germany

and Jerusalem are in approximately correct positions.  It is painted on

fabric and can be rolled up to store. (He sells them for $30, which

includes dice and markers for four to six players) Ok, it was a blatant

pitch :)

I hope you enjoy the game!



*Gwyn Ferguson***Western Illinois University

*SCA: Lady Gwyndlyn Caer Vyrddin***Lochmorrow-Midrealm

*Internet: mugjf at bgu.edu



From: iys6lri at mvs.oac.ucla.edu (Lori Iversen)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: A Book of Games

Date: 20 Apr 1995 21:43:40 GMT

Organization: ucla


To all gentles who were looking for period games and the like:

A fellow with whom I work on stage occasionally has self-published

a book of board, card, and dice games from Rome to the Cavaliers.

I don't know what the book is called, but Wally gave me his permission

to post his name and phone here on the Rialto for any who are interested.

The book costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $16.00, I think, and

worth every penny, too.  Incidentally, Wally took his degree in

medieval history and has made a second career of supplying stuff

to the historical re-enactor.


        Walter and Sheila Murphy-Nelson

        (aka Wat of Coombe and Shelagh na Morphaidh)

        Merchant Adventurers, Ltd.

        (818) 342-3482


Alexis Vladescu                            Lori Iversen

WyvernHo-ette                              (IYS6LRI at mvs.oac.ucla.edu)

Altavia, CAID                              The Valley, CA




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Alfonso's Book of Games in Cincinnati

Date: 4 May 1995 14:27:24 -0400


>On Thu, 4 May 1995 "John R. Schmidt" <jschmidt at netcom.com> wrote:

>Secondly, I have heard a rumor that a translation of Alphonse the Wise

>book of games (Alphonse X, and I've mangled another name) exists in the

>main city library in Cinncinati.  If so, any information on it would be

>wonderful. If a copy could be made, I would pay all costs and some time

>(negotiated ahead of time), if not, I'll have to come visit, but I've got

>to confirm it's existance first.


>John Theophilous/John Schmidt


Well, I'm not from Cincinnati, but I do know how to get books.  According to

OCLC, there is one copy in Cincinnati of _Alfonso_ 's (that's how the library

world spells it) _Libro de los juegos_ (OCLC #10920473).  It is, however, a

photo facsimile with 4 pages to the page; but the illustrations have been hand

colored... So it looks like it would be real small; and I think it was an

edition from the 1920's or earlier so it may be in pretty fragile condition.


It took a bit of work to figure this one out, as my Spanish is pretty rusty,

but... The Cincinatti copy is the only one called "Libro de los juegos" (Book

of the games).  The other editions that are around go mostly by the title

"Libros de ajedrez, dados y tablas" or some combination of the following

phrases: El tratado de ajedrez/Libro de acedrex (Treatise/book of Chess)

         Libro de los dados (book of Dice?)

         Libro de las tablas (book of Board-games?)

         Libro del alquerque (Book of ...)

(actually, according to my scribbles, the Tratado contains the 4 Libros listed



I also found references to a microfiche edition from the "Spanish series" of

the "Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies" (no. 2, item 13, 3 microfiche)



There's a BIG German treatise (448 p.) on OCLC #4384536 (somebody writing about

the book, in German--at this size it probably contains a complete copy of the

original item, which would be in the original language).


At OCLC #4229990 there's a 58 p. "estudio" that I'm pretty sure is just about

the illustrations (which are GREAT, marvelous references for costume, the games

and even musical instruments... there are copies of some of them in one of the

"popular" titles at home (title is "Chivalry"))


And, probably the most likely, there's a 1987 2-volume set published by the

Spanish government, an "edicion facsimile" at OCLC #17601554, with 5 copies in

the U.S.


Most of these come from various Spanish (government) presses, so would probably

be fairly difficult for civilians to order copies of (librarian tho I am, does

_ANYBODY_ out there have a good contact that can regularly order books from

European sources???)  


And I did not get the sense that ANY of the books listed above were in

English. So how's your medieval Spanish?  (Altho, Alfonso apparently was a

real Danielle Steel--he wrote TONS of stuff (maybe 250 entries on OCLC for all

the various editions of various titles, 1400 to present), there's probably at

least one graduate thesis out there somewhere analyzing his language =>

glossaries or a dictionary??? Anybody have any clues?)


So... off to Inter-Library Loan at your local public or university library...





From: ansteorra at eden.com (5/23/95)

To: ansteorra at eden.com

Subject: Shove-Groat


On Mon, 22 May 1995, Chris Walden wrote:

> Last night I had the misfortune of losing over thirty-five pistoles against

> an excellent opponent of Shove-Groat.  It is my understanding that this

> gentlemanly game is to be banned from the court of England and I fear that

> this trend shall carry over into the courts of other countries as my

> original home of Italy, and my current home of France.


> Shove-Groat is obviously a game of skill, unlike many of the games played

> with cards or dice that are simply trusting one's money to blind and fickle

> luck.  Though I shall certainly feel the loss of my thirty-five pistoles, I

> must bow to the greater skill of my opponent who won them from me.  Given

> time I shall return the favour to him.  I heard rumour that the censure was

> begun as the result of an unfortunate game between a Royal and a more

> skilled player.  The official story, however, is that the game is too

> distracting from the business of court.


> I remain Yours, etc.

> Antonio Bastiano

> or cmwalden at bga.com


Well, as you know, the loser in an evenly matched game of shove groat is

likely to lose much more than the loser in a game where the winner is

much better than his oponent. So I am SURE you will be able to recoup

your funds. That is, if you would care for a rematch...




  |                                      |   SHOVE GROAT BOARD

  | ----------------------------------  |

  | |                                  | |

  | |                                  | |   <----- Out area


  |                                      |   <----- Bed (1 of 9)


  |                                      |   <----- Another Bed...


  |                                      |


  |                                     O| <---- Coins that have scored


  |                                     O|


|O                                     |


  |                                     O|


  |                                      |


  |                                      |


  |                                      |

  |                                      |

  |                                      |  <---- Shooting area

  |                                      |



   ^                   ^                ^

   |                   |                |

His Side      Coin ready to shoot   My side



A simple game, the basic idea is to be the first to get three coins in

each bed. Each player gets five shots (coins) per turn. To shoot a player

puts a coin on the edge of the shooting area and wacks it with their palm

to make it slide down the board, hopefuly into one of the beds.


- Coins on a line don't count. After a player's five shots, any coins

   still on a line are removed.


- Any coin that goes into the Out area is removed at once.


- A player may strike coins he has shot with his following shots

   (to try and get them off a line for instance)


- After a player has shot his five coins any that are in a bed are

   stacked up on his side of the board in that bed. Until he reaches

   three, that is. After that the coins go into his opponent's side.


- Play alternates kinda like darts. 5 shots for one player, 5 for

   the next, and so on.



There are 9 beds, and at 3 coins each you need 27 scores to win. That

means you could have 26 coins on the board when you lose. Or even more

if you have over filled some beds and ended up with some coins on your

opponent's side. A skilled and crafty opponent will let you do this by

avoiding the areas you have already filled.


You can play for the coins on the board, winner take all, or you can

wager on the outcome before starting. You can also play in teams of two

with alternating turns, and split the winnings. This game is much more

fun with gambling invloved, so if you plan to play be sure to bring some

fake-o coin-of-the-relm to play with and be prepared to lose big. <g>


One more thing, this simple little game is real addictive and an amazing

time eater. I guess you don't need CPUs, LEDs and Active Matrix Color

Displays to find entertainment after all.





From: charlie.cain at twisted.COM (Charlie Cain)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Tablero de Jesus

Date: 6 Jul 1995 06:27:09 -0400


> Date: 29 Jun 1995 15:56:55 GMT

> From: "Benjamin J. Tilly" <Benjamin.J.Tilly at dartmouth.edu>

> Organization: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

> Subject: Tablero?


> Can somebody send me the rules to it?


       Done. For others who might wish, they can be found in "The

       Compleat Anachronist #71, p.38ff.


                             In service,

                             Larkin O'Kane


Charlie Cain

charlie.cain at twisted.com

The Twisted Pair! (915)949-0721

West Texas Online Communications

San Angelo, Texas



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: a-mikem at ac.tandem.com (mckay_michael)

Subject: Recommendation for book with Period Card Games

Organization: Atalla Corporation - San Jose, CA.

Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 17:18:45 GMT


   At least for our Americian members, I wanted to give a head up about a

good book.  David Parlett's "A History of Card Games" is available from

some books stores at a discount because of over-printing.  It is a large

soft-cover format book from Oxford, and was selling for $7.  It is basically

the same book (w/o the color plates) as the "Oxford Guide to Card Games".

About 1/4 of the book discusses card games in our period, and it is pretty

well written (extensive footnotes, although no formal bibliography).  One

thing I should note, is that this is not a good "how to play book". Although

he spends a lot of time on history and form, the rules are mentioned with

the assumption that you are familar with card games in general.  Even with

this stipulation, I highly recommend the book.


