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.
Among the games known India, there are many checkers-like games, that don’t resemble checkers at first glance. These games use interesting triangular or circular boards, and pieces move not through squares, but along the lines and their intersections. What’s more, one similar game was known to Native Americans who live rather far away from India. Pretwa, Gol skuish or Egara-guti are some examples of these games. You can learn their rules in a minute but you can play for hours.
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.
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.
When I wrote about Halatafl I mentioned that there are many similar games in different countries and on different continents, though played on different boards. It’s amazing how the same game concepts pop out in different cultures. Today I describe few games known in India that are clearly relatives of Halatafl, but also Alquerque (ancestor of draughts). Interestingly all of these games use the same board.
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.
German word “belagerung” means “siege” and this is also a name of a quite interesting “war game” from 19th century. To be precise, this game is interesting variant of Halatafl, very old game mentioned few times on this blog.