hist-games: Games Leonardo da Vinci might have played?

Jay Schindler jayvs1 at home.com
Thu Jun 28 23:13:41 PDT 2001


Our club, the Gamers Inner Circle at Oregon State University, will be
hosting a booth on fun games for our community's summer festival,
daVinci Days, here in Corvallis, OR. This festival likes to link to the
creative, scientific, and artistic spirit of Leonardo. The festival
has music, street entertainers, an educational emphasis for the younger
community members, kinetic sculpture races, water rocket contests, and
more... (If interested, visit http://www.davinci-days.org/2001/index.html)

I'm turning to the deep knowledge of this community of lovers of
historic/period games to help suggest games that we could feature at our
booth to fit the themes associated with this summer festival...

What games would Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) and his contemporaries
actually have played during the High Renaissance in Italy?  Did Leonardo
play chess? What version? Are there any references in Leonardo's
writings to any games he actually did play?  What was popular in the
courts...or with the common folk...in Italy in the late 1400s and early 1500s?

I have visited a few websites that discuss the generic topic of
Medieval and Renaissance games--like 9 Men's Morris and Tablut--but I'm
finding it hard to locate specific details of games played in Italy
during Leonardo's life. R.C. Bell (in Board and Table Games of Many
Civilizations) references games of Nard (Backgammon), 6 Men's Morris,
Dominos, and Italian Draughts,  but I was hoping for something a bit
more "engaging and unique" for our booth visitors. We'll be dealing with
children, adolescents, as well as adults.

Well, as you can see, my brain's been churning... Any recommendations,
URLs for more details on "games during the Italian Renaissance," or
insights on Leonardo's game play habits (from one of your previous
lives?) would be much appreciated. 

Jay Schindler
OSU Gamers Inner Circle Advisor
(or on the backchannel: jayvs1 at home.com)

[also sent to the Usenet newsgroup: rec.games.board]

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