hist-games: Miscellaneous Queries

Christian Joachim Hartmann lukian at Null.net
Mon Jun 29 06:38:56 PDT 1998

At 13:49 26.06.98 +1000, Adelle Hartley wrote:

>2.  How was Fox and Hounds played with 13 hounds (or geese) - instead of
>the post 1600
>version with 17)

According to Bell, for the older game the four geese on the outer sides were
taken away. The geese could move backwards, i.e. to all four orthagonal
Question:  Were the geese allowed in any variant to move diagonally?
cf. <http://www.tarahill.com/instruct.html#morris>

At 14:19 25.06.98 +1000, Adelle Hartley wrote:
>Does anyone know when the game Asalto was first played?

Maybe in the 17th century? The oldest board I know an illustration
of is dated 2nd half of the 18th c.

>3.  In Reversis (or other games where players pay the winner according
>to the cards left in their
>hands, or taken in play) how are draws paid out?  (ie 2 winners, 2
>losers - do the losers pay
>each winner separately or do they pool the winnings and share them
>between the winners.

Quote Parlett, "Dictionary of Card Games": "A tie for winner or looser
is decided in favour of the player who took fewer tricks or, if equal,
of the player in the best position. For this purpose, Dealer is best 
placed and the player at his right is worst placed, priority diminishing
clockwise around the table." [Note: Play is anti-clockwise]

Question: Hey, is Reversis described in "Games of the World"? Are we
talking about the same book?

>How are spare coins handled if this is so?).  There were probably a lot
>of regional variations on
>this point but we are trying to figure out how the medieval mind would
>have approached the problem.

One deal wasn't a game. Any spare coins would've been carried forward
to the next game.
Reversis was first recorded in the 17th century. I don't know if 
negative trick games have already existed in earlier centuries.

>4.  According to "Games of the World", Poch was originally played on a
>board with 9 pockets but
>only gives the rules for the more modern 7 pocket version.  What were
>the original 9 pockets used?

No, Grunfeld gives the rules for a game with 8 pockets. The 8 pockets
are A, K, Q, J, 10, Marriage (K-Q), 7-8-9 (Sequence), Poch-pocket (highest
pair or three-of-a-kind or full-house or all-four). If there's a ninth
pocket, the winner of the third phase of the game (the 'Newmarket'-phase)
collects the contend of that field in additon to one chip per card his
adversaries are left with.

These rules are fairly constant from the 18th century on. There are boards
with fewer or more pockets in earlier times. E.g. the earliest extant
Poch-board (beginning of the 16th c.) has only got 6 'pockets' (rather
'fields'), omitting the pockets for Sequence and Marrriage.

One board that has _too_much_ pockets can be seen on page 140 of the
same book, illustrating the section on Glückshaus/House of Fortune. 
E. Glonnegger identified this board as having been used for the described
dice game, but I believe it to have been used for an enlarged variety of
Poch. By comparing this board to as similar one which has images more
clearly showing playing cards, the images are to be read like this:

Woman with flag 'W':        '10' ('Banner' in German cards; V+V = X)
Man carying a whip 'V':     Jack ('Unter'; U=V)
Man with heart held high:   Queen ('Ober', Over-Jack)
King 'K':                   King ('König')
Swine 'SA':                 Ace (Swine = 'Sau' = Daus = Deuce = Ace) :-)
Priest marrying couple 'H': Marriage ('Heirat')
Man leading woman 'D':      Sequence ('Dans' = Tanz = Dance)
Three naked boys 'G':       Highest pair/3/4 of a kind ('Gleich' = equal)
Man playing with dice 'SP': Poch-pocket ? ('Spieler' = gamester/gambler, meaning 'Spiel' = game/play ?)
2 crossed spears 'ST':      ? ('Stechen'? = to trump)

Anybody like to guess at the meaning of the two last pockets? Only one 
can be the Poch-pocket, the other has to be for something else.

>5.  In Poch, can the last stage be forced to a draw (as can be the case
>if only Aces are stop cards)?

No, the first to get rid of his/her cards wins. Even if only Aces are
stop cards, one player might have e.g. only hearts and if he/she beginns to
play with heart-7 then he/she will be able to finish without anybody
elso having a chance to play any card.

>6.  Does anyone have a period (600ad - 1600ad) picture of the board for
>the Goose Game which I could use as a model for my own.

Why does 'period' end 1600 now? There is an extant plan for the game from
1589, a table-board of limestone with the Game of Goose incised [and the
rules too!! This should've been made compulsury, 't would be easier for
us now!]. This is to my taste far too refined an example since it was
made for the Archduke of Austria.
There I have seen illustrations of a number of slightly younger but more
'popular' examples. In fact, most of them are woodcut leaves (broadsides)
with the plan and often the rules of the game:
- a French woodcut from around 1600
- a very similar French woodcut, but said to be from the 18th c.
- a Dutch woodcut of around 1600
- a Dutch (Flemish) woodcut from the end of the 17th.
- a German woodcut plan from the Bayrisches Nationalmuseum, middle of 17th.
- a German painted board from Germanisches Nationalmuseum, 1st half of 17th.
- an Italian handcoloured woodcut, 17 th.

>7.  Are there any translations available of Alphonso X's games book?

It seems the only language this book hasn't been translated to is
English. There's a German translation:
Alfonso el Sabio: "Libro de Acedex/Schachzabelbuch", transl. Arnald Steiger,
  Geneve/Zürich: 1941.

There's a new German translation announced but it hasn't showed up yet. :-(

But there's a recent Italian translation:
Alfonso X, king of Castile and Leon, 1221- 1284: "Il libro dei giochi : il libro dei dadi,   delle tavole, del grant acedrex e del gioco di scacchi con dieci caselle, degli scacchi delle   quattro stagioni ...", Bologna 1996, ISBN 88-86740-05-0, Price: 35000 ITL


References (as usual):

Bell, R.C.: "Board and table games from many civilisations",
  Oxford: 1960, 1969; New York, 1979.
Endrei, Walter: Spiele und Unterhaltung im alten Europa. Hanau, 1988;
  Engl. edition: "Fun and Games in Old Europe", Budapest, 1986.
Glonnegger, Erwin: "Das Spiele-Buch", Ravensburg: 1988.
Himmelheber, Georg: "Spiele. Gesellschaftspiele aus einem Jahrtausend",
  Munich/Berlin 1972 (= Kataloge des Bayrischen Nationalmuseums, 14).

**       Christian Joachim Hartmann 
**       lukian at Null.net
**       christian.hartmann at uni-duesseldorf.de

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