hist-games: Willughby on Ticktack

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Fri Dec 19 15:59:24 PST 2003


David Levy wrote:
> Willughby certainly supports Mark’s recreation.

Thank you. I was kind of surprised originally by the difference between 
Trictrac and Ticktack, but I've found that Ticktack is a lot of fun in 
its own way.

> I was then prepared to dismiss Ticktack as a game created by someone who
> learned Trictrac imperfectly.

I think it's a certainty that the two are related, but I dearly wish 
that there was more evidence about the order of derivation. While I 
think you're right that the terminology supports a French origin, 
Ticktack *feels* older to me. Or more precisely, Trictrac feels like a 
more refined game, which has evolved from the purely gambling game that 
Ticktack represents, to something a bit more strategic.

So my personal theory is that English Ticktack is a holdover of a very 
*early* French version of Trictrac. But that's pretty speculative, based 
on little but my intuition. If there are really early descriptions of 
Trictrac in French, even sketchy ones, I'd be very curious to hear what 
they have to say...

> [Vying additional stakes]
> This would drive modern backgammon players crazy!

Interesting. I guess I can see that, although as a relatively novice 
backgammon player I hadn't thought about it. Statistics was still a 
fairly new science at that point (consider that Cardano was one of its 
inventors), so I suspect that most players weren't taking such a 
scientific view of the problem yet. Simply adding stakes one at a time 
is more reasonable when you're not analyzing it too deeply...

> Cotton could have taken some cues on how to write clearly from Willughby, that's for sure.

Oh, yes. You don't want to see what my *first* reconstruction of 
Ticktack, based on Cotton, looked like. Willoughby is head and shoulders 
clearer in pretty much every instance...

				-- Justin





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