Seaan McAy   Caer Darth; Darkwood; Mists; West  (Santa Cruz, CA)



From: Kathryn Ballard (10/24/95)

To: Mark.S Harris

CC: Lillith Kylan Lerien

RE>Nine Pins


On Wed, 4 Oct 1995, Mark.S Harris wrote:


> Greetings,


> If you get any useful replies could you please send them my way? I'd

> also be interested in info on the size of the pins and balls. I don't

> have any information on this game in my SCA games files, but would love

> to add it.


> Thanks.

> Stefan li Rous

> markh at risc.sps.mot.com


> In article <446msp$57u at lynx.unm.edu> you write:

> >Does anyone have information on how to play nine pins?  A gentleman in

> >our Barony just made a lathe and started making the pins and balls, so

> >now he's like to know where to find info on the medieval game.  Send info

> >to kballar at unm.edu    

> >

> >Thanks

> >--

> >Kathryn Ballard              SCA:  Countess Kathryn of Iveragh, MP, ML, etc.

> >UNM CIRT IBM Systems               Barony of al-Barran, Outlands

> >kballar at unm.edu                    http://www.unm.edu/~kballar/


Here's what was referred to me.  In "Medieval Games" by Salamallah the

Compulent (sold by SCA or Sir Raymond), page 107:


Nine-pins was a game using the pin (or cone) of early bowling, but

employing nine of them.  The players contested to see who could knock

them down in th least number of bowls or how many they could knock down

in a set of bowls.  The pins were set up in either a square of three rows

of three, or in a diamond shape of 1, 2, 3, 2, 1.  Two more pins were

added when the ball was cut in hald for half-bowls.  The unusal motion of

the hemisphere made the game quite difficult.  The trick was to roll the

ball so that it came around back of the pins and hit the two additional

pins so that they fell upon the others.  Half bowls died, but the biased

ball remained in the English game of lawm bowling.


That's all I've heard.  Enjoy.


Kathryn Ballard              

UNM CIRT IBM Systems              

Email: kballar at unm.edu    WWW:  http://www.unm.edu/~kballar/



From: leeu at celsiustech.se (Leif Euren)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: norse dice

Date: 20 Oct 1995 11:06:38 +0100

Organization: CelsiusTech AB


Blandur and Katherine wrote:

> Good Gentles: Could someone please tell us how to make Norse

> Dice. The ones I am refering to were made out of hex keys(?). They

> had the dots punched out of them. Is this correct to make them out

> of hex keys and what position do the dots go. Thank you


As I'm very interested is games (especially Braede, i.e. a game played

with the same pieces andw on the same board as Backgammon, but with

different setup and rules), I've seen viking-age and medieval dice in

museums in Sweden, Denmark and Norway; and also in British Museum and

Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


Frankly I don't grasp what you are referring to by "hex keys".


The dice I've seen have been of two types: one more or less a hexaeder

(i.e. a cube), the other a short hexagonal rod.  The material of the

dice I've seen has been bone (or ivory), but it's speculated that

hardwood was used for simpler designs.


The cube-form dice has a side from 5 to 15 mm (1/4" to 5/8"), and the

dots are ivariably set as on our modern day dice on each, althougn the

placment of the faces varied (modern dice, as you surely know,

opposite faces always has the sum 7).


The rod-form dice seems to have been made due to shortage of material,

and have a diameter of about 6 to 10 mm (1/4" to 3/8") and a length of

25-35 mm (1"-1"1/4).  As you realize, the faces are quite narrow, and

the dots are always placed in a row.


Hopefully this has been informative to you.


your humble servant

Peder Klingrode                         | Leif Euren    Stockholm, Sweden

Holmrike, Nordmark, Drachenwald         | leeu at celsiustech.se



From: justin at dsd.camb.inmet.COM (Mark Waks)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Games Home Page

Date: 13 Nov 1995 13:17:24 -0500


While I think of it -- I don't *think* I've mentioned this before...


There is now a Period Games Homepage. It's pretty small to start with,

but growing -- I've now got a couple of articles on period games and

a few bibliographies on the topic. Anyone who wants to send stuff for

the page should feel free to do so. (HTML or plain text, please.)


The URL is:




                               -- Justin



From: Alfredo el Bufon <hopkins at dg-rtp.dg.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: hnafetafl (was something about Dalmuti)

Date: 16 Nov 1995 19:51:45 GMT

Organization: Data General Corporation, RTP, NC


Mistress Huette Aliza von und zu Ahrens und Mechthildberg

(Pat Lammerts (pat at lalaw.lib.CA.US)) wrote:

>I usually play boardgames, especially my very favorite, that

>wonderful Viking game, hnafetafl

> [...]

>BTW this is not the commercial game sold as "The Viking Game" which

>is a pale, watered-down version of the original, but one based on

>the remains of a gameboard found in a 13th century Viking long boat.


Is your version the same as that presented by Lady Gunnora Hallakarva

in her treatise "King's Table: Game of the Noble Scandinavians"?


Lady Gunnora's article is available on the Gard-Girding Grid at




-- Alfredo el Bufon

hopkins at dg-rtp.dg.com



From: Alfredo el Bufon <hopkins at dg-rtp.dg.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Rules for Jactus?

Date: 8 Dec 1995 16:54:49 GMT

Organization: Data General Corporation, RTP, NC


mulvanem at fp.co.nz (Muireann ingen Eoghain) wrote:

>A friend of mine is getting into dicing games at the moment, and

>wants to make a Jactus set. All that is lacking is the rules of

>the game. Does anyone know what they are, and if so, could you

>share them with us?


I must admit that I have never heard of a game called Jactus,

but I do know of an early precursor of backgammon that was

called "alea", and according to at least one Roman authority

that this was the same game as "iacta".

("Alea est iacta" -- Julius Caesar)

I'm guessing that "jactus" is a more masculine version.

I hope this helps.


-- Alfredo el Bufon



From: "Jeffrey L. Singman" <jsingman at umich.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period marble games

Date: 20 Jan 1996 12:44:19 GMT

Organization: University of Michigan


>         Is there anyone out there who can help me find information on

> period games with marbles? I tried writing the Marble Collectors

> of America, no good. They are mostly interested in buying,

> selling and trading marbles.

Marbles were certainly being used in the 17c in England, but I can't

guarantee earlier. There's some good historical info on them in

Henry Rene d'Allemagne, *Recreations et Passe-Temps* (or possibly

in another of his books on the history of games, but I think it's

this one). Early (ie. late 17c)

refs to marbles often call them 'marvels', and

mention various versions of the game 'taw', but there are no early

rules to my knowledge--though in a case like this one can legitimately

use later rules for the game. JLS



From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Marbles Games

Date: 17 Jan 1996 01:02:49 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Mark Waks (justin at dsd.camb.inmet.COM) wrote:

: Francesco asks:

: >Is there anyone out there who can help me find information on

: >period games with marbles?


: Hmm; do you have any good reason to believe such exist? I can believe

: that it's possible (there's nothing particularly esoteric about the

: technology of making marbles, or the games themselves, I think), but I

: can't think of any references. Seems to me (off the top of my head)

: that most of the marbles references I've seen seem to be 19th

: century...


: (Also: although I suspect marbles could well have been made in period,

: I wonder if they were an easy enough commodity that they would have

: been used this way. Anyone have any idea how cheap glass-working

: technology was in period?)


Ah, but why are you assuming period marbles would have been made out of

glass, instead of ... oh, say, marble, for instance. (Although a

reasonable explanation of the name could be a "marbled" appearance of the

original material.) Glass marbles are not universal even today. When I

purchased marbles in Czechoslovakia in the late '60s, they were ceramic

(and prone to crumbling if you used them to harshly).


The OED notes: "Marble 4. A little ball (varying from about 1/2 inch to

an inch in diameter), originally made of marble, now usually of baked

clay, porcelain, or composition, used in a children's game; hence in pl.

the game itself. Also a similar ball (e.g. of glass) used in other games."


The dated citations for this usage begin in 1694 with "The next are

marbles for boys to play with." [Collect. Husb. & Trade]


This would appear to cast doubt on the use of marbles in period in

England. It does not, however, indicate whether the playing of marbles

was brought to England from some place where they had been in use

significantly earlier.


In French, for example, the word for a toy marble is "bille", which

literally means "little ball". (As represented, for example, in

"billiards".) According to Dauzat's etymological dictionary of French,

the _word_ "bille" appears as early as the 12th century, but no context

is given for the usage, and it certainly cannot be assumed that this

means specifically "a marble" at that point.


Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



From: rayotte at badlands.NoDak.edu (Rayotte)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Marbles Games

Date: 18 Jan 1996 00:24:52 GMT

Organization: North Dakota Higher Eduation Network


        Marbles WERE made in period, and there were games for them.


        My brother makes marbles and while searching for info on glass

molding found a 13th C referance to marbles in Germany, seems that they

were often made at the end of the day from leftovers and scraps.


        I have tried to get this information but as of yet I have not.


