16 soldiers, Peralikatuma, Cows and leopards and Kotu ellima – cousins of Halatafl and Draughts

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.

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Camelot – you can charge in this game

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.

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Ringo – playing round and round

I have already complained that majority of board games have simple boards, just straight lines or squares. Games with circular boards (like spiders and flies) are less common, and there are not many games with boards designed on more complicated shapes (like vsadniki).

Today I want to show you a strategy game that makes perfect use from a round board. It’s Ringo

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Fortresslike games – more Halatafl variants

I already wrote on Halatafl game and its variants such as Freys-tafl. Generally, these are “fox games”, where one player plays with the “fox”, and another player plays with “geese”. Aim of the game is different for each player.

In some Halatafl variants there is only one “fox”, and the aim of the game is to kill the Geese (for Fox) or to block Fox (for Geese). Today I want to show you three slightly different variants in which there are two Foxes, and players fight for a territory.

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Wsadniki - plansza i piony

Vsadniki means Riders

Most board games have fairly simple boards. Usually with square fields arranged in simple shape or a set of intersecting lines. Rarely boards have circular shape or fields arranged in interesting pattern.

There are of course a few games that have fancy boards. I already described Russian game Spider and flies, which is an interesting example. Now I’m going to describe another Russian game with fantastic board – Vsadniki.

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Halatafl or “fox and geese”

Halatafl is a very old board game known probably in XIV century. You can meet various theories about its origin. Some says it’s a game from Iceland, others call it the “game of the Vikings”. It is mentioned in Grettis saga, one of the Icelanders’ sagas detailing the life of Grettir Ásmundarson. Game was popular not only in Scandinavia, but also in the UK. What’s interesting, in Asia you can meet similar games.

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