rss_2.0Board Game Studies Journal FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Board Game Studies Journal Game Studies Journal 's Cover Crux of the Cruciform: Retracing the Early History of Chaupar and Pachisi the Diffusion of<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Senet—perhaps the most famous of all the games of antiquity—has captured the imagination of scholars and lay people alike. Recognized as a game played by the Egyptians since the beginnings of archaeological research, and one of the first ancient games to be recognized outside of Greek and Roman texts, it has been one of the most discussed games of antiquity both in academia and in popular media. Nevertheless, understanding of this game remains incomplete. New evidence and more nuanced interpretations of old evidence continues to expand on our knowledge of senet. This paper seeks to correct some of the misconceptions about the game, which often seek to trace the development of later board games to senet. Furthermore, it aspires to encourage scholars from all disciplines who study games to critically reevaluate common conceptions of games relevant to their regions and time periods.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-27T00:00:00.000+00:00A Game on the Edge: An Attempt to Unravel the Gordian Knot of Games in the History of Mancala Games: Antiquity and Ubiquity<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Mancala games are commonly defined by the appearance of the boards and mode of moving the pieces. The similarities have led to the belief that most mancala games are historically related or that they may be identified by appearances alone. Their ubiquity in Africa and their occurrence as graffiti boards on ancient monuments has created speculation about their antiquity. To this date their ancient status cannot be confirmed by archaeological or historical evidence. Based on today’s understanding, mancala games are of distinct kinds with separate histories while their antiquity goes back hundreds of years but not yet thousands.</p> <p>Mancala games have been instrumental in showing that so-called complex societies and the presence of board games are not necessarily related. By extension, state formation and the development of board games should not be connected based on the evidence of contemporary mancala gaming practices.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-27T00:00:00.000+00:00Some Misconceptions About Ancient Roman Games Game of the Sphere or of the Universe — a Spiral Race Game from 17th century France<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Simple race games, played with dice and without choice of move, are known from antiquity. In the late 16th century, specific examples of this class of game emerged from Italy and spread rapidly into other countries of Europe. Pre-eminent was the Game of the Goose, which spawned thousands of variants over the succeeding centuries to the present day, including educational, polemical and promotional variants.<xref ref-type="fn" rid="j_bgs-2016-0001_fn_001_w2aab2b8b7b1b7b1ab1aaAa"><sup>1</sup></xref></p><p>The educational variants began as a French invention of the 17th century, the earliest of known date being a game to teach Geography, the Jeu du Monde by Pierre Duval, published in 1645. By the end of the century, games designed to teach several of the other accomplishments required of the noble cadet class had been developed: History, the Arts of War, and Heraldry being notable among them.</p><p>A remarkable example of a game within this class is the astronomical game, Le Jeu de la Sphere ou de l’Univers selon Tycho Brahe, published in 1661 by E(s)tienne Vouillemont in Paris. The present paper analyses this game in detail, showing how it combines four kinds of knowledge systems: natural philosophy, based on the Ptolemaic sphere; biblical knowledge; astrology, with planetary and zodiacal influences; and classical knowledge embodied in the names of the constellations. The game not only presents all four on an equal footing but also explores links between them, indicating some acceptance of an overall knowledge-system. Despite the title, there is no evidence of the Tychonian scheme for planetary motion, nor of any Copernican or Galilean influence.</p><p>This game is to be contrasted with medieval race games, based on numerology and symbolism, and with race games towards the end of the Early Modern period in which science is fully accepted.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Four-king chess with dice is neither unrealistic nor messed up<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p><italic>Kauṭilya</italic>’s <italic>maṇḍala</italic> model has intrigued indologists and political scientists for some time. It deals with friendship and enmity between countries that are direct or indirect neighbours. (Ghosh; 1936) suggests a close relationship between this model and Indian four-king chess. We try to corroborate his claim by presenting a stylized game-theory model of both Indian four-king chess and <italic>Kauṭilya</italic>’s <italic>maṇḍala</italic> theory. Within that game model, we can deal with <italic>Kauṭilya</italic>’s conjecture according to which an enemy’s enemy is likely to be one’s friend. Arguably, this conjecture is reflected in the ally structure of four-king chess. We also comment on the widespread disapproval of dice in (four-king) chess.