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Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:50 pm
by Hagbard
conanlibrarian wrote:would this version to be interesting to play?
I for one would find a test tournament on the "Scandinavian Museum 9x9 Edge" (Skalk 9x9 edge) informative, because this is the most extreme variant of the Skalk family in the favour of white.

The Cartier rules are currently not on the variants list, because they're except for small details the same as Skalk 9x9 edge.

Saami Tablut 9x9

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:31 am
by Hagbard
Evaluation of Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9 test tournament December - January 2013.

Eight players did the tournament without timeouts and played with each other 56 games, the results being
white (defenders) 31 wins, black (attackers) 25 wins.

So, Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9 is well balanced and can be rated.
conanlibrarian wrote:Since Scandinavian Museums Edge is the variant closest to known historical variants
With closest I meant in the general sense of two sided king capture, and escape to edge. Although there is no historical support for either four-sided capture, corner escape, or weaponless king, it is a fact that the two-sided king capture/edge escape combination has seen the least amount of play in modern times.
So you are right, to say that there is no historical support for corner escape is too strong a claim. I should rather have said that historically attested rules and description give no support to corner escape.
What about "Scandinavian Museum 9x9 Edge", or Cartier Tablut? Very little experience, but perhaps worth giving it another chance, given the tournament experience? The smaller board should give white a better chance compared to "Scandinavian Museum 11x11 Edge".
It was indeed a good idea, conanlibrarian, to give the Scandinavian Museum Edge 9x9 (now called Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9) another chance. The thorough test tournament approved the balance.

This result applies also to the "Cartier" variant, which differs only in that the throne is non-reenterable and non-passable, affecting the balance very little.

In 2011 Nicolas Cartier, France, took a critical look at the paper on Tablut by John C. Ashton, and Cartier arrived at a somewhat different conclusion: a Tablut rules set which is really Skalk Hnefatafl edge 9x9 with a non-reenterable and non-passable throne.

In November 2011 Nicolas Cartier sent me these emails together with his article:
I am Nicolas Cartier, I am french!
I read the work of John Ashton about the tablut's rules. His article was very interesting and your website too. I play the games on your site and the Ashton's tablut is well-balanced
but I do not agree with John Ashton's interpretation of embroidered squares.
I think that the muscovites squares are not citadels.
I send you my rules of tablut in French. Sorry, my knowledge of english and danish is not good.

My article was not published in a magazine and you can't find it on a website.
My rules were made from texts (Linneaus or Robert Ap Ifan) or archaeological finds.
I never test my rules in a real game. I send you this article because I want to know if my rules are well balanced.
I need your help and your opinion.
You have permission to use this article on your website.
Nicolas Cartier
Nicolas Cartier's article on Tablut:
Nicolas Cartier's Tablut rules translated into English:

So, the test tournament came out well for the Cartier interpretation!

Test tournament:

Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:32 pm
by Hagbard
cyningstan wrote:The king capture rule would suggest that no ancient form of hnefatafl had a 4-square capture rule anywhere but in the central square.
My bid is that the Lapp Tablut described by Linné is the same as Skalk Hnefatafl Edge 9x9.
The Foteviken Tablut is an interesting variant, but it deviates significantly from the Linné description in that the throne is friendly and the king is captured from 4 sides.

Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:52 pm
by conanlibrarian
Hagbard wrote:
cyningstan wrote:The king capture rule would suggest that no ancient form of hnefatafl had a 4-square capture rule anywhere but in the central square.
My bid is that the Lapp Tablut described by Linné is the same as Skalk Hnefatafl Edge 9x9.
Yes, it seems that we are approaching a consensus that two-sided king capture is the historically correct rule, as first proposed by Ashton. And with the experience from the Skalk Edge 9x9 tournament and games we know that such a game is very playable indeed. I also think that the Skalk Edge 9x9 rules are identical to, or very close to what Linnaeus described, and I really like these rules, and use them when introducing new players to the game.
cyningstan wrote:The rule about capturing against the central square is clear enough but either contradicts or makes redundant the odd rule about capturing a defender against the king when the king is partially surrounded.
I have also looked at the Latin original of the rules (as described in this old thread: [link not working]), and I have always interpreted the rule on capture against the central square (rule 14 in Linnaeus) to only apply when the king is away from the throne; when the king is there only the kings side may capture against it, or against the king, really. This is also the interpretation used in the Skalk rules. If this is the case, the rule in question (rule 10, second if clause) is not redundant, but it is questionable how much difference such a rule makes. At a stage when such a position is possible i think the attackers should be able to win anyway.

Passive capture?

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:59 am
by conanlibrarian
Since there is an emerging consensus on the rules of Tablut as described by Linnaeus, it would be interesting to try to clear up the last remaining questions. Apart from minor issues, like who goes first, and if the king can reenter the throne, there is one point that hasn't seen much discussion: Is an active capture move necessary, or is a piece also taken if it voluntarily moves between two enemy pieces.

I am struggling with the first part of rule number 9 of the Linnaeus description:
Si qvis hostem 1 inter 2 sibi hostes collocare posit, est occisus et ejici debet, item Rex.

This translated by Smith as: If any one man gets between two squares occupied by his enemies, ... And by Ashton as: If one piece finds itself trapped between two enemies, ...

From these translations it is not clear that an active enemy movement is needed. At the same time, my feeble attempts with Google translate seem to indicate that the phrase "sibi hostes collocare posit" (= "bring to locate the enemy"?) hints at an active move being needed.

What is your take? Any comments on the translations; or has anyone seen a reference that discusses this? Has anyone tried playing Tafl with passive captures, and if so how did it differ? My feeling is that it would make the game harder for white, since there is much less room for "forcing" captures, and less moves available.

Re: Balanced 9x9 and 11x11 tafl variants

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:44 am
by conanlibrarian
Thanks for your comment Nath! I look forward to hearing what you think of the 9x9 rules, especially the Skalk edge variant.

Re: Linnaeus Tablut and Translations

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:05 pm
by Hagbard
News about translation of the Linné diary (which describes the rules of tablut).
The Finnish linguist Olli Salmi sent me today this mail:


Jag märkte några dar sedan att Smith's engelska översättning av reglerna för tablut har ett par fel och ett par regler som fattas. Jag har nu placerat min översättning här:

Jag skall tänka lite mera om översättningen när jag har tid.

Jag har skrivit om saken till Peter Michaelsen, David Parlett, Thierry Depaulis, Sten Helmfrid, Damian Walker och Robert Thomson.

Med vänliga hälsningar,
Olli Salmi
The email says:
I noticed some days ago that Smith's English translation of the rules for tablut has a couple of errors and a couple of rules missing. I now placed my translation here:

I'll think a little more about the translation when I have time.

I've written about the matter to Peter Michaelsen, David Parlett, Thierry Depaulis, Sten Helmfrid, Damian Walker and Robert Thomson.

Olli Salmi

Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:28 am
by cyningstan
In this Olli is following in the footsteps of Cartier (like I did when I first found the Latin version). He has some interesting additions about translations of Sami words like raichi and tuich(u/a). He also has knowledge of the handwritten version of Linnaeus' diaries, which shed some light on what changes there are even in the Swedish/Latin translation of them. I'm looking forward to a time when the manuscript gets digitised and put on-line.

Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:38 pm
by Hagbard
John C. Ashton's paper was demanded reduced to half length before publication in the games magazine. The original, full paper is much more informative and can be found here, with Ashton's kind permission.

Re: Saami Tablut

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:13 pm
by Hagbard