        Try looking under glass making.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Marbles Games

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 96 16:51:18 EST


justin at dsd.camb.inmet.COM (Mark Waks) writes:


> Francesco asks:

> >Is there anyone out there who can help me find information on

> >period games with marbles?




> (Also: although I suspect marbles could well have been made in period,

> I wonder if they were an easy enough commodity that they would have

> been used this way. Anyone have any idea how cheap glass-working

> technology was in period?)


>                                 -- Justin

        Respected friend:

        You, I fear, have been had. Anyplace with either a river (tumbled

pebbles) or a bank of clay and a fire had marbles.

        As for how they played them, check out Breughel's painting

_Children's Games_ . There's at least one marble game in progress.

                              Una Wicca (will spin for marbles!) &/or

                              Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf- MKA:


                               (Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.



From: Eugene M. Pitard (1/18/96)

To: "Mark S Harris"

Antiquity of Marbles


The Encyclopaedia Brittanica in its article on marbles reports that Octavian who

later became Caesar Augustus played games with marbles. It also indicates that

the marbles were made of baked clay. Sometimes they were stones which had had

some "lapidary" work performed on them.

Marbles certainly became much more widespread during the Industrial revolution

with the application of mass production techniques. But while they were much

more widespread then, unfortunately, most people, including myself previously,

thought they came into being during that time.

My own research, which has been very limited--mostly to having read only one

book--indicates that there is a surviving game of marbles from the Elizabethan

Era still being played today. As to the antiquity of other marble games, I do

not know.

  I have consulted with a Shakespearean scholar who belongs to our group here in

Iron Mountain and she informs me that there is a reference to marble games in a

Shakespearean Play. However, she can't recall the name of the play.


Francesco Alberti.



From: justin at dsd.camb.inmet.COM (Mark Waks)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Marbles

Date: 22 Jan 1996 13:27:18 -0500


Tangwystyl goes to the OED, and pulls out:


>The dated citations for this usage begin in 1694 with "The next are

>marbles for boys to play with." [Collect. Husb. & Trade]

>This would appear to cast doubt on the use of marbles in period in



To some degree; on the other hand, it's actually considerably closer

than I'd expected. It indicates that not only are marbles nearly

period, but marble *games* are 17th century. That's actually quite

interesting -- while I'm still mildly skeptical (since it's still

most of a century off), I'm willing to give it rather more benefit

of the doubt. Worth keeping an eye out for other references,

especially in other countries -- even if it wasn't being done

in England in period, it's possible that it was being done

elsewhere. Thanks for the pointer; I'll have to keep this in

mind for future research.


The allusion to billiards, BTW, is an interesting one. Billiards is

definitely closer to period -- a game somewhat similar to modern

billiards, with the same table and balls, was apparently widespread in

England by the 1670's, and might well reach back into period. It's

possible that children's marbles could have evolved as a sort of

junior variant of this game or one of its continental relatives. Worth



(And as for the point that marbles might have been made of marble

in period: Doh! I really should have thought of that...)


                               -- Justin



From: justin at dsd.camb.inmet.COM (Mark Waks)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: 15-16th century gaming

Date: 15 Apr 1996 16:58:03 -0400


>Could somebody direct me to some Internet sources of information about

>gaming in the Renaissance time period, pref. Tudor England?


The Medieval and Renaissance Games Home Page is at:




This has a moderate amount on Renaissance Games; the documentation

is actually most solid for really late-period, but some of the

games are probably Tudor or earlier. (Eg, Picket.)


                               -- Justin



From: Gretchen M Beck <grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: The "Evils" of Pennsic

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 13:06:38 -0400

Organization: Computer Operations, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA


Excerpts from netnews.rec.org.sca: 20-Jun-96 Re: The "Evils" of Pennsic

by David M. Razler at postoffi

> Craps and poker are not period!


Poker ain't, but craps is.  There's medieval treatises on the playing of

a game whose rules are almost identical to craps.


toodles, margaret



From: rhayes at powerup.com.au (Robin Hayes)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Card Games, and the 14th century

Date: 17 Sep 1996 08:03:28 GMT


Another useful book is

Fun and Games in Old Europe

W. Endrei & L. Zolnay

(A translation of an Hungarian original)

Budapest 1986  - Corvina

1988 ISBN 963 13 2386 2

(Flyleaf says - orders to Kultura Budapest 62

P.O.B. 149 H-1389)


A considerable emphasis on medieval things, pictures, etc. Cards are but a

small section...


You may find this of interest, if you can track it down. I got mine from a

disposal source.





From: kolton at mustique.u.arizona.edu (Jason C Kolton)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Chess in Iceland- looking for

Date: 14 Jan 1997 07:34:31 GMT

Organization: The University of Arizona


drusilus (76065.727 at CompuServe.COM) wrote:

: Please help, I have a lady looking for a copy of this book and any

: other books with period references on backgammon.


: drusilus


Greetings Your Excellency,

       You might want to try these web sites. I have found a large

amount of info chess as I have been doing research on period chess.


"                                     "Gcotadel.html

"                  "/~ha....chessvar/Gshatranj.html

"                                   "marinelli.html

"                  "/~hansb/d.chessvar/historic

"                                     "G4seiz.html

"                                     "Gcourier.html


I had found these sites back in August while looking for information on

Byzantian chess, or chess in the round.  The rule changes are very

interesting. I think I liked the dice variant the best though.

Good luck and happy hunting.



----------------------         ||

Jason C Kolton       |   at ======||========================>

kolton at U.Arizona.EDU |         ||      In Deo est Veritas



From: scottb at ucr.campus.mci.net (Scott Begg)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: A question regarding the medieval game of Nine Mens' Morris...

Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 08:12:13 GMT


stircraz at concentric.net (stircraz) wrote:

>I can't answer your questions, but have a question for you instead....do

>you know of any really good webpages out there on Medieval gaming??

>Especially dice games??  


>Lady Rhondalynn MacLeod


       No, I don't really, although I can give you a couple of web sites

which give some information and other possiblities concerning ancient

and medieval board games...


1. Games of the VIkings and Anglo Saxons



2. Medieval and Renaissance Games Home Page



3. Museum and Archive of Games Home Page, U. of Waterloo, CA.



4. Gamefinders: Boardgames of the Old World



5. Traditional Games Web Site



6. Games People Played (collection of Historical Games)



7. Mancala Games



8. The Chess Variant Pages: Historic Variants.



9. The Chessmaster Network--History of Chess



10. Twenty Squares (an ancient Egyptian Game much like Senet)...



That's all I can find right now.  


I'm still looking for information on Nine Mens' Morris!!!





From: wmills at BSDI.COM (William Mills)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Glukhaus

Date: 14 Sep 1997 18:32:56 -0600

Organization: Berkeley Software Design, Inc.


Todd Spencer (lildog at inreach.com) wrote:

:            Last year at the Ren faire I came across a game called

: Glukhaus. (sp?) Pronounced Glook-house I believe. I have a board and

: some die but cannot remember the rules. It is a gambling game with

: numbered squares from 1to 12 I think in the middle is a married couple

: and when and if you land on them I think you pay all of your money to

: the house. Ring any bells? Please let me know if you can refresh my

: memory on this game.


Gluckhaus is described in



I think that is the right URL.  definitely the site name is right.



Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 23:00:28 +0000

From: "James Pratt" <cathal at mindspring.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Irish questions: board games


> I have recently been doing some research on various things Irish in

> period.  In the process I have discovered _Early Medieval Ireland

> 400-1200_ by Daibhi O'Cronin which has a wealth of information.  There are

> several things in the book that I thought the people on this list could

> help me with The Irish law texts mention three board games, bandub,

> fidshell and bunanfach.  I would be very interested in any further

> information on them that I could get.


> Charles O'Connor

> jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu


"BRANDUB" is a game for 2 players.  


It is played on a board comprised of 49 alternating white and black

squares arranged in seven parallel rows of seven.  The center square

is "black" and called "Tara" or "Home".


Pieces are different coloured stones or objects as described below.


One player has eight pieces which are placed on the white squares on

the edge of the board nearest the corners.  These pieces are called

"Barons" and move first.


The other player has five pieces: four "Princes" and one "King".

These pieces are arranged in an "X" radiating from the central

or "Tara" square.  The "King" is always placed on "Tara"


Players move any of their peices one square in any direction.

If a piece, other than the King, chooses to move diagonally on

the _white_ squares, then it may move two squares at a time.

Only the King may enter Tara.


The object of the game is for the Barons to capture all the Princes

or for the King and the Princes to capture all the Barons.

Capture is effected by moving into the same square as an opposing

piece. Yo _cannot_ jump over another piece (either friend or foe)

to effect any movement.  The King _cannot_ be captured but

may capture other pieces.  Finally, _no_ Prince may remain in

a corner square for more than three turns.


These rules are from a copy of the game I purchased years ago

from a company called "Godiva Productions" out of Louisville, KY.

The crafter was a William Levy.






Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 04:40:49 -0500

From: gunnora at bga.com (Gunnora Hallakarva)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Fidchell, Irish Board Games


Some mention has been made of the Irish board game fidchell.  One

commentator suggested that the game might be identical to or derived from

hnefatafl, the Norse game which gives us our modern game of fox-and-geese.

So far as I am aware from my research, fidchell is not one of the

tafl-derived games.


The nearest equivalent I have record of is tawll-bwrdd, a Welsh game derived

from the Norse hnefatafl (or more likely, from Anglo-Saxon alea evangelii,

the Saxon variant of the same game).  The Welsh used the same basic rules as

other tafl games, however they added the element of chance as well,

requiring that players throw a four-sided, rectangular knucklebone die.

Each player rolls the die at the beginning of his turn: if an odd number is

rolled, the player may move a piece, but if an even number results,the

player must skip his turn.


For more information about hnefatafl, tablut, tawll-bwrdd, and alea

evangelii, see the complete article at:




This same article appeared in one of the last two or three Tournament

Illuminated issues as well (although missing the nifty color graphics).


Gunnora Hallakarva




Subject: Re: Period Games of All Sorts / Let's Try the last one again.

Date: Tue, 24 Feb 98 16:28:06 MST

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: stefan at texas.net, "Mark.S Harris" <rsve60 at msgphx1>


> Poster: Josh <dungeon at norfolk.infi.net>

>   I was wondering if any lord or lady of this list would know where Period

> Game Board Designs may be found on the web.  I wish to make period boards

> made as they where in period. Whether this be homespun fabric for 9 man

> morris or piece of pale leather for pente I would like to know.


> Tristan

> AKA Myrddin of Marinus (soon to be changed)


Since so many people play games, I keep a list of them on

my Medieval Bookmarks. Here are some of the more useful

ones, not just board games, but games also suitable to



Having recently learned to cut and paste web addresses these

should all be correct and were up and running today.



Dagonells games page



Game of Merels



Page of various games and contests



Games of the Viking and Anglo-Saxon Age



Games from Holmes Academy of Armory 1688



Justin's Games Bibliography



Medieval and Rennaissance Games Page



Museum and Archive of Games from Waterloo, Canada



P.S.Neeley's Ancient Games



Primero: A Renaissance Cardgame



Royal and Delightful Game of Piquet



Alphabetical Rules of Cardgames



Rules to Period Games



Some 17th Century Games



Tablut / Hnefatafl - this one plays with you, from Sweden.



Viking Answer Lady's Page on Kings Table and other games


Magnus Malleus, Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia and the GDH



From: DDFr at best.com (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Chess with dice: rules anyone?

Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 10:54:50 -0800

Organization: Santa Clara University


> If anyone has medieval rules for playing chess with dice, I'd appreciate

> hearing from them.


I don't know about medieval European, but chess is a descendant of an

Indian game. As best I recall, there were four players, possibly operating

as teams of two (that's why there are two rooks, two knights, etc. in the

modern game). Each player rolled a (four sided, long stick with four

sides) die, and that determined which of his pieces he was allowed to

move. Salaamalah's book on games may have the details.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: Mark Waks <justin at intermetrics.com>

Subject: Re: Chess with dice: rules anyone?

Organization: Intermetrics, Inc

Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 19:08:54 GMT


GeoNLeigh wrote:

> >If anyone has medieval rules for playing chess with dice, I'd appreciate

> >hearing from them.

> >

> >Finnvarr


> I'm not sure if I have the source anywhere, but as I remember it was fairly

> simple.  A single die is rolled to determine what piece you can move.  1=pawn,

> 2=rook, 3=knight, 4=bishop, 5=queen and 6=king.

> If you roll a number that doesn't allow a legal move you forfeit your turn.


Yes, this matches my sources. The only period game for which I have

explicitly heard about dicing variants is Oblong Chess (played on a 4 x

16 board), but I've heard that dice were used with other variants as



For a pretty comprehensive examination of chess variations, check out

the Chess Variants Page:



Especially the Historic Variants section:



All of this can be found from the Period Games Homepage:



There are also several good books on the subject, particularly HJR

Murray's A History of Chess. Baron Salaamallah's book, Medieval Games,

also deals with a number of chess variants, albeit more briefly...


                               -- Justin



Subject: Re: Activity games

Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 09:39:00 -0500

From: "Karl A Haefner" <RENAISSANCE-COOK at prodigy.net>

To: "Stefan li Rous" <stefan at texas.net>


>What is this Barleye Breake? I'd love to have descriptions and rules

>for this to add to my files.


A more complete explanation can be found in *Daily Life in Elizabethan

England*. It's played by three couples.  One couple is *it* and occupies

the center of the field.  The other couples have a goal at opposited ends of

the field.  One of the goal couples yells BARLEY; the other couple yells

BREAK. Immediately, they then attempt to cross the field without being

captured by the *it* couple.  If somebody is captured, that person's couple

becomes *it* and takes the center of the field.  The capturing couple takes

the empty goal.  The process repeats itself until all participants are too

damn tired from running to continue.


>Lord Stefan li Rous      


Karl H.

aka Original Ostler, Innkeeper

The Dirty Duck, Bristol



From: Charles Knutson <charles at historicgames.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: New Medieval Games Site

Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 17:12:29 -0600

Organization: Rose & Pentagram Design


For people interested in period games, I've started creating a web

site devoted to King Alphonso X's 13th century Ms. "Libro de Juegos,"

or Book of Games. Although it's still under construction, (no

descriptions of the graphics yet) it is located at:




MacGregor Historic Games




From: "Trevor Barker" <barkert at delete.logica.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Alquerque (medieval game)

Date: 14 Sep 1998 12:41:03 GMT

Organization: Logica UK Limited


I know that many of you are interested in medieval board games, so I would

like to invite you to view my article on Alquerque (a board game similar to





If you have any comments, I'd be interested to receive them, (e-address




(Robert fitz John)


sheriff (at) weylea (dot) demon.co.uk



Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 10:03:39 -0400

From: Melanie Wilson <MelanieWilson at compuserve.com>

To: LIST SCA arts <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Chess by John of Wales 13th C


Thought you might be interested in this folks !


The world resembles a chess-board which is cheq uered white and black, the

colours showing the two conditions of life and death, or praise and blame.


The chessmen are men of the world who have a common birth, occupy different

stations and hold different titles in this life, who contend together, and

finally have a common fate which levels all ranks.  The King often lies

under the other pieces in the bag.


The King's move and powers of capture are in  all directions, because the

King's will is law.


The Queen's move is aslant only, because women are so greedy that they will

take nothing except by rapine and injustice.


The Rook stands for the itinerant justices who travel over the whole realm,

and their move is always straight, because the judge must deal justly.


The Knight's move is compounded of a straight move and an oblique one; the

former betokens his legal power of collecting rents, &c, the latter his

extortions and wrong-doings.


The Aufins are prelates wearing horns (but not like those that Moses had

when he descended from Sinai).  They move and take obliquely because nearly

every Bishop misuses his office through cupidity.


The Pawns are poor men.  Their move is straight, except when they take

anything: so also the poor man does well so long as he keeps from ambition.

After the Pawn is promoted he becomes a Fers and moves obliquely, which

shows how hard it is for a poor man to deal rightly when he is raised above

his proper station.


In this game the Devil says 'Check!' when a man falls into sin; and unless

he quickly covers the check by turning to repciitailce, the Devil says

'Mate!' aiid carries him off to hell, whence is no escape.  For the Devil

has as many kinds of temptations to catch different types of men, as the

hunter has dogs to catch different types of animals.





Subject: Re: Period Games

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 20:27:50 EST

From: EoganOg at aol.com

To: skeys at millenicom.com

CC: atlantia at atlantia.sca.org


>  I am searching fro two

>  things: first, rules to period card and board games, and second, people

>  who know the games well enough to teach them to others.


I would love to come and teach, but unfortunately my college graduation is on

the same weekend (don't want to blow that off!).  But I would be happy to help

out in any other way I can.  I have run gaming tourneys before, and have a

general idea of what games are quick enough to fit in, and enjoyable.  I'll be

happy to work with you. Please feel free to write me with questions.  I'll try

to type in the rules for the games I usually use and send them to you (or post

tehm to the list at large).  These are the games I have had the most success


Fitchneil (and other Hneftafl games)



Nine-Men's Morris

These games are strategy based and quick enough to hold most beginner's

attention.  Games such as Gluckshause, Tablero de Jesus, etc. are fun, too,

but take longer.  Same with Senet......     I'll try and get those rules

typed in.


Eogan Og



Subject: ANST - Roman board games

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 15:02:56 MST

From: "Patrick St. Jean" <stjeanp at flash.net>

To: Kingdom of Ansteorra <ansteorra at ansteorra.org>


I just found this link to a site that has some information on Roman

board games.  It looks pretty interesting...