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Board to Page to Board<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The ways new games typically develop might be viewed as a continuum ranging from very gradual “evolution” based on mutations introduced to a single progenitor during play or recall, to sudden “intelligent design” based on a purposeful and original combination — or even invention — of ludemes independent of any particular lines of transmission.</p><p>This paper argues that two proprietary 20th-century games, C.A. Neves’s Fang den Hut! and Lizzie Magie’s The Landlord’s Game, were developed in a different way, a bit outside the typical continuum. It analyzes the games’ general typologies, and specific ludemes, concluding that both games are modern adaptations of traditional Native American games encountered, not through play or even contact with players, but through the seminal ethnographic publications of Stewart Culin. Specifically, Fang den Hut! derives from Boolik via <italic>Games of the North American Indians</italic>, and The Landlord’s Game derives from Zohn Ahl via <italic>Chess and Playing-Cards</italic>.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Die Kenntnis des Dominospiels in Europa: Archäologie, Geschichte, Bibliographie<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Die Geschichte des Dominospiels in Europa ist bisher wissenschaftlich nicht bearbeitet worden. Die ältesten Nachweise stammen aus China. Frühe archäologische Funde aus Nordwesteuropa reichen bis an die Grenze des Mittelalters zurück, sind aber außerordentlich selten. Ein Import über den Seeweg aus China kommt aus chronologischen Gründen nicht mehr in Betracht. Etwa ab 1760 gibt es schriftliche Belege aus Frankreich und Deutschland. Während sich aber in Frankreich darin ein Interesse der Oberschichten an wettkampfmäßigem Spiel manifestiert, handeln die deutschen Belege zunächst von einem Kinder-spiel. Erst mit den militärischen Erfolgen Frankreichs um die Jahrhundertwende steigt die Reputation des Spiels in den europäischen Oberschichten. In dieser Zeit sind neben Spielsätzen aus Hartgeweben auch Kartenspielsätze geläufig. Der Name leitet sich vermutlich von dem französischen Wort für Buntpapierherstellung ab, unter dem auch die Kartenmacher zu subsumieren sind.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Measuring Drama in Goose-like Games<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>For games of complete information with no chance component, like Chess, Go, Hex, and Konane, some parameters have been identified that help us understand what makes a game pleasant to play. One of these goes by the name of <italic>drama</italic>.</p><p>Briefly, drama is linked to the possibility of recovering from a seemingly weaker position, if the player is strong enough. This is an important requirement to prevent initial advantages to be amplified into unavoidable and thus uninteresting victories. Drama is a feature that arguably good board games should have, since it is relevant in the perception of the play experience as pleasant.</p><p>Despite its intrinsic qualitative nature, we suggest the adaptation of the concept of drama to games of pure chance and propose a set of objective criteria to measure it. Some parameters are here used to compare Goose-like games, which we compute via computer simulation for some well-know games. A statistical analysis is performed based on the play of millions of matches done by computer simulation. The article discusses correlations and patterns found among the collected data. The methodology presented herein is general and can be used to compare other types of board games.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2016-09-29T00:00:00.000+00:00Remembering Yugoslavia: Board Game Monopoly and Cultural Memory<p>The article is dedicated to exploring the relationship between board games and cultural memory, the board game in question being a version of <italic>Monopoly</italic> which was published in Yugoslavia in 1986. To address this question, I conducted several interviews with interlocutors who used to play the Yugoslavian version of <italic>Monopoly</italic> and grew up in the eighties or in the nineties. Apart from exploring <italic>Monopoly</italic> as a metaphor and showing the specifics of the Yugoslavian version, the article aims to outline the potential of a board game to reproduce traces of cultural memory and how these traces are interpreted differently according to the generational and socio-historical background of the interlocutors included in my research. Moreover, the purpose of my article is to show that board games should not be analyzed only in terms of their physical attributes, fields and the playing cards they include, but also with regard to their reception.