rss_2.0Board Game Studies Journal FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Board Game Studies Journal Game Studies Journal Feed Ludemes in Modern Board Games: Analyzing the Top Number One Games of Board Game Geek<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The first profound ludemic studies are being done at the moment. Some projects are exploring the ludemic approach in video games and historic games. However, contemporary games known as modern board games are still underexplored. In this paper, the number one games, according to Board Game Geek since 2000, are analyzed according to a systemic approach. The authors propose exploring the game system and other dimensions of each game in order to find design patterns that help support a ludemic approach. By addressing ludemes, the authors seek to contribute to understanding the success of modern board games in an age of video game domination. </p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Roman and Late Antique ‘Marbles Lanes’: One Game or Many?<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Characterised by the presence of multiple depressions or pockets in a variety of arrangements, and, in some cases, the presence of a single, double, or triple ‘start line’ carved into horizontal stone surfaces, marble lanes in their variety of forms open a window onto ancient play that few have looked through. Thought to be a playing surface for some kind of throwing or rolling game which involved the use of glass or ceramic spheres, Roman marble lanes have received comparatively little attention in the recent upswing of scholarship on ancient play, partially as a result of the relative dearth of textual and iconographic sources discussing or depicting their usage, but these playing surfaces nevertheless represent a major corpus of ludic material. This contribution summarises past work on marble lanes before exploring the limited textual and iconographic source material related to playing with marbles. It offers a tentative new typology by which to categorise marble lanes and a non-exhaustive list of these playing surfaces recorded at archaeological sites around the Mediterranean. It then moves onto a discussion of the game/games that may be played on these boards, arguing that the wide variations in the different layouts for marble lanes may indicate that they were used not for one tightly-defined game, but more likely facilitated the playing of a loosely connected family of games, with implicaitons for how we think about communities of play in the past. </p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue analysis of the Royal Game of Ur<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Despite many discoveries and proposals for rules for the ancient board game known as the Royal Game of Ur (RGU), no mathematical analysis has yet been performed investigating those rules. In an attempt to fill that gap, this paper presents an initial mathematical analysis of the RGU from an introductory point of view. The paper deduces the overall complexity of the RGU using a state-space and game-tree complexity analysis, allowing the RGU to be compared to the popular games Checkers, Backgammon, Ludo, Chess, and Go. The paper builds upon the fundamental laws of combinatorics and probability to improve the understanding of the game: what patterns should you expect, what moves increase your chance to win, and what moves should you avoid. The paper also presents theorems to predict the probability of future dice rolls and piece movements within the game, allowing basic inferences to be made about strategy in the RGU. The game is further examined by analysing three different influences when determining the best move: advancement and attack (beneficial to the player), and captures (detrimental to the player). These influences are used to deduce explicit equations for the advantage gained by playing each possible move from a position, which allows the formalization of a strategic algorithm to play the RGU.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue The Clergy Game<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Ludus Regularis is a board game with dice, from the 10th century, which came to our knowledge through literary sources. The rules of the game were kept by the historian Balderic, in the 11th century, in a book edited in 1615 by Colvener: Chronicon Cameracense et Atrebatense, and reedited in 1834 by André Le Glay, in Paris: Chronique d’Arras et de Cambrai. </p> <p>By studying the probabilities involved in the dynamics of the game Ludus Regularis, it is possible to advance that the author’s concerns were mainly centred on presenting a game that followed Catholic doctrine. </p> <p>Ludus Regularis is a carefully conceived game, using dice commonly inaccessible to members of the clergy, in a context of deep Christian religious symbolism. </p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Names for Merels<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Merels (also called Nine Men‘s Morris) comprises a family of traditional board games with ancient roots. Between medieval and modern times, merels saw an interesting onomasiological shift: Several European languages took up a new name for the game. This new name is sometimes claimed to have originated in German, but the details surrounding this naming practice are still unclear. There are mainly two German groups of names for this game, the older names based on the number 9 <italic>(Neunstein, Neunten Stein, Neunermal</italic> etc.) and the younger based on the German word for “mill” <italic>(Mühle, Mühlspiel, Mühleziehen </italic>etc.). Relying on philological evidence (partly pulled from lexicographical data) this paper outlines the evolution of German terms for merels, focusing on the naming practices from the 15th to 17th century. Possible motivations of the name <italic>Mühle</italic> are