Subject: Re: ANST - How to play Hazard

Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 19:41:41 MST

From: Robert Gonzalez <robgonzo at prodigy.net>

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


|domino7 at texas.net writes:

|>  Not to take away from the wonderful dsicussion of Ansteorran history,

|>  but who can tell me how to play the dice game Hazard? I know it's in The

|>  Known World Handbook, but those directions are as clear as mud. Could

|>  someone describe the rules in clear, any-child-could understand terms?


|>  Jovian


|I found the game in "Medieval games" by Salamallah the Corpulent, and

|started to type them out and found that they were really long and the words in

|the middle of the instrutions got really confusing. so you might try looking

|for the book and see if you can understand it. I have played it before but

|never really understood.




I found this site that seemed to make things fairly clear.


Plus check out their main page for some other games and lots of good info.






ate: Thu, 25 May 2000 18:46:37 -0400

From: "Daniel Phelps" <phelpsd at gate.net>

Subject: Re: SC - OT Alert--Dominoes in China--was Authenticity buffs


Regards Dominoes was written:

> Well, they are perfectly period for China, in the 12th century....

> but alas dominoes did ot make it to europe until after period.


I seem to recall a single domino in a picture of artifacts recovered  from

the "Vasa" as published in "Scientific American".   The "Vasa" is out of

period but only slightly as I recall.  The Vasa was if I remember correctly

was Danish? and turned turtle and sank upon launching in the first decade of

the 17th century.  Please anyone who knows better correct me if I am wrong.


Daniel Raoul



Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 10:12:26 +1000

From: "Glenda Robinson" <glendar at compassnet.com.au>

Subject: Re: SC - OT Alert--Dominoes in China--was Authenticity buffs


> I seem to recall a single domino in a picture of artifacts recovered  from

> the "Vasa" as published in "Scientific American".   The "Vasa" is out of

> period but only slightly as I recall.  The Vasa was if I remember correctly

> was Danish? and turned turtle and sank upon launching in the first decade of

> the 17th century.  Please anyone who knows better correct me if I am wrong.

> Daniel Raoul


There was a single domino found on the Mary Rose, and published on their

website. My husband emailed them to get a definite place where it was found

etc, for our research, and was told "Oh, how did that get on THAT part of

the site? It's a Napoleonic period domino that must have been dropped (or

thrown) off the side of a later period ship, and was found in the mud."


I'd be wondering about this one 'on' the Vasa. I'd be REALLY interested if

it was on the ship, as I also reenact the 17th century.





From: mittle at panix.com (Arval d'Espas Nord)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: 13th century game ragman rolle

Date: 22 Aug 2001 10:30:07 -0400

Organization: PANIX Public Access Internet and UNIX, NYC


Greetings from Arval!


Random House's Word of the Day page today has an interesting history of the word "rigamarole", including this:


Late in the 13th century, a popular game of chance developed that

consisted of a roll on which were written verses describing a person's

character and appearance. It seems that each verse was attached to a

string and seal, and players drew them from the roll.  The collection of

verses was called a rag(e)man rolle, and the supposed composer of the

verses was King Rag(e)man.


Anyone know more about this game?


Arval d'Espas Nord                                         mittle at panix.com



From: Charlene Charette <charlene at flash.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: 13th century game ragman rolle

Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 05:38:27 GMT


Looking up "rigmarole" in the OED:


[App. a colloquial survival and alteration of RAGMAN ROLL (sense 2); the

latter seems to have gone out of literary use about 1600.]


Under Ragman:


3. A game of chance, app. played with a written roll having strings

attached to the various items contained in it, one of which the player

selected or Œdrew‚ at random.


In one form the game was a mere amusement, the items in the roll being

verses descriptive of personal character: see Wright Anecd. Lit. (1844)

76-82 and Hazlitt E. Pop. Poetry (1864) I. 68. But that of quot. 1377

was probably a method of gambling, forbidden under penalty of a fine. In

the other quots. the word may be a proper name, as in b.

c1290 MS. Digby 86, lf. 162 [Heading of a set of French verses.] Ragemon

le bon. 1377 Durham Halmote Rolls (Surtees) 140 De Thoma Breuster et

Ricardo de Holm quia ludaverunt ad ragement contra pnam in diversis

Halmotis positam 20s. condonatur usque 2s. 1390 GOWER Conf. III. 355

Venus, which stant..In noncertein, but as men drawe Of Rageman upon the



Perhaps some of these citations will lead to more info.





From: Charlene Charette <charlene at flash.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: 13th century game ragman rolle

Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 06:06:40 GMT


Oops, after I hit the send and went to sign out of the OED, I finally

found "ragman's roll" which it kept telling me didn't exist.  *sigh*


1. The roll used in the game of Ragman. Obs.

c1400 MS. Fairfax 16 in Hazl. E.P.P. I. 68 Here begynnyth Ragmane

roelle. c1500 in Dodsley O. Pl. (1827) XII. 308 Explicit Ragmannes



Sounds as though MS Fairfax 16 might provide some info.  A quick search

of Worldcat/OCLC...


This title is cataloged two ways.  The first appears to be only in AS

(Asia, I think) and the EU.  The second has copies all over the US

(including UT Austin, about 3 hrs from here.  One of these days I've got

to go check out that library.  I keep finding copies of manuscripts in

the OCLC that they have.)  BTW, I *had* to look:  Amazon has it for a

mere $275.  You *don't* want to know what used copies are going for.



Title: Bodleian Library, MS Fairfax 16

Publication: London : Scolar Press

Year: 1979

ISBN: 0859675130

Note(s): Leaves printed on both sides./ Facsimile reprint./


Responsibility: with an introduction by John Norton-Smith.


Title: MS Fairfax 16

Author(s): Norton-Smith, John.

Corp Author:  Bodleian Library.  Manuscript.

Publication: London : Scolar Press,

Year: 1979

ISBN: 0859675130

Note(s): Introd. in English; manuscript in Middle English./




There's a microfilm at Virginia Tech:


Title: [Middle English manuscripts].

Author(s): Chaucer, Geoffrey,; d. 1400.

Publication: Bicester, [Eng.] : Micromedia

Year: 1980 uuuu

Description: 7 reels ; p., 35 mm.

TOC: reel 1. Arch. Seld. B.24.--reel 2. Fairfax 16.--reel 3. Bodley

638.--reel 4. Rawl. C.86.--reel 5. Digby 181.--reel 6. Tanner 346.--reel

7. Vernon manuscript.

Note(s): Microfilm reproductions of various manuscripts held in the

Bodleian Library, Oxford University./ Includes various works by G.


Other Titles:  Vernon manuscript.

More Corp Auth:  Bodleian Library. ; Bodleian Library. ; Manuscript.;

Arch. Seld. B.24.; Bodleian Library. ; Manuscript.; Fairfax 16.;

Bodleian Library. ; Manuscript.; Bodley 638.; Bodleian Library. ;

Manuscript.; Rawl. C.86.; Bodleian Library. ; Manuscript.; Digby 181.;

Bodleian Library. ; Manuscript.; Tanner 346.



This one looks interesting and there's copies all over the US:


Title: Ragman roll.

       Ein spätmittelenglisches gedicht ...

Author(s): Lydgate, John,; 1370?-1451? ; supposed author.;

Freudenberger, Andreas,; 1870- ; ed.

Publication: Erlangen, K.B. Hof un Universitäts-Buchdruckerei von Junge

& Sohn

Year: 1909

Note(s): Lebenslauf./ Texts from cod. Fairfax 16 and Bodley 638 on

opposite pages./ Ascribed by bp. Tanner to John Lydgate. cf. MacCracken,

H.N. The minor poems of John Lydgate. 1911. (Early English text society.

Extra series, CVII) p. xli./ Dissertation:  Inaug.-Diss.--Erlangen.





From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

Date: Thu Aug 28, 2003  7:48:59 PM US/Central

To: - SCA Arts and Sciences 7/03 <Artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>, - Stephan's Florilegium <stefan at florilegium.org>

Subject: That Ballinderry Crannong I Yew Game Board.


I seriously doubt if I will ever make one as I am not that

inclined towards games myself, but some of you probably

would like to make one. Here are some sources so you can.


The board has a sunken playing area that is framed by

a fairly wide carved interlaced boarder. On either side are

two necked handles in the shape of men's heads.


I had wondered how it was made as you generally see only

the top view of the board. I had figured it might be

assembled of many pieces.


I got in Henry's book this week (which is really excellent

if you want carving designs on the order of interlaced

animals, men, or strapwork from a wide variety of sources

[art, scupture, carvings, crosses, metalwork] and I could

see very clearly in the black and white photo that the

grain was consistent through the whole piece.


Edwards, Nancy: The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland,

      University of Pennsylvania Press, 418 Service Dr.,

      Philadelphia, 10914:

      1990. 1st edition. ISBN 081223085X

      (1996 /Pbk 240 pages ills, 55 figs, 40 b/w photos $42.30)

      Critical survey of the archaeological evidence remaining

      from the early Middle Ages in Ireland. Illustrated with

      site-plans, and a range of artifacts.

