hist-games: Magyar Games and Tibetan Mig Mang

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Mon Mar 3 08:14:59 PST 2008

Britt wrote:
> There's a lot of speculation in there. When I was first researching
> medieval games I had my hands on that SCA publication 'Medieval Games'
> and it looked good but the amount of things presented without any
> leads back to any other sources proved a point at which I could not
> suspend my disbelief. I own the Complete Anachronist which reprinted
> much of the games information and it's even less attributed.

Well, it's hard to be *less* attributed than Medieval Games, which is 
nearly devoid of sources or notes. That's always been my main complaint 
about the book.

That said, I do still tend to recommend it with qualifications -- 
despite its flaws, it's one of the most useful sources on the subject 
for the beginner. I think of it very much as I do most Victorian 
scholarship, and for the same reasons. It's a bit undisciplined, and 
distressing in the lack of sources, but the author is *very* well-read, 
and I have repeatedly stumbled across the sources for games that I was 
questioning, when I got my hands on sources like Hyde or the Alfonso MS. 
You can't assume that everything in there is true, but it's better than 
it's sometimes given credit for.

So like much early SCA scholarship, it needs to be taken with a grain of 
salt: it's a little too credulous, and should not be treated as more 
than a useful primer. But it *is* a useful primer -- still the best one 
out there, and by far the broadest -- and worth recommending as a 
starting place, with the caveat that it shouldn't be taken as gospel. 
And that's essentially true of any source, even the period ones.

And do keep in mind that cooking research has its share of terrible 
sources: we keep a copy of Cosman on hand mainly as a cautionary tale, 
and there are even more bad cooking sources out there than bad game 
sources. There's nothing unusual about any of this -- period games are 
simply a bit earlier on the scholarship curve than period cooking is...

				-- Justin

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