MACE 2019 New Feature: History of Tabletop Games

MACE 2019 is proud to present a new and educational feature to this year’s convention – History of Tabletop Games.  These will include games that go back to Roman and Viking times.  These will be presented by Tammy Reid aka Maistreas Aine O Grienan of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism).


They will be out there in full SCA costume demonstrating some of the oldest tabletop games known to man.

Times for these demos will be (Walk-ups welcome)

Friday: 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Sunday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Games will include:

Senet (Egypt/Rome)

Play the ancient game of the Pharaohs. Ancient Egyptian Game of Senet. Board games were a favorite pastime in Egypt, and Senet was the most popular of these. It was played by two people, either on elaborate carved and inlayed boards like the one found in Tutankhamen’s tomb, or simply scratched into the earth. The oldest known representation of Senet is in a painting from the tomb of Hesy, from 2686 BC.

Mia (Roman)

Mia is a simple dice game with a strong emphasis on bluffing and detecting bluff related to Liar’s dice.

Latrunculi (Roman)

Ludus latrunculorum, latrunculi, or simply latrones (“the game of brigands”, from latrunculus, diminutive of latro, mercenary or highwayman) was a two-player strategy board game played throughout the Roman Empire. It is said to resemble chess or draughts, but is generally accepted to be a game of military tactics. Because of the paucity of sources, reconstruction of the game’s rules and basic structure is difficult, and therefore there are multiple interpretations of the available evidence.

Alquerques (Roman/Viking)

Alquerque (also known as Qirkat) is a strategy board game that is thought to have originated in the Middle East. It is considered to be the parent of draughts (US: checkers) and Fanorona.

Gluekhaus (Roman)

Glückshaus (House of Fortune) is a medieval gambling dice game for multiple players. It is played with two dice on a numbered board.

Merreles also known as Nine Man’s Morris (Roman/Viking/1400 BC)

Nine men’s morris is a strategy board game for two players dating at least to the Roman Empire. The game is also known as nine-man morris, mill, mills, the mill game, merels, merrills, merelles, marelles, morelles, and ninepenny marl in English. The game has also been called cowboy checkers and is sometimes printed on the back of checkerboards. Nine men’s morris is a solved game, that is, a game whose optimal strategy has been calculated by humans. It has been shown that with perfect play from both players, the game results in a draw. Its name derives from the Latin word merellus, ‘gamepiece’.  Three main alternative variations of the game are three, six, and twelve men’s morris.

Fox and Geese (Icelandic)

In the English-speaking world a simplified version is known as Fox and Geese. In this game the objective of reaching a certain location has been removed and instead it all comes down to capturing each other’s pieces. It is not mandatory for the fox to capture the opponent’s pieces, and there are no restraints on the defender’s (the geese’s) movements.

The fox is placed in the middle of the board, and 13 geese are placed on one side of the board. The fox and geese can move to any empty space around them (also diagonally). The fox can jump over geese like in checkers, capturing them. Repeated jumps are possible. Geese can not jump. Unlike in Halatafl, capturing is not mandatory. The geese win if they surround the fox so that it cannot move. The fox wins if it captures enough geese so that the remaining geese cannot surround it.

The traditional game with 13 geese is not well balanced and gives the advantage to the fox. There are more balanced game variants with 15, 17 or 18 geese or two foxes.

Tafl (Denmark)

Tafl games (also known as hnefatafl games) are a family of ancient Nordic and Celtic strategy board games played on a checkered or latticed gameboard with two armies of uneven numbers. Most probably it is based upon the Roman game Ludus latrunculorum. Names of different variants of Tafl include Hnefatafl, Tablut, Tawlbwrdd, Brandubh, Ard Rí, and Alea Evangelii. Games in the tafl family were played in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and Lapland. Tafl gaming was eventually supplanted by chess in the 12th Century, but the tafl variant of the Lapps, tablut, was in play until at least the 1700s. The rules for tablut were written down by the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus in 1732, and these were translated from Latin to English in 1811. All modern tafl games are based on the 1811 translation, which had many errors. New rules were added to amend the issues resulting from these errors, leading to the creation of a modern family of tafl games. In addition, tablut is now also played in accordance with its original rules, which have been retranslated.

Shatranj also know as Chess (Iberian Peninsula)

Shatranj is an old form of chess, as played in the Persian Empire. Its origins are in the Indian game of chaturaṅga. Modern chess gradually developed from this game, as it was introduced to the western world via contacts in Spain and in Sicily in the 10th century.

Game of the Goose (Italy)

The Game of the Goose or Goose game is a board game where two or more players move pieces around a track by rolling a die or two dice.[clarification needed] The aim of the game is to reach square number sixty-three before any of the other players, while avoiding obstacles such as the Inn, the Bridge and Death.

The game is thought to have originated in the 16th century, and is considered the prototype of many of the commercial European racing board games of later centuries. The game is mostly played in Europe and seen as family entertainment. Commercial versions of the game appeared in the 1880s and 1890s, and feature typical old European characteristics such as an old well and children in clothes from the period.

MACE 2019

November 08-10 2019
The Best & Most Organized Carolina Gaming Con
Hilton Charlotte University Place
Charlotte, NC