      Line drawings prepared by Jean Williamson. Contents:

      (30) Wooden Vessels.(77) stave-built bucket,


Ballinderry I; Stave-built Butter Churn, Lissue; Lathe-turned bowl,

      Lissue; Lathe-turning waste, Lissue [Bersu,G.: 1947,

      The rath at Townland Islan Lissue, UJA 10: 30-58.]

      31 Wooden Objects (78) Oar, right footed shoe last,

      scoop from Lagore, wheel-hub broken in half, Lough

      Faughan; musical horn found in the River Erne bound

      with metal strips. (32) top only view of Yew-wood gaming

      board from Ballinderry I crannog, Co. Westmeath.

      No dimensions are given. This is the one with head handles.                       National Museum of Ireland.


Henry, Francoise: Irish Art During the Viking Invasion

      (800-1020 A.D.) ; London, Methuen, 1973. Softcover with

      illustrated glossy cover. 6x8.5" beautiful illustrations.                  Profusely illustrated. 1st pb ed.

      Has a wonderful picture of the ONE PIECE Viking Game

      Board in Acta Archaeologia 1933. The wood grain can be

      clearly seen going through the whole thing - clearly

      through the board into the handles at either end.

      Top only view of Yew-wood gaming board from Ballinderry I

      crannog, Co. Westmeath.


Hencken, H. O`Neill. - A Gaming Board of the Viking Age. Kobenhavn:            Levin & Munkgaard, 1933, - quarto, 20 pp., 1 plate,                        illustrations in text, reprinted from Acta Archaeologica  

      1933; preliminary speculations on a yew game board

      discovered at Ballinderry, Ireland the previous year;

      punched for a three ring binder and restapled, paper

      wrappers - games. This was the primary source material.


Connecting the dots...one by one by one.


Master Magnus, OL, Barony of Windmasters' Hill, SCA,

      Regia Anglorum, Manx, GDH.



From: Louise Craig <lcraig at louisecraig.com>

Date: September 16, 2005 8:06:06 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Too Fun - Games


I had not seen this painting before or the museum --"a public institution dedicated to research and the collection, preservation, and exhibition of games and game-related objects."





The painting shows many different games that were played at the time (1560), it includes over 200 children playing about 80 different games or activities.

Breughel painting of Young Folk at Play.



Have fun!





From: Coblaith Mhuimhneach <Coblaith at sbcglobal.net>

Date: September 16, 2005 4:50:45 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Too Fun - Games


Louise wrote:

> I had not seen this painting before. . .Breughel painting of Young  

> Folk at Play.  http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~museum/Brueghel/

> imgmap.html


There's a much better image of this in the Artchive <http://

www.artchive.com/artchive/B/bruegel/bruegel_games.jpg.html>. The  

picture is clearer to begin with, and you can zoom in to see details.





Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 14:56:22 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Lebkuchen question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Stefan

> (Hmmm.I wonder if the game of dominos goes back to medieval times?)


As for dominoes, the game is referenced in Chinese literature around 1120,

but it may be 2000 to 3000 years older than that.  A single domino was found

on the Mary Rose (16th Century), but it may be an invasive artifact.  18th

Century is one of the accepted dates for dominoes in Europe.





From: Brett Chandler-Finch <goldweard at yahoo.com>

Date: March 23, 2007 5:54:33 PM CDT

To: bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] cloth board game documentation


Rune cloths were used by the Norse, as well cloth game

bags by the Bedouins in Persia.  I just do not have

the sources anymore.  Part of the documentation

problem is that they were primarily used by travelers

who would not have been the subject of many

illustrators paintings.  that and the volatile nature

of cloth only the pieces remain.   game boards then as

now would have been sought out more for artistic

beauty then portability.  it would be like comparing a

modern plastic piece chess set for 2-3 dollars to a

set that was carved and inlaid with silver on a

mahogany board.  no one cares about the lower end



If we do make the set out of wood we may need to watch

out for one thing.  a woman who made a book of games

in Bjornesburg told me she had a problem with the

thinner wood on the boards warping on her.   we may

have a similar problem with thin boards in a box set.



From: Hal Siegel <therion at therionarms.com>

Date: August 14, 2007 12:50:15 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Ancient Board Games - British Museum Press (fwd)


A while back there was a long discussion on this list about board games.

Forwarding on this message for folks who might be interested ...


             Hal Siegel - TherionArms



---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 10:08:57 -0700 (GMT-07:00)

From: ian.stevens at dbbcdist.com

To: therion at therionarms.com

Subject: A special offer from DBBC and the British Museum Press


Just published in the UK and on its way to us even as my grubby, stubby

fingers type this message, is a book from the British Museum that is

causing some excitement within the walls of the Oxbow/DBBC offices.


"Ancient Board Games in Perspective" presents papers from a conference

that took place at the BM in 1990. Covering the games of the Egyptians,

Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamians, Indians and Chinese and with special

sections on Chess, Backgammon and Mankala, the papers are truly



What is more, we are delighted to offer the book at a special

pre-publication price of $75 (the book is regularly $100) until the end of

September 2007.


Click the link below for a full list of papers and contributors. We should

have the book by the middle of September at the latest and will look

forward to shipping your orders as soon as it arrives.


With regards,


Ian Stevens

The David Brown Book Company

Tel: 1-800-791-9354


'Ancient Board Games in Perspective' - edited by Irving Finkel

List Price: US$ 100.00 * Our Price: US$ 75.00 *

Link: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm?ID=45243&;MID=7335




Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 16:09:52 -0500 (CDT)

From: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

Subject: [SCA-AS] [Fwd: [EK_AnS] [Fwd: TMR 07.10.22 Adams,       Power Play


To: "Arts and Sciences in the SCA"

        <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>


---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------

Subject: TMR 07.10.22 Adams, Power Play (Petschar)

From:    "The Medieval Review" <tmrl at indiana.edu>

Date:    Thu, October 18, 2007 8:30 am

To:      tmr-l at indiana.edu

       bmr-l at brynmawr.edu



Adams, Jenny. "Power Play: The Literature and Politics of Chess

in the Late Middle Ages". Philadelphia: University of

Pennsylvania Press, 2006. Pp. 264. $49.95. ISBN 9780812239447.


   Reviewed by Hans Petschar

       Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek

       hans.petschar at onb.ac.at


The origin of chess most likely leads back to an Indian game which

in its structure corresponds to the basic elements of the Old

Indian Army: soldiers, cavalry, military carriages and elephants.

In mid-seventh-century Persia the knowledge of a Persian version of

the game with a king and minister (<i>firzan</i>) was transferred

to the Arabs. Along trade routes and sea routes the game of chess

found its way to Europe: Spain and Southern Italy were reached by

trade routes to North Africa, and archaeological findings along the

silk road prove the distribution of the game on trade routes to

Russia and Northern Europe.


The earliest written sources for the game of chess in Latin Europe

are the poem <i>Versus de Scacchis</i>, which most likely was

written around 1000 A.D in the monastery of Einsiedeln

(Switzerland) and a letter written 1061/1062 by Petrus Damiani,

bishop of Ostia to Pope Alexander II, where he accuses a Florentine

bishop playing chess in an inn during the night. Precious chess

pieces made of ivory or crystal become part of the treasures of

churches, nobles and regents. Ordinary pieces ware made of wood or

bone, more valuable ones of walrus teeth in Northern Europe.


Decisive for the success of game of chess in Western Europe was the

transformation of the Indian/ Persian war game into a

representation of the court. Then, in the thirteenth century, it

was transformed into a conceptual model of medieval society as a

whole.The transformation of the minister (arab./pers.

<i>firzan</i>) into the European queen is only the most remarkable

example of a complete set of changes in designations and

significances of chess pieces in medieval Europe: thus the military

carriage becomes a fortress, the Arab chess piece of the elephant

(<i>alfil</i>) is interpreted as a bishop in England and Northern

Europe, as a fool in France, while in Italy and Germany the

designation of the piece signifies "judges" or "wise men" in

literary texts.


In contrast to designations and representations of the pieces which

changed fundamentally according to European models of thought, the

basic rules of the game remained stable for a very long time in the

history of the game. As in the Persian and Arab game the medieval

<i>alfil</i> (bishop) moves by jumping diagonally two squares and

the medieval <i>fers</i> (queen) being the weakest piece on the

chessboard, moving just one square diagonally. In comparison to

modern chess, medieval chess has a static character until the

endgame is reached and the dynamic power of the knights and towers

can be exploited.


Due to this inherent character of the game it is not at all

astonishing that medieval chess sources do not contain complete

games but rather problems (of extraordinary quality in some cases)

with concrete tasks to solve and that Arabic sources refer to

prefixed middle game positions on which the players agree to play

on. Entertaining chess problems, which had to be solved in a

gambling atmosphere where bets could be made, and artificial

accelerations of the game through prefixed positions

(<i>tabyas></i>) certainly stimulated the social permeability and

made the medieval game of chess a pastime not only for nobles but

for different social classes and environments and for different

cultures: Arabs, Jews and Christians, men and women.


