hist-games: Gala

Mats Winther mwi9 at swipnet.se
Sun Aug 6 23:00:15 PDT 2006

Den 2006-08-06 07:52:08 skrev Damian Walker <damian at snigfarp.karoo.co.uk>:

> Quoting Mats Winther's message of Yesterday:
>> Well, this game is something of a mystery. The problem is that it also has
>> aspects clearly reminiscent of the Hnefatafl family of games, and these would
>> have died out by the 1490:s.
> What makes you think that it is related to hnefatafl?  You mentioned a
> "holy square" that's restricted to the king -- something that Botermans
> and Parlett, my only sources for the game, don't mention.  I'm not sure
> that this alone demonstrates any relationship.
> But in any case, one shouldn't underestimate the staying power of
> hnefatafl.  It survived until 1587 in Wales and 1732 in Lapland.  There
> is no reason to imagine why these are the only places in which it
> survived after the invasion of chess.

Gala has the "holy" central square, as in Tablut (Hnefatafl), where no
other pieces than the king can enter. Like in Tablut, reaching absolute
squares with the king is enough for a win. It has no leaping pieces, unlike
chess and shatranj, which have both knight and alfil (elephant). Moreover,
Hnefatafl and Tablut boards also often have that fourfold partition, i.e.,
a cross. In Tablut and Hnefatafl certain squares modify the capturing
capability of the pieces. This is so also in Gala, but unknown in traditional
chess. The Gala game also derives from former Viking country.


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