hist-games: What's the one game (or maybe two or three) you would include?

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Sun Jun 7 15:10:42 PDT 2009

David Parish-Whittaker wrote:
> Rather than repeat the rules and strategies for games that existed in 
> the period and today, why not just mention the differences?

Yes, that's what I meant. (I think I was a little unclear.) This seems 
to make sense for Chess, Tables, maybe Cribbage -- do folks have 
suggestions for other games that either were period or have period 
forebears close enough that they can be described as, "like the modern 
game except..."?

(I should probably also mention Go, for those of an Asian persuasion -- 
it requires little description aside from, "The game is Very Very Old.")

> A few simple dice games (like those in Alphonso X's collection) would be 
> great--  personal experience has been that those are more popular than 
> cards.  But definitely put in a card game or two.  I vote for tarocchi:  
> the rules are easy enough, the decks are pretty (and fairly ubiquitous), 
> and it was popular pretty much everywhere aside from England.  Toss in 
> thirty and one and call it a day.

I'm still of mixed minds about Tarocchi, just because it's not simple to 
find a *good* deck for it. It can be done, but most of the modern Tarot 
decks you find in bookstores are ridiculously hard to read. OTOH, it is 
popular and easy to teach, especially in my slightly-simplified French 

Interesting that you've found the dice games to be popular -- I haven't, 
but I haven't pushed them especially hard. I think In and Inn and 
Gluckhaus are the only ones played at all frequently in this neck of the 
woods. I'd be interested in which dice games from Alphonso you've found 
to be popular. (Both for this article, and just generally for teaching.)

And I hadn't thought about One and Thirty, but it's well worth 
considering: it's pretty quick to teach, especially for people who 
already know Blackjack. (Laugh and Lie Down is the really popular card 
game locally, but that can be a bear to describe clearly in print.)

> Finally, definitely mention physical games, but again, stick to the ones 
> with easy to describe rules.  Bowls is a good evening game, and everyone 
> loves football with a nice leather ball.

Yeah, I was specifically thinking about bowls as a good candidate: Bocce 
has become fashionable, so sets in that style are very easy to obtain 
nowadays. (Although non-spherical balls for English-style Bowls are 
still pretty hard to find.)

				-- Justin

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