hist-games: Gwyddbwyll

Lachlan Jones boston at terrigal.net.au
Thu Sep 4 18:02:53 PDT 1997


 Hi everyone,

Does anyone know of a Welsh game called gwyddbwyll? I was reading a legend
from the Mabinogion,(the Dream of Rhonabwy) and it makes reference to a game
played between King Arthur and Owein son of Uryen. The quote says, 'so the
red-haired man brought them the gwyddbwyll set, whose men were gold and
whose board was silver'.

The legend makes no further attempt to explain the game, but it appears that
it was a strategy game something like hnefatafl, or tawl-bwrdd, the known
Welsh variant of that game. It certainly kept Arthur and Owein occupied,
since Arthur's best troops were being attacked by Owein's ravens at the time
they were  playing and Owein couldn't drag himself away!  


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