Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rules for Nine Man Morris

By THLaird Colyne Stewart, Head of the Games Guild of Ealdormere

There are two players, white and black. The white player plays first. There are 9 pieces per player.

To begin, the players take turns placing pieces on empty spaces. If they should get three pieces in a straight line (not around a corner), they may remove one of their opponent’s pieces of their choice. Note that any piece currently part of a line cannot be removed.

Once all pieces have been placed, the white player must move a piece to an adjacent empty space. If this completes a line of three of their pieces, they may remove one of their opponent’s pieces of their choice. Note that any piece currently part of a line cannot be removed.

When a player has been reduced to three pieces, they can ‘fly’, meaning they can move a piece to any empty space whether it was adjacent to their starting space or not.

Play continues until one player has been reduced to only two pieces. The other player wins. The game is also over if one of the players cannot make a move, in which case the other player wins.

You can practice online here: http://www.smartlittlegames.com/ninemensmorris

[Board image from Wikipedia.]

Monday, March 31, 2014

Royal Game Tourneys for the Upcoming Reign of Siegfried and Ragni

In the Kingdom of Ealdormere's upcoming reign of Siegfried and Ragni, there will be a series of Royal Game Tourneys held. At (hopefully) each event, a member of the Games Guild of Ealdormere will host a tourney featuring a different game. Each person playing will receive a point, with the top three players scoring eight, five or three points (depending on where they place). The top player will also receive a prize (a copy of the game featured that day). At the end of the reign, the gentle with the most points over all will win a box crammed full of gaming supplies.

Current Schedule

April 26, Spring Coronation, Nine-Man’s-Morris, Between courts

May 16-19, Fruit of Our Labours, Dicing (In and Inn, 31, 3 throws), time TBA

May 24, Spring Crown Tournament, Alquerques, Between the end of Crown and evening court, time permitting

June 7, Pikeman’s Pleasure, Chess, Between courts

June 27-July 1 War of the Trillium, Bowles, Likely Friday afternoon
                                                     Glic, time TBA

Aug 29-Sep 1, Baron’s Howe, Tafl (Tablut version), time TBA

Sep 6, Feast of the Bear, Primero, time TBA

Open Spots on the Schedule:

I am still looking for someone willing to host a tourney at the following events. If interested, please PM me.

June 12-15       Murder Melee

June 21-22       Summer Siege

July 11 -13       The Baron’s Brouhaha

Scoring for the Royal Game Tourneys for the upcoming Reign of Siegfried and Ragni

The person who comes in first in any tourney, will score EIGHT points.
The person who comes in second will score FIVE points.
The person who comes in third will score THREE points.
Everyone else who participates will score ONE point.

In cases of a tie, all tied players score the points.

At the end of the reign, the person who has scored the most points will win a chest full of games.

Prize Donations:

Lady Leisl Woolemonger
Master Gunther Wahlstadt of Bremen
THLaird Colyne Stewart

Further Donations:

Though these tourneys will only be taking place in Ealdormere, the Games Guild actually has members all over the Known Worlde, and I am most willing and able to accept prize donations from anywhere.

I am donating some of my own games to the cause, and will be making more, but some specific things I am still looking for include:

- period dice (made of wood, bone, antler, glass, etc)
- period looking playing cards
- a chess set

I am also looking for donations of games, game books, and playing pieces for the prize box to be awarded at the end of the reign.

Prizes can be mailed to me (PM me for the address) or, if you will be attending Pennsic, you can drop them off with THL Augustyn who can be found in the De Taahe camp (which will also be where Their Majesties Ealdormere will be camping).

If you do donate, please label your donations so proper credit will be given to your generosity.

With many thanks,

THLaird Colyne Stewart, Chancellor of Games for Siegfried and Ragni

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Games Galore

By THL Raffe Scholemaystre

Many games developed throughout period to entertain the gentles of the this time. Many of these games have been passed down to us nearly unchanged exfept for the name, while others have kept the name but have changed greatly over time.

Only some of the games that were played in period have been played throughout history. Games like Mancala, Marienbad (or Nim), the Morris variations and Tables (now generally called Backgammon) have existed in one form or another back to ancient Egypt and Mesoptamia and some back to pre-history. Dice have been found dating back to at least 900 BCE. Mancala and Morris and Marienbad seem to have been common in many cultures around the world.

