hist-games: Historical Games -- FAQ, Part II (Monthly Posting)

Christian Joachim Hartmann lukian at Null.net
Wed Dec 3 01:31:21 PST 1997


At 21:08 01.12.97 EST, David Salley wrote:

>And now for THIS week's list of games!
[...]

>	MANCALA -- Ancient African in origin
>

Mancala is one member of a huge family of board games which has that one
pecularity, that no member of it established itself in Europe.
It is known otherwise all over Africa, in the Arabic states, in India and
further east in Indonesia and other south-east Asian countries.
It is played with beans or stones as pieces on a board consisting of two or
three or four rows of holes which can be from 3 to 8 in number.
Other names for Mancala are Wari or Kalah.
There is some archeological evidence from ancient Egypt of around 1500 B.C.,
and in the early centuries A.D. it was played in Ceylon and Arabia.
[Reference: Murray, H. J. R.: "A history of board-games other than chess",
Oxford 1952, NY 1978]



>	OTHELLO -- 1880's ?
>

Othello was invented in England around 1880, under the name "Reversi".
It was republished recently in Japan under the name "Othello", and had
success as well in the U.S. as in Britain, but is still to be found
with its original name. [Reference: Glonnegger, Erwin: "Das Spiele-Buch",
Ravensburg 1988]



>	POKER -- Earliest reference 1901?
>

Poker originated before 1829 in the south-eastern states of the U. S.
Modern Poker evolved about 1870. The ancestry of Poker - Primero, Brag,
Poch &c. - goes back to the 15th century.[Reference: Parlett, David:
"The Oxford guide to card games", Oxford/NY 1990, PB ed. under title
"A history of card games" 1991.]



>	RUMMY -- Not a clue, anyone?
>

Rather than a single card game, Rummy is a family of card games including
Cansta as one of its most evolved members.
The basic Rummy - something like Gin Rummy played by four players - 
developed from Conquian or Coon Can, a game played in Mexico around 1890.
There are speculations that the Mexican game came in turn from China,
because games like Rummy, but played with Chinese playing cards, are well 
known in China. From games like these Mah-Jong evolved - making it a possible
cousin of Rummy. [Reference: Parlett, David: "The Oxford guide to card games"
Oxford/NY 1990, PB ed. under title "A history of card games" 1991.]



>	TIC-TAC-TOE -- Ancient Roman
>

The typical three times three board of Tic-tac-toe was already used in
ancient Egypt of c. 1400 B.C. There are references from China of c. 500
B.C. and from the Greeks and Romans. The game of Tic-tac-toe is
connected to early forms of the equally ancient Nine-Men's-Morris q.v.
Whereas the latter is played on an enlarged board with moving men, 
Tic-tac-toe has become a children's game with board and marks drawn on
paper. [Reference: Bell, R./Cornelius, M.: "Boardgames round the world",
Cambridge 1988]

Question: Would the members of this mailing list suggest "Nine-Men's-Morris"
          or rather "Merels" as the generic name of this family of games?




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