hist-games: Historical Games Frequently Asked Questions File - Part I
salley at niktow.canisius.edu
Sat Aug 30 08:02:51 PDT 1997
Welcome to the Medieval and Renaissance Games FAQ file! - Part I
Send corrections/updates/suggestions for this file to:
salley at niktow.canisius.edu OR http://www-cs.canisius.edu/~salley
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2.) Can I get "back issues" of the mailing list?
This list is archived. The archive is located at:
3.) What does this mailing list cover?
Medieval and Renaissance games. Although the actual content of the
list will be determined by what people post, we concentrate on
historical games prior to 1650.
4.) Where can I find information on games played AFTER 1650?
There are several games which have their own newsgroups. If you
have a question or want to discuss these games, you have a better
chance of getting your question answered there.
Game : Newsgroup
Abstract games : rec.games.abstract
Backgammon : rec.games.backgammon
Board games : rec.games.board
Bridge : rec.games.bridge
Chess : rec.games.chess....
Chinese Chess : rec.games.chinese-chess
Cosmic Encounter : rec.games.board.ce
Designing your own game : rec.games.design
Dice games : alt.games.dice
Diplomacy : rec.games.diplomacy
Gambling games : rec.gambling.other-games
Games for sale : rec.games.board.marketplace
Go : rec.games.go
Live Action Role Play : rec.games.frp.live-action
Magic: The Gathering : rec.games.trading-card....
Miniatures : rec.games.miniatures
Miniatures, Historical : rec.games.miniatures.historical
Miniatures, Warhammer : rec.games.miniatures.warhammer
Miscellaneous games : alt.games
Play-By-Mail games : rec.games.pbm
Playing cards : rec.games.playing-cards
Fantasy Role Playing : rec.games.frp....
Tiddlywinks : alt.games.tiddlywinks
Trivia games : rec.games.trivia
5.) What are all those strange terms all the regular posters keep using?
SCA : Society for Creative Anachronism, a non-profit, educational,
historical re-creation organization for hobbyists.
period : within the time period discussed, prior to 1650.
OOP : Out-Of-Period, post 1650.
primary documentation : something published/produced concurrent with
the time period being studied, eg. a game board, a painting.
secondary documentation : generally, a 20th century scholastic work
on the subject, the good ones will cite their references.
6.) Where can I find information/rules about period games?
Check out the "Medieval & Renaissance Games Home Page" web site at
"http://www.inmet.com/~justin/game-hist.html". Like this list, it
was started within the SCA, but we hope that it serves a broader
audience. Contact Justin du Coeur (justin at inmet.com) for more
details about the web site.
A Partial Bibliography on Period Games
_Medieval Games_ by Salamallah the Corpulent (Jeff DeLuca),
Raymond's Quiet Press ISBN 0-943228-03-4,$10.00. He's a Laurel
for board games. Ordering information is available at
also managed to track down about 3/4 of the books he lists in the
Bibliography. Among them, I'd recommend the following two:
_Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland_ by Alice Gomme,
pub. London 1894. in 2 vol. Thames and London, ISBN 0-500-27316-2,
$18.95 Normally, I avoid Victorian books as the scholarship usually
tends to be nearly non-existant. These books however, are very well
_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, bibliography, index.
_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, and 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 and Prepartion Time - Short,
_The World of Games: Their Origin and History, How to Play Them and
How to Make Them_ translated by Jack Botermans. (NY; Facts on File;
1989; ISBN 0-8160-2184-8; 240 pgs, ill.) (Originally pub. as _Wereld
vol spelletjes_) Excellent book. Well illustrated and documented.
_Hopscotch, Hangman, Hot Potato, & Ha-ha-ha_ by Jack Maguire
(Simon & Schuster; 1992; ISBN 0-671-76332-6; 304 pgs; $15) Forward
by Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo! An excellent
instruction manual, it gives a number of variations for most games.
It does not discuss the history of games.
_Pleasures and Pastimes of Medieval England_ by Compton Reeves
(England; Alan Sutton Pub.; 1995; ISBN 0-7509-0089-X; 228 pgs)
Admittedly hard to get, but well worth the effort. It doesn't cover
rules for specific games, but the documentation is excellent. Very
well illustrated with photos of artifacts and reproductions of
historical manuscripts. The paperback is due out in December 1997.
Society for Creative Anachronism, Compleat Anachronist pamphlet series
(P.O. Box 360789, Milpitas CA 95036-0789, $4 each)
Compleat Anachronist #04 "Indoor Games or How to While Away a Siege"
Compleat Anachronist #71 "Period Pastimes"
Compleat Anachronist #78 "Non-European Games"
_Family Fun & Games_ (NY; Sterling Publishing; 1994; ISBN
0-8069-8776-6; 800 pgs; $18) No author or editor listed. It's
advertised as a reference book and that's what it is. It's a how-to
manual that contains directions for virtually every game and type of
game known; board games, dice, cards, active games, party games,
scavenger hunts, etc. No historical background, however it
occasionally mentions that a game is "hundreds of years old."
_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 Chess_ (originally pub. 1913) by H.J.R. Murray
_A History of Board Games Other Than Chess_ (1951) 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
7.) Where can I find information/rules about period cards and card games?
"The Official Card Games Webpage" is at "http://www.pagat.com".
A Partial Bibliography on Period Playing Cards
_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 bibliography :-(, 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.
_A History of Card Games_ by David Parlett (1990; Oxford Univ. Press;
ISBN: 0-19-282905-X; $10.50) Well documented. No bibliography, but
all footnotes are cited.
_Scarne's Encyclopedia of Card Games_ by John Scarne (1983;
Harper & Row, Pub.; ISBN: 0-06-273155-6; $16.00) John Scarne was
considered to be the world's foremost authority on cards and dice.
The U.S. military, in a rare display of intelligence, sent John to
one military base after another, teaching soldiers and sailors how to
detect rigged dice and marked cards and how to avoid crooked games.
_Playing Cards_ by Roger Tilley (1973; Octopus Books Ltd.; $6.00;
ISBN: 0-7064-0049-6) Color photographs of cards from the British
Museum. One deck has as suits: Lions, Peacocks, Monkeys & Parrots.
The photos alone are worth the price of the book.
_Playing Cards, The History and Secrets of the Pack_ by W. Gurney
Benham. Regretfully long out of print, this volume covers not only
the history of standard playing cards, but also devotes chapters to
the history of the Tarot, and the Right Worshipful Guild of Playing
8.) Are there period games played with Tarot cards?
Yes; the Tarot was originally used for a large family of trick-taking
games, from the later Renaissance up to the modern day.
9.) Where can I find information/rules about dice games?
_Scarne on Dice_ by John Scarne. John Scarne was the world's
foremost authority on cards and dice. This book is so well
written, Encyclopedia Britannica uses citations and illustrations
from this book for their articles.
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