Game Rules

2016-10-11-16-11_page_7Questiones Magistri Bartoli Castrensis habitae pro totius logice prohemio. Questiones eiusdem in predicamenta Aristotelis / by Bartolomé de Castro 1513
Folio GrC AR466 T17 1513

Rithmomachia, a strategic mathematical board game played in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance was based on Pythagorean number theory and the principles of Boethian mathematical harmony.  The image of the game and list of rules appears here at the end of a work by Bartolome Castro relating to questions of logic raised in Aristotle’s Categoriae.  The earliest mention of the game occurred in the mid-11th century and over the following four centuries it became increasingly popular with humanists and educators. By the early 17th century the popularity of the game had faded but was rediscovered in the 20th century. According to Ann Moyer in The philosophers’ game (Ann Arbor,  2001),  Rithmomachia not only served as a method for teaching the values of natural harmony and  proportion of Boethian number theory but was also used as a vehicle for moral education, by reminding players of the mathematical harmony of creation.  Rithmomachia was played on a game board similar to that used for chess and checkers, and like chess, was a game of strategy with players moving pieces allowing for different possible captures and winning configurations.  The game pieces were arranged on the board and moved in established ways with the ultimate goal of capturing the opponent’s pieces.

2016-10-11-16-22_page_1Les tables de geographie, reduites en un jeu de cartes, 1669
Mapcase GV1485 .D88 1669

This game includes 52 uncutcards arranged in the usual format of 13 of each of the four traditional suits.  Each suit is dedicated to a different continent:  hearts to Europe, diamonds to Asia, spades to Africa, and clubs to North and South America.  The individual cards each feature a  kingdom or region followed by a list of its major subdivisions and their capitals.  The three face cards in each suit feature a medallion portrait of an actual or legendary national figure.  The rules of the game are not known, but presumably required the players to commit to memory the subdivisions and capitals shown on each card.

2016-10-11-16-11_page_4Mr. Hoyle’s games of whist, quadrille, piquet, chess, and back-gammon, complete, 1765
GV1241 .H6 1765

Edmund Hoyle (1672-1769) is an author, best known for his writings on the rules and play of card games.  This volume includes “the method of playing and betting” on whist, quadrille, piquet, chess, and back-gammon.  Hoyle’s book was wildly popular–so much so that pirated copies appeared on the market almost immediately after its initial publication.  A printed warning in this copy to purveyors of pirate editions along with the statement, “No copies of this book are genuine, but what are signed by the Author,” appear on the verso of the title page.  As does Hoyle’s signature.  But is it genuine–or forged?

2016-10-11-16-11_page_6The streets of London : a merry round game for from four to eight players, 1800
DA688 .S74 1800z

This bright and cheerful card game, “a merry round game for from four to eight players” includes pictures and calls from the streets of London, such as “Baked potatoes all hot” and “Knives or scissors to grind.”  The rules for this game: “First shuffle the cards, and deal the whole of them round, the players to deal in rotation.  The dealer to commence the game by asking any player for a card of any cry, of which he holds one, at least, in his own hand ; if he obtains it, he may continue asking of any player until the player asked has not the card asked for; the right of asking is then transferred to him, and he, in the same way, continues to ask until disqualified in the same manner.  When any player has obtained all the cards forming a complete cry, he turns them down on the table.  When a player has played all his cards, the player on the left hand to continue the game till all the cards are played.  Then each player will count his cards, and the one having the highest number is the winner of the game.”

2016-10-11-16-11_page_5Jeu de cartes historiques, contenant un abrégé de l’histoire romaine / Jouy, Etienne de. circa 1820
DG231 .J68 1820

Each card  in this Roman history-themed game portrays an important person (such as Romulus, Tarpeia, and Hersilia) and a brief description of their importance and their actions. This game was apparently designed for the instruction and amusement of the youth of both sexes.  Our copy does not have the rules, but perhaps it was a bit like Trivial Pursuit?

2016-10-11-16-22_page_2Nieuw Robinson Crusoe spel, circa 1830
Mapcase GV1469.G73 N54 1830

This is a large woodcut of a playing board for a Robinson Crusoe game, with the rules printed around the large square central view depicting Robinson on his isle with his ship sinking in the sea in the distance.  There are eighteen double playing fields, one with a picture of Robinson and the other with a place for the markers with dice at either side. The game is a version of The Game of Goose, with square fields and rather complicated rules, and with the throw of two dice depicted beneath each playing field.

2016-10-19-10-48_page_3The overland mail from England to India, circa 1850-1853
Mapcase GV1469.O7 O73 1850

To play this enormous board game, players race as they attempt to follow the nearly 8,000 mile route of the overland mail from England to India.  Players start their race in Southmapton and finish in Calcutta, after crossing the desert from Cairo to the Red Sea.  The rules are as follows: 1) The Game is to be played with Tee-totum, marked from 1 to 6, or 1 to 8. 2) Each player must be provided with Counters, by which the fines will be paid; also a maker, which he must place on the space at the commencement of the Game, and read the particulars there enumerated. 3) Spin for the first player; the highest number to begin. 4) The first player to spin; and according to the number turned up, to place his marker on the game; the others in turn to do the same.  5) At each following spin, add the number turned up to that on which the marker stands, and proceed accordingly, until someone reaches either No. 81 or 82, who will take the Pool and also any snakes that may be left at the Central Station, across the sands. If No. 82 is exceeded, the play must return to Mocha for refreshment, pay the fine and wait his next turn.

2016-10-11-16-11_page_1Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs, by Alice C. Fletcher, 1917
Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness, Schimmel Fiction 1678

This volume, dedicated to the Youth of America, was written “in order that our young people may recognize, enjoy and share in the spirit of the olden life upon this continent.” The book is broken into three sections, Dances and Songs, Games, and Indian Names.  The Games section includes hazard games, guessing games, and ball games.  We have selected a hazard game called Pa-Tol Stick which requires three wooden billets; a flat stone about six inches in diameter or square, forty stones about as “big as a fist” or like pieces of wood; as many sticks for markers as there are players; and counters to score the game.  The rules are complicated, but the main object of the game is get around a circle without being “killed.”

2016-10-19-10-48_page_1Camp Fire Girls Game rules, 1926
Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness (cataloging in process)

The goal of the Camp Fire Girls Game is “for the players to try to first enter the ‘Council Fire’ centre circle, taking up as many Honor Beads as possible on the way around the board.  The player capturing the most points in honors is the Winner of This Game, not necessarily the player to finish first.”  Big and lesser honors are awarded in the categories of camp craft, hand craft, nature craft, home craft, patriotism craft, and health craft.

2016-10-19-10-48_page_2Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth game rules, 1998
Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness (cataloging in process)

Cowgirls Ride the Trail of Truth is advertised as a game for women and is designed for swapping tales, sharing friendships, and exploring self–similar to how in the Old West, people sat around the campfire.  To play this game, a “trail boss” is selected to set up the game board and set out the horses, question cards, dice, and charms.  The aim of the game is to be the first cowgirl to reach Paradise Ranch with all six charms that represent personal attributes.  This game has categories such as sex and body, experience and history, family and friends, spirit, shadow, and taste. Noncompetitive players will be happy to know that “there are no right or wrong answers in this game.  The questions are left up to your personal interpretations.” Those who lived in fear of Truth and Dare at slumber parties should know that “anyone can ask a player to elaborate for a more in-depth story or answer.”  But never fear, “all stories and answers are to be kept confidential!”

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