Other games were developed in one area and spread elsewhere. The classic example is that of Chess. It was developed probably in India and was common in the Arabic world by the time of the Crusades under the name Shatranj. It was introduced into Europe and developed slowly into Renaissance Chess fairly similar to modern Chess.

Tables or Backgammon was popular in Roman times, faded and then was reintroduced again through Islamic culture. Backgammon started with many variations and eventually Nard would become the version most play today.

The development of the playing card, around 1371, changed games forever. Dice became less important as cards gained popularity, One of the earliest card games, Thirty-One, was an adaptation of a dice game of the same name. Many late Medieval card games survive today, but under new names. Vieux Garcon became Old Maid, Andare a Piscere is Go Fish, and Noddy is a precursor to Cribbage, which was developed in the 1630’s.

However the games of Bridge, Poker, Rummy, Solitaire, Black Jack, Euchre, Dominoes and Chinese Checkers were developed after 1700 and many late in the 19th Century. While some games like Parcheesi did not reach Europe until the late 17th Century.

In the accompanying chart, I have attempted to layout what games were developed or introduced into what region and when. If a game was played in an earlier period, one can generally assume that the game was known later.       Since many rules varied by gepgraphy and over time, it is very important that the players opf a game agree on the rules you will be using before you begin play. For the exact rules for the games noted here please consult the texts listed below.

Smith, P.J., “Period Pastimes”, The Complete Anachronist #71, SCA Inc, Jan 1994

Schovanek, J., ed. “Indoor Games”, The Complete Anachronist #2, SCA Inc., Jan. 1983

Salamallah, Medieval Games, Raymond’s Quiet Press, Albuerque, NM, 1982.

Bell, R.C., Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations (Revised Edition), Dover Publications Inc., 1979

Norman on the Hill

By Lord Brian Goodheart

General type: Physical, Wrestling

Adult Involvement: Supervisory as a minimum. Direct involvement optional.

Props: A high spot. Even a one meter (three feet) rise is enough.

Premise: Variation on the “King of the Hill” games we have all played as children.

Number of Children: Three to ten.

The Norman King sits down on top of the “hill”. A small mound just one meter in height will do.  In outdoor events there are often sloped areas on the sides of buildings or on the edge of clearings. Do take care to avoid excessive drops.

The Norman King is required to always remain sitting. He can’t stand up. Even if yanked up by the others he needs to get his behind onto the ground. He can waddle around on the ground so long as he keeps down on the ground. In fact because the King is limited to sitting you don’t need a very tall hill to play on. The Saxon peasants are in a revolt and are trying to pull down the King. The Saxons can stand up. It takes a strong King to keep the rebellion under control. If the Saxons can pull the Norman King down to the bottom they have won the round.

Whatever Saxon player does the most to get the King down (like actually pulling him down single handily) gets something wonderful! He is promoted to being a Norman King! The new King goes to the top of the rise and sits down. The previous King is now among the Saxons and the rebellion starts up again.

In playing with lots of kids you will want to set up a game balance. Six kids pulling on one King will always pull him down. So to keep it fun if the Saxons are winning easily then the King gets to add “Guards”.  The job of a Guard is to protect the King. The Guards are allowed to stand. They can wrestle the Saxons as much as the want. Usually you only have one or two Guards so the Guard needs to keep running back to the King to get yet another Saxon off.

Play time is quite long. The kids can really get into this one. It can be done with adult involvement or just supervising. Being a rougher game it appeals mostly to boys. It does a wonderful job of using up their energy and it teaches about medieval politics too!

One further safety note for adults or larger children. When being wrestled by others try to watch out for how you may land. If you might fall onto someone if you resist it is a better practice to let yourself loose so that you can move around the possible “impact” point.

Hunter's Cloak

By Lord Brian Goodheart

General type: Physical, Chasing

Adult Involvement: Supervisory as a minimum. Direct involvement optional.

Props: One or more of cloak, blanket, tabard or other large spare clothing.

Premise:  The children chase each other tossing the clothing to catch each other.

Number of Children: Two to many.