discussed. </p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Chess (Raazuvaa)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Traditional Maldivian chess rules are presented and their similarity to pre-19th century Turkish chess is discussed, with musings on the potential role of Ottomans in spreading the “new game” invented in Europe – but played in their own manner – throughout the Muslim world and beyond. </p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrueälchenkreise in Xanthos of Character: The Role of Board, Dice & Card Games in Popular Cinema<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper adopts a cultural biography perspective in examining some of the different ways board games are portrayed in the movies. It outlines the evidence base presented in appendices 1 and 2 and running to some 300 films. It identifies some of the shared linkages between board games, digital games and films and explores in more detail the role of dice, the way games shape and define character, place and time and how games help to define the past and the future.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Large Chess Variants from India and Germany: a note on their rules<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper deals with three historical large chess variants, Hyderabad Decimal Chess from late 18th century India and the 19th century German games Kaiserspiel (or Emperor's Game, played on a 10×10 board) and Sultanspiel (Sultan's game, 11×11), and their treatment in the literature. For each game, a set of rules is suggested and discussed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to Play Board Games? A Framework Proposal for Classroom Settings<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Board games have been mainly used in school in order to develop students’ cognitive skills such as recognizing oneself intellectual potential, developing different and original strategies in confronting problems, developing quick thinking and decision-making skills, and using reasoning and logic correctly and effectively. However, detailed guidance about how the teacher could manage the game-playing process and about how it will play a role in helping students achieve the targeted skills has not been provided in the studies on games, the curriculum, or the game guides. In this study, a framework for the teacher in managing the process of playing board games is proposed. This framework is based on the Theory of Didactical Situations and has been developed in the context of strategic board games that are mostly played against an opponent on a board and do not involve luck. Pentago was used to illustrate the proposed framework. At the end of the study, the use of this framework for other board games is also discussed.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue did the Games Go? Inquiry of Board Games in Medieval Marathi Literature in India<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>India has a very prominent traditional board game culture, which is evident through numerous game boards and game pieces that are surviving. The spectrum of game board variations documented displays its association with the rich culture of crafts in India. Apart from these sets, there are ample examples of game board graffiti's present in various public spaces, temples being one of the most prominent of them. Many scholars, just to name a few, I. Finkel, R.K Bhattacharya, and L.K. Soni (published in 2011); <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_054">Vasantha (2003)</xref>; <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_024">Fritz and Gibson (2007)</xref>; <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_042">Rogersdotter (2015)</xref>, have documented and/or commented on these appearances of game boards in spaces. Most of these documentations are from the region of Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. There are game board surveys from the states of Punjab (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_026">Gupta, 1926</xref>), Gujarat (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_050">Soni and Bagchi, 2011</xref>), Marwad (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_043">Samanta, 2011</xref>), Haryana (<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="j_bgs-2022-0019_ref_047">Sinha and Bishwas, 2011</xref>). Nevertheless, for some reason, there is very little work on board games in the state of Maharashtra. Though the literary documentation of sedentary games of Maharashtra is found in a book by ‘Anant Babaji Deodhar’ named ‘Marāṭhī Khēḷān̄cē Pustaka’ published in 1905; which mainly is anthropological documentation. It does not touch upon the references of this game information.</p> <p>Sāripata (chausar), pat Songtyā (asta chima) existed in the Marathi household until the earlier generation (Pre WWII) in form of cloth boards and wooden pieces. However, it does not show its appearance as game board graffiti's in spaces in the post-Yadav period (14th century). Few games like mancala, Indian hunt games do show their presence in graffitis but seldom in literature. Literary pieces of evidence of regional literature remain untraced. No specific research has happened in literature in this era in the context to board games and thus the paper tries to throw light on evidence of board game mentions in medieval Marathi language literature. During the same time, the game board graffiti's shows its existence in Karnataka, Rajasthan until the 17th century. So what happened to the board game culture in Maharashtra? Where did the games go? Did it acquire a different form?</p> <p>The paper tries to inquire about the presence/absence of board games in the 13th - 17th century Marathi literature and architecture.