hist-games: metromachia / ouranomachia

Jane & Mark Waks waks at attbi.com
Wed Jun 18 06:05:35 PDT 2003


"Alex R. Kraaijeveld" wrote:
> Does anyone know where I might be able to find the rules of metromachia and
> ouranomachia, two old games derived from (?) rithmomachia?

Yes and no -- depends on what language you want them in.

First off, though: it isn't clear to me yet that either game is actually
derived from rhythmomachy. Both are mathematical in nature, and were
probably inspired by it, but what I've seen of them so far looks like
they're fairly different in character. Fulke just seems to have liked
games involving numbers.

The originals for both are in Latin, and can be found on the Early
English Text microfilms; I have copies. Metromachia is STC 11444 (Reel
242:2); ouranomachia is STC 11445 (Reel 242:13). Note that the title
page of the latter has it as "OYPANOMAXIA" due to the vagaries of
orthography, so it may be listed under either spelling. (Similarly,
metromachy is listed as "METPOMAXIA" on its title page.) Both books are
fairly substantial, about 50 pages each.

A friend and I are ever-so-slowly working on an English translation, but
I'm afraid we haven't been as diligent about it as I'd like, so I'm
still pretty sketchy about what's going on. (I'd dreadful with
languages, so translating the Latin is very slow going for me, and I've
tended to get distracted onto other projects.) There is a partial
translation of Metromachy into French, which can be found (along with a
reconstruction) in volume 2 of Board Games Studies.

I'm not at all certain whether either game is actually playable -- at
the least, they're clearly pretty complex. (Especially Metromachy.) But
I do want to try them out one of these days and see...

				-- Justin

"Complex issues handled with the simplicity and finesse of a brontosaur
 in an egg-packing plant!"
		-- Da Roach



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