Although we have little evidence of chess praxis in Latin Europe

before the twelfth century, after 1100 the sources multiply and

towards the end of the thirteenth century chess as conceptual model

was so deeply anchored in the public consciousness that moralists

and clergymen started to make use of this symbolic system of rules

for their means. The distribution of the game of chess all over

Europe was mirrored (and transformed) in literary discourses and

iconography referring to and making use of the game as a metaphor

and allegoric representation of medieval society. It is exactly

this appearance of chess as a metaphor in late medieval discourses

which Jenny Adams analyses in her new book <i>Power Play</i>.


Adams argues that chess games and chess allegories in medieval

literary texts "encoded anxieties about political organizations,

civic community, economic exchange, and individual autonomy" (2).

Jenny Adams refers to three basic texts from three different

European countries and times. The first reference is Jacobus de

Cessolis's late thirteenth-century, <i>Liber de moribus hominum et

officiis nobelium ac popularium super ludo scachorum</i>. The

<i>Liber</i> narrates the story of a ruler who, through his

knowledge of chess, ceases his tyrannical attitudes and becomes a

benevolent leader. The <i>Liber</i> however does not use the game

of chess to address itself to the king (or a prince) alone but

"seeks to absorb all people in its symbolic domain" (4). In her

most original interpretation Adams argues that the way the chess

allegory is used in the <i>Liber</i> demonstrates a fundamental

shift in the ways medieval peoples had begun to conceive of

themselves and their relationships to their civic community. No

longer the "natural" concept of the "state as body" metaphor but a

socially constructed model based on rules rather than biology

governs the imagination. By replacing the older allegory of the

state-as-body and by addressing his text to all men (citizens),

according to Adams the Lombardian Jacobus reflects a cultural shift

in the ways people imagined their relationship to civil order.

Adams proves her arguments with an extensive analysis of the text

with a strong focus on the exempla given by Jacobus--and

surprisingly not on the descriptions of the chess figures and their

moves--and with excursions on the history of the state-as-body

metaphor and on social conflicts in late thirteenth-century

Lombardy, where Jacobus most likely originates from, where he

learned the game of chess according to Lombard chess rules and

composed his treatise. "Just as Jacobus's treatment of tradesmen as

an integral part of a civic order reflects the political situation

of late thirteenth-century Genoa, his decision to minimize the

clergy's role on the board--the pieces commonly known as bishops

are portrayed in the Liber as community's judges--reflects the

Church's decreased power over secular affairs." (25)


Adams confines her analysis to the "core" text of the <i>Liber</i>

and does not refer to the numerous versions, translations and

localisations (text and illustration) of Jacobus all over Europe,

although the author is aware that "such variations surely reflect

different understandings of the game" (8). And indeed, the

interpretation of the <i>alfil</i> as bishop is only one (English)

localisation, while Jacobus' interpretation of the piece as

"judges" has been taken over by most central European versions of

the <i>Liber</i>. In Spain and Russia the piece remained the old

<i>alfil</i> ("elephant"), thus referring to the origin of the game

and its transfer to Europe.


Adams does not intend however to rewrite the history of the game of

chess--her basic reference remains Murray's 1914 published

<i>History of chess</i>--but instead she aims at a general

examination of chess as a metaphor in late medieval literature.


The second part of <i>Power Play</i> is dedicated to the late

fourteenth century French poem <i>Les Echecs amoureux</i> and a

prose Commentary on the poem roughly 50 years later most likely

composed by Evrart de Conty. By using chess as an allegory for

romantic love and as an allegory for an idealized community which

follows cosmic rules, the poem and Commentary combine romantic

love, political order and the cosmos. Adams reads <i>Les Echecs</i>

and the Commentary basically as a return of the state-as-body

metaphor and refers to the historic background of late fourteenth-

and early fifteenth-century France, where the crisis power led to a

desire for a unified country and in political and literary

discourse to configurations of the state as body and the king as

its head.


The last part of Power Play is dedicated to Chess in mid-to-late

fifteenth century England. First Adams takes a look at Hoccleve's

<i>Regiment of Princes</i>, a <i>Speculum Regis</i> written for

Prince Henry of Wales. Hoccleve not only uses the <i>Liber</i> as

his primary source, primarily focusing on the king and the

qualities of a ruler, but also integrating a new concept in punning

on the game's economic implications: "the Exchequer is not only a

checkered board that dominates Hoccleve's primary source, it is

also the office that owes him his paychek." (14)


Even more on economic and social exchange Adams reflects in her

reading of the <i>Game and Playe of the Chesse</i> by William

Caxton published in 1474 and 1483. While the first edition is

dedicated to a nobleman, the second with a new preface and

additions of woodcuts that do not appear in the first addition is

directed to the people of England.


The first woodcut illustrates Jacobus' exemplum of the bad emperor

at the beginning of the <i>Liber</i> and shows Nebuchadnezzar's

decapitated body lying in pieces on the ground. By showing the

destruction and in the next following woodcuts the "subsequent

rebuilding of the king's body" (149) until he appears as a figure

on the chessboard, Caxton, according to Adams, offers a graphic

reminder of a larger shift in fifteenth-century ideas of political

authority and civic organization. Not only is the strong position

of the king in question but the individual (author) finds its self-

confidence in a society and civic organisation which is governed no

longer by the absolute power of a king but by the rules of economic

exchange. Like the previous parts of the book, the author's

argument is based on a thoughtful reading and interpretation of

sources, which allows for the historical and discursive

contextualisation of Caxton's Chess book.


Linking back the game of chess or to be more precise the concept of

the game of chess and its changes in literary discourses in Italy,

France and England from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century to

a historical context (and discourse) is the basic value of Jenny

Adams' <i>Power Play</i>. Adams' reflections on discourses and

metaphors and their embedding in a historical context go far beyond

what "chess historians" have worked out so far. For this reason,

studies such as this one are of great importance.


Much however has happened in chess history (and archaeology) since

Murray published his fundamental work, although a comprehensive

study integrating new research results is still missing. Towards

the end of the fifteenth century the static character of the

medieval game of chess changed dramatically, when new rules for the

moves of the bishop and the queen were defined and accepted within

a few decades all over Europe. From now on both pieces could

exploit their full potential power on the chessboard in moving

along the complete diagonal (the bishop) and in a straight line in

all directions, horizontal, vertical and diagonal (the queen). Only

at that point did the game of chess become a dynamic game and the

system of rules which is composed by the interrelations of the

pieces and their harmony on the chessboard was transformed from a

static and topological system into a dynamic system where space and

time become the most important parameters. From the sixteenth

century onwards chess manuals refer to this transformation, which

caused great discussion and in many cases wild speculation among

historians of the game. Only recently a serious study has been

published by Jose A. Garzon which gives a plausible historical

context for the origin of modern chess in late fifteenth-century

Spain, while general implications on changing the rules of a game

and changing  a system of thought are still to be discussed in

future discourses and their interpretations.[1]




[1] Garzon, Jose Antonio. <i>The return of Francesch Vicent. The

History of the Birth and expansion of Modern Chess</i>. Valencia,

2006. (Spanish original: 2005)


-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 13:15:10 +1300

From: "Lila Richards" <lilar at ihug.co.nz>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Jigs

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


Silfren wrote:

> Just goes to show - always get a laugh with a fart joke!


Indeed! One of the illustrations in McClintock's 'Old Irish and Highland

Dress' is from a 16th C picture showing what looks like an outdoor Irish

feast. To the right of the picture is a row of men bending over with their

buttocks exposed. Just recently I discovered that they are engaged in a

farting contest - a popular entertainment at the the time. I guess you had

to make your own entertainment in those days. ;-)





From: Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com>

Date: July 27, 2010 1:43:06 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] Rain tonight?


On Tue, 27 Jul 2010, Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com> wrote:

<<< Hmm. Anyone know how old the game of craps is? Is it period? >>>


<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard_(game)>; says 19th C, but Hazard

is mentioned in the Canterbury Tales.  No citation is provided for

either statement.  It states that craps is hazards with 7 as the

automatic main (which is the caster's best odds in hazards) but with

more complicated bets possible.


Danyell de Lyncoln



From: Pat McGregor <patsmor at yahoo.com>

Date: July 27, 2010 2:04:51 PM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Bryn-gwlad] Period Dice Games/Craps (WAS Re:  Rain tonight?)


Someone asked about craps in period. In Alphonso X's Book of Games he talks about playing "triga" with dice, and the scoring seems similar even if 7's and 2's aren't the goals:

This is the game of triga (trios?). There is another game called triga that is played in this way: and if a man is playing against another and he first rolls “par”20 on all three dice, or fifteen pips, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen or the flip-sides of these rolls which are six, five, four or three, he wins. And these rolls are all called trigas and they can be rolled in this way:

(Big Table of rolls)

19 Alfonso does not say it explicitly but this makes “good” dice the ones that have reciprocal sides that add up to the significant number 7.

20 Par meaning either a pair of two dice rolled to the same number or par meaning even or simply the same number as in golf.

Another version of triga.