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Board or Abacus? Greek Counter Culture Revisited<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>A late 5th century BC funerary altar from the necropolis of Krannon (Central Greece) depicts a bearded man and a boy on either side of a board with five lines carved on a block. The fact that the man is seated and the horizontal position of the board reveal important information about Greek education and the history of Greek numeracy. This paper analyses the iconography of the relief, the link between the <italic>Five Lines</italic> game (<italic>Pente grammai</italic>) and abaci, examines the possible identification of the man as a “pebble arithmetician”, of the boy as a student, and suggests a new reconstruction of the reckoning system operated on an abacus composed of five horizontal lines. A special practical function is proposed for the half-circle at one end of the abacus. This five lines pattern and the related material, especially counters, are considered from a wider perspective, a system of cultural practices associated with boards and counters throughout the Greek world.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue « Triple Enceinte » Et L’inscription Funéraire De À Milan<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The funerary slab of <italic>Agate</italic>, daughter of an Ostrogoth <italic>comes</italic>, dated to 512 AD, shows a hitherto unnoticed <italic>tabula lusoria</italic> or symbolic representation in the blank space below the inscription. The pattern, used for the game of Nine men’s morris, is accurately incised, and not hastily scratched, in a central and visible position. Interesting questions arise: is the pattern a game board? Is it precedent, coeval or posterior to the funerary inscription? How could the presence of the design be explained in such a context? Could the Nine men’s morris pattern have had a symbolic overtone, or is it just connected to a secondary utilization of the slab? These questions will be evaluated mainly through the reconstruction of the conservation history of the slab.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Plays Polis<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>At <italic>Republic</italic> 422e1-423a2, while discussing Callipolis and its ability to wage war, Socrates makes a punning reference to the ancient boardgame <italic>polis</italic>. In this contest, two opponents deployed sets of identical <italic>pessoi</italic> (counters) to surround and capture the enemy’s forces. Socrates’ allusion is not simply amusing; it is well-suited to the dialogue’s philosophical content and historical context. With regard to philosophy, Callipolis’ guardians resemble the <italic>pessoi</italic>. Their training makes them equal and interchangeable, while their personal interests are subordinated to those of the group to discourage dissent (<italic>stasis</italic>) and promote unity. Elsewhere in the Platonic corpus, learning to play <italic>polis</italic> is mentioned as part of a philosophical education. In the hands of a skilled practitioner like Socrates, dialectic is like playing <italic>polis</italic>. With regard to history, the <italic>Republic</italic>’s main interlocutors (Socrates, Adeimantus, Glaucon) were soldiers known for their bravery. Moreover, its readers remembered the rule of the Thirty Tyrants and its aftermath. Indeed, the dialogue’s arguments about the just city and regime change are framed by an allusion to the movements of Thrasybulus and Critias and their respective troops around the game board of Attica. At Athens, <italic>polis</italic> was played for high stakes, namely the polis itself.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue An Extraordinary Cone Shell Group from Mycenae and the Problem of Identifying Mycenaean Board Gaming Material<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In 1974 in Room Θ3 of House Θ in the Southwest Quarter of the Mycenae citadel, an extraordinary find came to light: 545 <italic>conus mediterraneus ventricosus</italic> shells were found together with 12 small objects in a crevice of the bedrock. 353 cones were intentionally pierced and ground, and 9 of them were filled with lead. This assemblage includes the largest collection of cone shells known from the Late Bronze Age Aegean, and it is now possible to attempt an interpretation of its use, after the publication of the Southwest Quarter excavation. The find is examined in detail, in comparison to other large cone shell groups from Mycenaean contexts. The facts suggest that the Θ3 assemblage artefacts could have been markers for a kind of game, for which games of strategy, skill and chance known in the Eastern Mediterranean, are suggested as possible candidates. Under this hypothesis, context finds from the Room Θ3 deposit are also examined. This study highlights the difficulty in identifying the material remains of board games, as well as the need to include the game – being a basic human activity- in the potential interpretations of archaeological records from the Mycenaean period.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Knucklebone and the Goose: Playing and Jeopardy for the Boy of Lilaia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>A particularly beautiful marble statue of a boy, a dedication unearthed in Lilaia, Phokis, and on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, is an opportunity for us to explore the connection between the boys’ games and the jeopardy in their outcome. Both the expression on the boy’s face and the way he holds an astragal and a goose demand multiple levels of reading. These are related to the intent of the dedication in the first place, the identification of the games requiring an astragal or involving a goose, as well as to the choice of these specific playthings for the particular imagery. Why is he holding a single astragal, and in such a particular way? Why is the goose included in the picture, and what species of <italic>Anatidae</italic> is this? The apparent originality of the motif and of the work, in comparison with other well-known Hellenistic representations in stone or terracotta, dictated our research into the milieu of artistic and symbolic quests of that period, and also a reflection on the choice of the artist to designate a child as the owner of the playthings within a particular spatial and temporal context, perhaps associated with healing frοm a life-threatening fever.