</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00The Sellers of Catan: The Impact of on the United States Leisure and Business Landscape, 1995-2019<p>While <italic>Monopoly</italic> is still one of the best-known board games in the United States today, increasing attention is paid to <italic>The Settlers of Catan</italic>, a mid-1990s German immigrant to the United States and a mid to late 2010s staple in popular culture and on store shelves. However, the one place where <italic>Catan</italic> has seen a drop in popularity over the past decade is in its first world, that of hobby board games. With so many new and innovative games and mechanics flooding the hobby market each year, <italic>Catan</italic> struggles to find a place. This struggle is due in part to its lack of innovation, attempt to keep pace with game trends, and seemingly, a reluctance to buy into the popularity of app-supported games (though solely mobile versions of <italic>Catan</italic> exist), crowdfunding, and new mechanics. This research explores <italic>Catan</italic>’s history in the United States to illustrate the paradox of its growing popularity with the general public while also experiencing a downturn in accolades from within the hobby, all while functioning as a barometer against which we can measure trends in the selling and playing of hobby board games.</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Donald Duck Holiday Game: A numerical analysis of a Game of the Goose role-playing variant<p>The 1996 Donald Duck Holiday Game is a role-playing variant of the historical Game of the Goose, involving characters with unique attributes, event squares, and random event cards. The objective of the game is to reach the camping before any other player does. We develop a Monte Carlo simulation model that automatically plays the game and enables analyzing its key characteristics.</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Turkish Great Chess and Chinese Whispers: Misadventures of a Chess Variant<p>A large chess variant with 52 pieces originally described in a 1800s Ottoman Turkish book as <italic>šaṭranǧ-i kabīr</italic>, or great chess, appears under various names in a number of subsequent Western sources, including authoritative works on chess history and variants. Game rules as presented in the latter are seriously flawed though, with inaccuracies regarding pieces array and moves. Over a period of more than two centuries, baseless assumptions, misreadings of previous sources and outright errors gradually accumulating in the literature have changed the game almost beyond recognition. With some of the game’s aspects not covered even by the original Turkish source, reconstructed rules are suggested and discussed, as well as a reformed variant.</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Wrested from Oblivion: General Ludwik Mierosławski’s Strategy Game Rediscovered<p>During the first half of the 19th century, liberal and nationalist uprisings erupted in all corners of Europe. While militant revolutionaries fought against restorative monarchies for more tolerant legislation or even full national independence, their countries slid into turmoil. In this European struggle, which set parts of Germany, Poland, France and Italy aflame, Ludwik Mierosławski (1814–1878) was one of the key insurgents. Besides being a keen partisan of Polish independence, Mierosławski enjoyed thorough military training and proved himself an astute theoretician of military strategy. It might be argued that he was probably one of the most inventive minds of his time, creating among other things an early tank vehicle and a bulletproof knapsack that could be used as a shield.</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Simulating Saratoga: How Saratoga-Themed Board Games Function as Experiential Historiography<p>Games deeply informed by history are not merely games. They may not be detailed simulations, but, nevertheless, they are conscious or otherwise expressions of historiographical viewpoints. This paper examines the historiographical perspectives of nine board games, published between 1974 and 2019, all on one or more aspect of the Saratoga Campaign (1777).</p>ARTICLE2020-12-17T00:00:00.000+00:00Board Games Before Ur? Game of Seven: Glückshaus and Related Dice Games<p>Glückshaus is a relatively modern version of the larger family of Games of Seven (games played with two six-sided dice and a stake board with fields usually numbered 2-12, often with an emphasized 7.). This paper looks at various historical versions of the game and shows how the modern Glückshaus version and its pecularities (e.g. a missing field for the number 4) came about when the dice game was combined with a stake board for a card game</p>ARTICLE2019-11-08T00:00:00.000+00:00Le formateur et son public dans le cadre de l’élaboration d’une simulation de type sur plateau<p>Le <italic>wargame</italic> est un outil de réflexion qui emploie des techniques créatives pour stimuler l’imagination des historiens, des décideurs et des analystes dans un but d’identification d’opportunités et de menaces. Son objet est de permettre à ses joueurs de recréer des situations spécifiques et, plus important encore, d’être capable d’explorer ce qui aurait pu (approche historique) ou pourrait (approche prospective) se passer si le joueur décidait de faire les choses différemment.</p>ARTICLE2019-11-08T00:00:00.000+00:00Lizzie Magie: America’s First Lady of Games