In another way a man can roll in which he will have none of the rolls which we have described up to this point, and it will be triga, when if a man takes for himself seven pips, or eight, or nine, or ten, or eleven, or twelve, or thirteen, or fourteen, and the other with whom his is playing rolls the same this will be triga and the one who first took the number will win.

[f. 66v]


And if by chance he does not roll the other player’s number and he takes another (number) for himself, they should both roll as many times until one of them hits upon one of those numbers.


And rolling one’s own number will be triga and he will win, and if he should roll the other’s it will also be triga and he will lose. "

http://www.mediafire.com/?nenjj1dimtd (This is an irritating site with pop-ups, but the MSS and pictures are worth getting to...)

siobhan m.


Pat McGregor - patsmor at yahoo.com



Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 12:49:59 -0500

From: Sandra Rangel <arwynn16 at gmail.com>

To: Nottinghill Coill <nottinghill-coill at yahoogroups.com>,

        cyddlaindowns at yahoogroups.com,      The Ministers of Arts and Sciences

        <moaslist at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org>,      Merry Rose

        <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

Subject: [MR] Ostomachion..Osto-what?


Ever wanted a puzzle or game that was unique and challenging and probably

haven't heard of or maybe didn't know it could work as game in the SCA...

well have you heard or seen an "Ostomachion"? There are a few other names

for it such as loculus Archimedius, syntomachion, stomachion or 14-piece

Tangram. The Ostomachion is a 14 piece dissection puzzle that

is attributed to or "invented" by Archimedes of Syracuse who lived until

212 B.C at the age of 75. The "Archimedes Palimpsest" is said to contain

the earliest surviving written works of Archimedes to include this puzzle

along with many other mathematical works.


Constantine VII Porphyrogennitos, a Byzantine Emperor of the 10th century,

worked to recover the different works of Archimedes from various Greek

scrolls and created the Archimedes Palmpisest that we know today. However

it did not have a happy history after the 4th Crusade and the sack

of Constantinople in 1203 A.D. where the book's pages were cut apart, the

words scraped and pages were rewritten into a prayerbook called the

"Euchologion". But thanks to modern technology and the Walters Museum the

works of Archimedes have been discovered through restoration and imaging.


The math behind the puzzle:


About the Palmpiset's travels:



Definitely a great conversation piece as well as a challenging puzzle for

the office or reenactment event or just home.


Lady Rohesia Anven of Thessaloniki

MoAS for Nottinghill Coill

Canton of Cyddlain Downs



To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: dice games

Posted by: "Brad Moore" mamluk at yahoo.com mamluk

Date: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:10 pm ((PDT))


I am linking a copy of "The Merry Gamester".  It's a PDF of a now out of print book, distributed for free online by the author.  He is a reenactor, and it details all manner of card and dice games from period (and some past period, as well).  It's a great place to start.  





Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2012 12:39:21 +0000

From: "Groff, Garth (ggg9y)" <ggg9y at virginia.edu>

To: "isenfir at virginia.edu" <isenfir at virginia.edu>,

        "atlantia at atlantia.sca.org"   <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

Subject: [MR] New Book on Medieval Chess


New in the UVA library: CHESS IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND EARLY MODERN AGE, edited by Daniel E. O'Sullivan (ISBN 9783110288513; our call number GV1442 .C44 2012). This work consists of ten contributed articles which discuss both the game of chess, and its significance in middle ages European culture. Among the chapter titles are "Games and Governance  to Twelfth -Century England", "Images of Medieval Spanish Chess and Captive Damsels in Distress", and "Defeating the Devil at Chess: A Struggle between Virtue and Vice in Le Jue des esches de la dame moralise". The volume is illustrated with a number of board diagrams, but there are only two other illustrations (both of Kempelen's Chess Automaton, and rather small). Of course, there is a rich bibliography at the end, but no index. Period gamesters and chess mavens will love this volume, but it also sheds an important light on the cultural importance of chess for understanding the middle ages.


Lord Mungo Napier, Isenfir's Unofficial Librarian

(aka Garth Groff, UVA Library Cataloging and Metadata Services)



From: Navah / Aibinn ingen Artain <navah.trimaris at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: {TheTriskeleTavern} ATTN: artists, crafters, tradesmen, merchants!

Date: August 9, 2013 9:13:15 PM CDT

To: Trimaris Triskele-Tavern mailist <the-triskele-tavern at googlegroups.com>


Checkers/draughts came from alquerque. Around 12th century. Rather than say draughts then have to go into explanation what draughts was I said checkers. Draughts is well documented in period. The diagonal board of draughts is documented 14th century.


Her timeframe of 17th 18th century should allow checkers.

Shut the box is claimed to be dated 13th century as well as 1500 ce england. Another date tossed out is 1750. I have not looked to extant sources to prove either date. It is much like boc-tin which is also not well documented.


From: Vels inn Viggladi <velsthe1 at HOTMAIL.COM>

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] question on chess boards

Date: September 17, 2013 9:46:01 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu


>Does anyone know of a source that has pictures or drawings of period chess boards? Perferably that would

>go along with Chessmen from the Isle of Lewis.


>Eric Thorn


The Victoria and Albert has a few extant period chess boards in their collection - http://collections.vam.ac.uk/ search term "Chess Board." Most of them are 16th century. Then this visual depiction from the early 1300's - http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O312913/a-game-of-chess-mirror-back-unknown/


The Met has this lovely painted depiction, from 1475 - http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/436884

More from the Met : http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?ft=Chess+board

Again, very few SCA period extants, but several depictions from art. Beware, the Met does not differentiate between "Chess" which doesn't develop until the 12th century and "Shatranj" the precursor game that has another half-millenium of history behind it.


As to those that are contemporary to the Lewis Chessmen? Nope. No known extants and very few, if any, depictions that early in Western Europe. There are a couple of Shatranj boards depicted around that time... but I don't remember which century the "checker-board" pattern was developed; 13th? 14th? That doesn't make much of a difference except in our ability to easily identify the game board itself.


We also know that Chess in the Round was developed a century or so before the Lewis Chessmen, so that adds another level of complexity to your search. Luckily, that variation was only common in the Eastern Med and Black Sea region. And Norsemen _never_ traveled around the Bosporus ><.





From: Steven Boyd <andrixos at EARTHLINK.NET>

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] question on chess boards

Date: September 17, 2013 10:24:03 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu


My reading, admittedly not as complete as I would like, suggests that "Chess in the Round" while attested in Persian manuscripts, and referred to as "Roman (in this context Byzantine) Chess" was not attested in manuscripts from Constantinople.  The use of the term Roman was most likely a dig at my people, because of the "attacking from behind" nature of the game was equated to the preferred tactics, strategies, politics and lifestyles of the God-guarded City.




From: "Bill Ford's Hotmail" <wcford at HOTMAIL.COM>

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] question on chess boards

Date: September 17, 2013 12:12:59 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu


You might also check:

Chess Sets by F. Lanier Graham, Published by Walker and Company New York, 1968


And there is a book I have been wanting to get, but can't afford. I don’t know if it has pictures or not. It is a scholarly tome. I have it on my Amazon wish list:

Chess in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age A Fundamental Thought Paradigm of the Premodern World FMC (Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture)

by Daniel E. O'Sullivan


William Scolari

(Dr. Bill Ford)



From: Vels inn Viggladi <velsthe1 at HOTMAIL.COM>

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] question on chess boards

Date: September 18, 2013 9:57:01 PM CDT

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu


My reading, admittedly not as complete as I would like, suggests that "Chess in the Round" while attested in Persian manuscripts, and referred to as "Roman (in this context Byzantine) Chess" was not attested in manuscripts from Constantinople.  The use of the term Roman was most likely a dig at my people, because of the "attacking from behind" nature of the game was equated to the preferred tactics, strategies, politics and lifestyles of the God-guarded City.





That is an interesting take on the game. I had always thought it appropriate to the grand strategy of the Empire from the 11th Century onward, but without the inherent barb.


Granted, Adrianople started the trend, but once the Siculo-Normans began their bid for Greece and lands to the East, the Empire was required to maintain a strategy of looking to both the East and West in defense. In "traditional" chess, as well as shatranj, the game is inherently linear. The chief asset to capturing the opposing king is to take and hold the center of the board. While this translates somewhat effectively to a tactical situation on the battlefield, it less mimicks the situation of Constantinople on the strategic scale. There, the "center" was uncontested and the lines of attack were to and from the flanks. Depriving one side of proper attention while driving hard at the other allowed your opponent to exploit that carelessness. Learning how to best divide one's forces to adequately handle an opponent is a hard and important lesson.


It also seemed to follow with the analogy of the Double Headed Eagle: To look to the East and the West, as well as the Temporal and Eternal. An Emperor (or other leader in that culture) needed to maintain a balance between the two in order to attain one's goals. That the naming convention would be an externally applied pejorative rather than deriving from an application of both Metaphysical Philosophy and Military Grand Strategy never occurred to me.


I need more "free" time... Too much to investigate.




<the end>

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