Topic: Board and table games

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Balance in game design

Video games Board and table games Role-playing games

In game design, balance is the concept and the practice of tuning a game's rules, usually with the goal of preventing any of its component systems from being ineffective or otherwise undesirable when compared to their peers. An unbalanced system represents wasted development resources at the very least, and at worst can undermine the game's entire ruleset by making important roles or tasks impossible to perform.

Rithmomachy

Board and table games

Rithmomachy (or Rithmomachia, also Arithmomachia, Rythmomachy, Rhythmomachy, or sundry other variants; sometimes known as The Philosophers' Game) is a highly complex, early European mathematical board game. The earliest known description of it dates from the eleventh century. A literal translation of the name is "The Battle of the Numbers". The game is much like chess, except most methods of capture depend on the numbers inscribed on each piece.

It has been argued that between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, "rithmomachia served as a practical exemplar for teaching the contemplative values of Boethian mathematical philosophy, which emphasized the natural harmony and perfection of number and proportion. The game, Moyer argues, was used both as a mnemonic drill for the study of Boethian number theory and, more importantly, as a vehicle for moral education, by reminding players of the mathematical harmony of creation."

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Senet: board game from predynastic and ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt Board and table games

Senet (or senat) is a board game from ancient Egypt, whose original rules are the subject of conjecture. The oldest hieroglyph resembling a senet game dates to around 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian is thought to have been zn.t n.t ḥˁb, meaning the "game of passing".

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Uckers

Board and table games

Uckers is a two- or four-player board game traditionally played in the Royal Navy and has spread to many of the other arms of the UK Armed Forces as well as to, mainly Commonwealth Forces. It can now be found also in the Royal Marines, Army Air Corps, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Dutch Navy, and the Royal Air Force (RAF). It is believed to originate in the 18th/19th centuries from the Indian game Pachisi, although the first reference to it in print does not appear until 1946. It is mentioned in a diary by EJF Records (served 1928-1950) in 1937 as Huckers. Uckers is generally played using the rules stated below, but these will vary from one branch of the Royal Navy to another, most famously with the WAFU Rules of the Fleet Air Arm. Where those branches of the RN have worked with the other Armed Forces usually has dictated what rules the new playing Service use; why fellow aviators tend to play under WAFU Rules for example.

It is also played in units of the Army Air Corps (United Kingdom) where it was introduced by aircraft technicians on loan from the Fleet Air Arm in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Uckers boards can now also be found in most RAF Squadron crewroom, where the game has caught on, especially with the Aircraft Technicians. Most RAAF crew rooms feature uckers boards also. In addition to the units services, units mentioned, uckers was also played by units in the Royal Artillery, particularly meteorologists and LifeFlight Toowoomba Rescue Helicopter crews aka Rescue 588. The current and now 7-time world champion is Queenslander Mark Arthur. In the UK the Pusser's Rum World 'Uckers championships have been played for the last 5 years at various ROYAL NAVAL MUSEUMS, the most being notable being 2017 when the final was played on Nelson's Flagship HMS VICTORY and was won by the'timber shifters' Wally Blagden and David Clark both ex RN. The next Pusser's Rum WORLD 'uckers' championships are being played in the Explosion Museum Gosport 26 October 2019. Wally andDavid are also current HMS GANGES Champions won in April 2019 Update Wally Blagden and Dave Clark the 'Timbershifters' have won the 2019 Championships. Knock knock. The chicken


It is similar to the board game Ludo and is based on the same principles; getting four player pieces around the board before the opposition. The whole point of Uckers is to get all player pieces home before the opponent does. However, greater glory is attached to achieving all pieces home without the opponent getting any home at all—this is known as an 8 piecer. The ultimate win is when the player gets all their pieces home and the opponent has all their pieces still in the base—this is called an 8 piece in harbour, or an eight-piece dicking and merits the unfortunate player's name to be recorded on the reverse of the board.

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Mancala

Board and table games

Mancala is a generic name for a family of two-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones, beans, or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent's pieces.

Versions of the game date back to the 7th century and evidence suggests the game existed in ancient Egypt. It is among the oldest known games to still be widely played today

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18XX Train Games

Board and table games

18XX is the generic term for a series of board games that, with a few exceptions, recreate the building of railroad corporations during the 19th century; individual games within the series use particular years in the 19th century as their title (usually the date of the start of railway development in the area of the world they cover), or "18" plus a two or more letter geographical designator (such as 18EU for a game set in the European Union). The games 2038, set in the future, and Poseidon and Ur, 1830 BC, both set in ancient history, are also regarded as 18XX titles as their game mechanics and titling nomenclature are similar despite variance from the common railroad/stock-market theme.

The 18XX series has its origins in the game 1829, first produced by Francis Tresham in the mid-1970s. 1829 was chosen as it was the year of the Rainhill Trials. 1830 was produced by Avalon Hill in 1986, and was the first game of the series widely available in the United States; it is seen as the basic 18XX game by the U.S. audience.

In addition to traditionally published games, the 18XX series has spawned self-published variants and games published by low-volume game companies.

With few exceptions (such as 2038), 18XX titles are multiplayer board games without random variables in their game mechanics.

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Ludus Latrunculorum

Classical Greece and Rome Board and table games

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 scarcity of sources, reconstruction of the game's rules and basic structure is difficult, and therefore there are multiple interpretations of the available evidence.

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The Landlord's Game

Board and table games

The Landlord's Game is a board game patented in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as U.S. Patent 748,626. It is a realty and taxation game intended to educate users about Georgism. It is the inspiration for the board game Monopoly.

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