One group of players start off as being Animals. The kids may enjoy making various animal sounds as they play. The other group are Hunters. The Hunters toss the cloak (or clothing) to catch the animal. When a hunter catches an animal they both change sides. The new hunter uses the cloak used to catch them.

All the children will get to take turns chasing and being chased. A large outdoor play area works best.

A very important rule to get across is that the clothing is tossed. Wrestling to get the clothing on is not allowed. That tends to get into very forceful play in which someone could get hurt. The proper toss for the clothing has it completely out of the Hunter’s hands by the time it touches the Animal. Only light contact by the clothing is required to count as a success catch.

While adults can certainly join in the game it is important for the adults to watch how the catching is being done. It is possible for the adult involved to take a breather from being an active participant and just watch that safe play is being adhered to.

In this game no one is to be tied up in the cloak. Doing this would also require breaking the “let go” rule.


By Lord Brian Goodheart

General type: Physical, Boffer fighting and chasing

Adult Involvement: Heavy involvement including a lot of running

Props: A cloak or blanket and a few boffer weapons.

Premise:  The adult uses the cloak to fend off attacks by the children.

Number of Children: Two to five.

Give out boffer weapons to the kids. Adult gets the cloak/blanket to use.  The children try to kill the adult with their boffer weapons.  If they score a good hit (or a few simple ones) the adult should act out a death. Then the game restarts so play can continue.

The adult in turn is using the cloak as a net. When the cloak is being used while being held onto, I recommending restricting the cloak fighting role to adults. Below are a few basic ways to use the cloak.

To trip the children, hold onto one end and snap the other out skimming the top of the grass. This will catch the children at their ankles or knees.  They will likely slowly fall down onto their knees with time to put their hands up.  If you do catch a child do not tug on the cloak as you could turn the slow fall into something fast and painful.

You can also hold the cloak out much like a bull fighter does. This gives you something to block or catch the boffer weapons with.  If you get a boffer weapon you can fight with it yourself. The children will have more fun if you drop it after a few moments. Of course the dropped weapon acts like bait to draw the children to where you can catch them.

If you act quickly you could also toss the cloak over a child’s head to catch them in the net. A good toss will flutter the cloak out. You can wrestle the child to the ground. When catching a child in the cloak it is recommended to let go of the cloak.  This reduces the chance of a strong impact or an accidental pull that could topple the child.

One more way to use the cloak is to chase after the children. You can toss the cloak over them, much like in Hunter’s Cloak, to catch a child. Again be sure to let go of the cloak when catching a child in it.

Anyone caught in the cloak is to be released after a few seconds. Likewise if the children “kill” the adult they also return to play in a few moments.

Cloak and Drag

By Lord Brian Goodheart

General type: Physical, Chasing

Adult Involvement: Physically intense

Props: A strong cloak.

Premise:  The children chase your cloak and try to hold on.

Number of Children: Two to four, smaller children only.

This game is suitable for entertaining up to three or four *small* children. The limitation on child size will quickly become obvious. The adult involved will also get quite a workout.

Take a cloak and put it on the adult. Make sure it is a strong and sturdy cloak. If a cloak pin is involved make sure to turn it over in the cloak material a couple times. To avoid accidental stabbings of anyone involved.

A “White Knuckle Death Grip” on the cloak closure, whether by pin or hand, is highly encouraged. Okay now for the game. The Children try to grab and hold onto the cloak. The fun comes from the adult dodging, weaving and dragging the cloak around. With a simple twist the cloak is sent spreading out over a wide arc giving the kids something to chase over a long distance. By doing such cloak swirls the adult will use a lot less energy then the kids. The adult can also walk or jog making the small children run at their top speed to catch up. You can tease the children by turning around just as they are about to catch up. This spins the cloak and you can pass it right over their heads.

It can also happen that a child could sit down on the cloak. Often you can actually pull the child along on the ground. A sudden tug or arcing turn though will usually get the cloak free.

If the children do get a solid grip don’t use a forceful pull. Instead either lower yourself to the ground letting the kids pile up on you in victory then restart. Or you can spin yourself and the cloak. Be careful to watch the balance the children have.

Playing (and inventing) this at Murder Melee in the Meadow I found that I could safely manage about three to four children on the cloak at once. More than that and it became difficult to avoid collisions or overloading the cloak.