hist-games: Games we can talk about.

Mark Waks justin at inmet.com
Wed Aug 20 05:06:49 PDT 1997

Barnacle Bill wrote:
> Gala?

Don't know it. Description?

> Aunt Sally - at least 12th C.


> Horse Shoes? (and/or quoits)

Unquestionably existed in the 17th century in familiar
form. I'm pretty sure that there are references going
further back, although I don't recall offhand if there
are clear descriptions. Both part of a large family of
common games that can be describing as "throwing things
at things". Only real different from modern games seems
to be that the period games didn't worry as much about
precise distances and suchlike.

> Fives? (with knucklebones)

Again, I don't know it.

> 9 mens morris has been mentioned as a board game but was also played
> outside (ref. Shakespeare)

Other than as a board game?

> Marbles?

Apparently visible in Breughel's painting of children's games,
so some version of marbles is probably period...

> What would be very nice would be to:
> A:   agree a list of period games (and sports?) with appropriate refs.

Well, the list is going to be ever-growing, and quite long.
book on Medieval Games, with just brief descriptions of the games he
of, runs to a couple hundred pages -- and that leaves off games that
are solely Renaissance, like cards.

> B:   Agree workable rules for these games

Easier said than done -- reconstruction is an inexact art, and
many games have many variants. So you have to accept that there
*will* be many different reconstructions for some games. (The
number of versions I've seen just of Cardano's description of
Primero is non-trivial.)

> c:   Collect all the info on a website.  If someone will collate the
>      information I'll gladly put it on my website.

Sorry, but I beat you to that punch long ago. The Period Games Homepage
is well-established and pretty substantial; it's at:


I am always looking for more material to hook into, though; if
people want to work up reconstructions for new games (or different
good reconstructions for games I already have), I am happy to
hook up to them or host them...

> d:   In additon to the authentic games perhaps develop a FAQ out of
>      period games like dominos.  This would  be to minimise offtopic
>   discussion, especailly from newbies as the list matures.

Not a bad idea at all. I can think of three or four things to put
on there to begin with. Anyone want to take on the job of assembling
this FAQ? I don't have time this month...

				-- Justin

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