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue, Gaming Pieces, Toys or Offerings? Thoughts on Animal Figurines and Funerary Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The assemblage of four cones (ivory, stone) and an astragalus marked with dots from Katsambas in Crete is so far the best evidence of gaming pieces uncovered in an Aegean tomb of the Late Bronze Age. A small faience animal associated with the same burial, that of a child, attracted however little attention, and raises the question whether it may be added as a possible game piece to this set. Although this holed piece was certainly used as a personal ornament or amulet, this paper gives the opportunity to review the functions of small faience, stone and ivory animal figurines in the Aegean, especially the couchant ones. It also introduces the notion of chance and fate linked to playing on the basis of cross-cultural comparisons in the Eastern Mediterranean. Additionally, the hypothesis that small standing terracotta quadrupeds may have initially served as toys before having functioned as votive or funerary offerings in Aegean cult places and tombs is further explored. Special interest is shown on Mycenaean funerary assemblages from Prosymna in the Argolid and Perati in Attica featuring small terracotta animals and cone shells, inasmuch as these objects may be seen as potential toys and gaming pieces.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Dice for Divination, Gambling and Homeromanteia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Everyday tools such as dice and knucklebones are associated with gambling and divinatory books founded upon the use of Homeric epics. Papyrological documents about this practice date back to Roman Imperial times. Verses drawn from <italic>Iliad</italic> and <italic>Odyssey</italic> were currently assigned to a divinely inspired wisdom. The preface to <italic>Homeromanteia</italic> shows a link with religious and divinatory ideas current at that time (hilastic invocations, hemeromancy, cledonism).</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Games in Ancient Fiction: Egypt, Iran, Greece<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Board games are often used as a plot motif in modern genre fiction, especially in detective and adventure stories. In these types of narrative, a well-known pattern of storytelling or literary structure (e.g., the treasure hunt, the detection of serial crimes, the iniatory course, or the medieval tale collection) is reworked and adapted to the rules and phases of a board game such as chess, <italic>jeu de l’oie</italic>, or the tarot card pack. This literary practice is very ancient and may be traced back to a number of novelistic compositions of the ancient Near East, dating from the 1st millennium BC to late antiquity. In the Demotic Egyptian <italic>Tale of Setne Khaemwaset</italic>, from the Saite period, the protagonist Setne plays a board game (probably <italic>senet</italic>) with the mummy of a long dead and buried magician, in order to gain a powerful book of spells. The widespread Near-Eastern story-pattern of the magical competition is here superimposed on the procedure of a celebrated Egyptian game. In a late Hellenistic Greek novella inspired by the <italic>Odyssey</italic> (Apion of Alexandria, <italic>FGrH</italic> 616 F36) Penelope’s suitors play an elaborate game of marbles (<italic>petteia</italic>) in order to determine which one of them will marry the queen. This is a playful rewriting of the famous bow contest of the Homeric epic. A Sasanian novelistic work, the <italic>Wizārišn ī čatrang</italic>, adapts the age-old legend of the riddle contest of kings; the riddles are replaced with board games (chess and backgammon), which the opponents invent and propose to each other as difficult puzzles for solution. In all these texts the board game becomes a central symbol of the transformative and innovative power of literary narrative.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Playful ? A New Look at the Terracotta Group of the Early Roman Board-Game Players NAM 4200 and Related Finds<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper aims to offer a new look on the published early Roman terracotta group of the National Archaeological Museum inv. no. 4200, which is comprised of a male and female couple of board-game players in the company of a dwarf, by reanalysing its figures, board-game type and presenting some of its hitherto unknown details in the form of impressed images made by the coroplast on the back of the two player figures. These impressed images, if intentional, meaningful and not random, together with parallel finds, are examined in the light of information they can offer regarding the board-game type represented in the terracotta group, the possible winner of the game or gaming attitudes related to the gestures of the figures. An overview of relevant Roman and earlier literary sources and comparisons with related finds are included. Instances of ceramic, terracotta, metal or other finds with -random or intentional- impressed signs and symbols made in coroplastic or pottery workshops, as well as examples of post-manufacture graffiti by a possible user are presented and investigated, leading to possible interpretations of ludic concepts represented by the figural synthesis of the terracotta group NAM 4200.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue