Many people know Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) as a father of modern taxonomy who classified many species. What many people don’t know is that Carl Linnaeus helped to keep a piece of knowledge about a fascinating game of Tablut.
Imagine that games are treasures of different nations, countries, and continents. India had brought Chess and many other games to the world. Go and Mahjong may be seen as the great wealth of China. Europe has developed Checkers and Chess in its modern, western form. And what Africa gave to the world? Mancala of course! A real jewel of Africa. Extremely beautiful. Raw and sophisticated at the same time.
In my previous posts on draughts variants I described diagonal draughts, orthogonal draughts, draughts on enlarged boards and “twisted” draughts. But still I’m far from describing all checkers variants. The next chapter of this story is a game of Towers (called Bashni) and modern game called Laska.
I’ve already described Camelot – game excellent in many respects. However story of Camelot does not end here. This game has many variants, with boards of different sizes and with varied number of pieces. And there are Camelot variants for 4 players, more strategic than tactic! Let me introduce you to this games.
There are games that seem to have been created for a world fame, but they have never become popular. One of them is a game of Castle. Its rules are relatively simple, but its strategic complexity can be seen from the start. What’s more, the game takes place on a huge board with 361 fields, but players have to be smart in using relatively few pieces.
Is there really any timeless game? Some people say chess or checkers are timeless, but these games are not as old as they seem. Others talk about “timeless” computer games like Pac-Man or timeless tabletop games like Monopoly. But they are are still young. In my opinion there is one special game that deserves to be called “timeless”. It is Nine Men’s Morris also known as Mill. It is still popular, it can surprise next generations of players and many people have no idea how old this game really is!
I already described 16 draughts games – 7 types of diagonal draughts, 3 variants of orthogonal draughts and 6 variants of draughts on increased boards. But I’m, still far from describing all variant of draughts. Even if we take only the game on the 64-square board with international (brazilian) rules there is still a space to invent new variants. You can just change the initial setting of pieces, board orientation, moves direction or goal of the game. Below I describe several games with such twists.
I described many different types of draughts (checkers) stressing that draughts is not one game. It’s a family of games with common features! In compare to draughts Chess seem to be a single, complete and polished game. But… it only seems to be. In fact there are many chess games which grown in parallel with the so-called classical chess. Understanding the common characteristics of chess games will be easy if you look at the ancestor of these games – the Indian game of Chaturanga.
Recently I wrote that Chess and Checkers are two very different games with no common roots. Despite this, there were people who tried to merge this games and results were fascinating. One of those people was George Swinnerton Parker (1866-1952), who created a fantastic game of Camelot. It’s not popular today, but believe me – it’s an underestimated jewel of board games.
In my country (Poland) Chess is called a “royal game” while the Checkers are known as “Chess of proletariat”. Such terms clearly classify the first game as noble and worthwhile and the second as silly or worse. Many people think they sound like experts when they speak about the superiority of the Chess over the Checkers (Draughts). In fact, such people show only their ignorance. Chess is not harder than Checkers … and vice versa. In the case of non-trivial games, you should generally avoid speaking about a superiority of one game over another.