Classic game books

Tafl rules
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Hagbard
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Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:07 pm

Classic game books

Post by Hagbard » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:57 pm

Does someone know about the precise hnefatafl descriptions of Murray and Bell?

cyningstan
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 am

Re: Classic game books

Post by cyningstan » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:21 pm

What precisely do you want to know? I have both. Murray's full description is nine pages long, but I can give you his introductory paragraph that contains the gameplay.
Scandinavia and Iceland: Tafl, hnefatafl (HC. 445); Pre-conquest England: Tafl; Wales: Tawlbwrdd (F. R. Lewis); Ireland: name unrecorded; Lapland: Tablut (J. E. Smith, ii. 55-58). Played on the points of a lattice of 18x18 cells, or on the cells of boards 13x13, 11x11, 9x9 or 7x7 cells. Two persons play, one having a king, placed in the central point or cell, and a number of men who are arranged symmetrically around the king; the other has double the number of men who are arranged symmetrically round the edge of the board. Both king and men possess the rook's move in chess. Men are captured by interception, the central cell counting for this purpose as occupied by the side making the capture; the king is only captured if the four adjacent cells in row and column are all occupied by enemy men. A man can move to a cell between two enemy men without capture. The player with the king wins if in his turn of play the king has an open row or column to the edge of the board; his opponent wins if he captures the king.
Interception is Murray's preferred name for custodian capture. The following pages in the book discuss the etymology and history of the game, with some quoted sources and drawings of archaeological finds. There are some diagrams including Murray's alea evangelii layout and tablut.

Hagbard
Posts: 402
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:07 pm

Re: Classic game books

Post by Hagbard » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:32 pm

cyningstan wrote:What precisely do you want to know? I have both. Murray's full description is nine pages long, but I can give you his introductory paragraph that contains the gameplay.
Scandinavia and Iceland: Tafl, hnefatafl (HC. 445); Pre-conquest England: Tafl; Wales: Tawlbwrdd (F. R. Lewis); Ireland: name unrecorded; Lapland: Tablut (J. E. Smith, ii. 55-58). Played on the points of a lattice of 18x18 cells, or on the cells of boards 13x13, 11x11, 9x9 or 7x7 cells. Two persons play, one having a king, placed in the central point or cell, and a number of men who are arranged symmetrically around the king; the other has double the number of men who are arranged symmetrically round the edge of the board. Both king and men possess the rook's move in chess. Men are captured by interception, the central cell counting for this purpose as occupied by the side making the capture; the king is only captured if the four adjacent cells in row and column are all occupied by enemy men. A man can move to a cell between two enemy men without capture. The player with the king wins if in his turn of play the king has an open row or column to the edge of the board; his opponent wins if he captures the king.
.
I wondered, which of our present rules and variants originate at Murray and/or Bell.

The Murray paragraph you cite is very interesting.
  • Murray has a good overview of local game names and board sizes.
  • Murray's general rule for setup of the pieces is as we know it: attackers twice the number of defenders. King in center, his men around him, attackers at the edges, all symmetrically.
  • Murray has one special square: the throne, and it's hostile.
  • The Murray king is armed and must be surrounded from 4 sides and wins on the edge.
  • Strangely, even when Smith forgot to include the rule 14 about the hostile throne, Murray has the hostile throne right. And strangely further, even when Murray has the hostile throne, later scholars like David Brown turned it friendly again.
I wonder:
  • Did Murray mention some rules options? (like does David Brown). Does Murray fx. mention that the king could perhaps be unarmed? Does he mention win in corner and special corner squares?
  • How did Murray decide that the throne is hostile, even when Smith does not mention it?
  • I suppose that Murray doesn't mention that the king could be captured from 2 sides, since this rule was lost with Smith.
  • Is the Bell description identical to Murray's or does Bell introduce new game aspects?

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