hist-games: tablero replacement?

Jane & Mark Waks waks at ne.mediaone.net
Sun Feb 11 11:00:19 PST 2001

Chas wrote:
> Just for fun, here's more period gambling/drinking game than Tablero -for when
> the authenticity police are on patrol!  ;-)
> It was played on a "tables" (Backgammon) board with up to 5 people. Although a
> board is not necessarily required. The 17th century drinking version of the
> game is at the bottom and was apparently described by Charles Cotton in the 1670's.
> Sixe-Ace

Hmm. I disagree with one or two details of this reconstruction, although
Cotton provides *so* little information that it's hard to say with any
real confidence what the game looked like. Cotton's description was just
one paragraph:



Five may play at Sice-Ace with six men apiece, they one load another
with Aces, sixes bears only, and Dubblets drinks and throws again, so
often some I have seen that for the lucre of a little money have
resolved rather to lose themselves than a penny. It is commonly agreed
the last two, or the last out shall lose, and the rest go free.


Based on just this, the version described by Chas looks a little
embroidered (although it might be based on other additional sources as
well). From the above, it does look like a drinking game, although the
drinking seems to happen when you roll doubles, rather than when you
roll a two. (Once every six rolls, rather than once every three.) The
use of a pool, paying on 2 and 5, seems like an addition to the game,
which from its name seems to only really move on aces and sixes (but
it's a reasonable variation to speed things up and make them more
interesting). The notion of double two's winning the entire pot also
seems like an addition, to go along with the presence of the pot.

The last sentence is a tough one to interpret; taking that to mean that
the last one or two out pay for the drinks seems reasonably plausible.
The hardest part is "so often some I have seen that for the lucre of a
little money have resolved rather to lose themselves than a penny". I
confess, I'm not sure how to interpret that; ideas are welcome. And of
course, it's pretty unclear how any of this translates to being a game
within the tables -- if it's not using the points, the table seems
entirely irrelevant, which is odd.

So my guess at a pure reconstruction of Cotton would be similar to
Chas', but simpler. Up to five players are around the table, with six
men each, rolling two dice. Each time you roll an Ace, you put a man in
front of the player to your right. Each time you roll a Six, you bear a
man off. Each time you roll doubles, you take a drink and roll again.
Last man left (or last two) pay for the drinks. A very lightweight, very
fast pure gambling game, with a clear aim of getting *very* drunk *very*
quickly. Quite rowdy, and good for a crowd.

				-- Justin

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