The following is an article posted to rec.org.sca on the subject of games...
Period games and magic
10 Feb 92
From: email@example.com (David Salley)
Organization: Canisius College, Buffalo NY. 14208
Margaret Macdubhsidhe writes:
> I've recently started looking into period games, both atheletic and
> otherwise. Unfortunately, aside from "The Compleat Gamester", which is
> about 20 years out of period, and a few mentions of football, bowling,
> tennis, and various card and dice games, I have been able to find very
> little. Besides Master Samalluh's (please pardon the mangled spelling) book,
> does anyone know of any good secondary or primary sources for games
> descriptions? Is anyone else researching card, dice and athletic games
> (outside of tourney/fencing/martial arts)? Want to share
Duncan MacLeod writes:
> I am also looking for period sources for slight of hand magic, Both of these
> requests are for children who are trying their best to be patient, so
> swiftness of response would be much appreciated!
Actual period sources are rare, I only know of one:
_The Art of Iugling [Juggling] or Legerdemaine_ by Samuel Rid, to be sold by him in his shop in London, 1612. To get this manuscript, go to a University with a _U.S. Govt. Doc. Microfilm Collection_ and ask for Reel 971, Cat# 21027, Pr 1121.U6, MiU F63-378. Grainy photocopies of microfilm of nearly illegible blackletter calligraphy of Old English grammar and spelling make this difficult reading, but it's worth the effort.
Some very scholarly secondary sources include:
_Medieval Games_ by Salamallah the Corpulent, Raymond's Quiet Press ISBN 0-943228-03-4,$10.00. I've also managed to track down about 3/4 of the books he lists in the Bibliography. Among them, I'd recommend the following two:
_Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland_ by Alice Gomme, pub. London 1894. in 2 vol. Normally, I avoid Victorian books as the scholarship usually tends to be nearly non-existant. These books however, are very well researched. I can't quote a price or ISBN, because I don't own them.
_Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations_ by Richard C. Bell, Dover Pub., ISBN 0-486-23855-5, $6.50. My edition is "revised edition - two volumes bound as one" which makes it a bit confusing as the sequence goes; table of contents, text, bibliography, index, table of contents, text, bibliography, index.
Some additional books:
_Games of the World: How to Make Them, How to Play Them, How They Came to Be_ edited by Frederic V. Grunfeld, Holt Rinehart & Winston Pub, ISBN 0-03-015261-5. My copy doesn't have the price listed on it. Richard Bell (see listing above) is listed as one of the consultants for the book. The book is documented to the nth degree with photographs of museum pieces and medieval manuscripts. Instructions on building boards and playing pieces are well written, well diagrammed and often photographed in intermediate stages of construction. Games are categorized into: Board & Table Games, Street & Playground Games, Field & Forest Games, Party & Festival Games, & Puzzles, Tricks & Stunts. Additionally the table of contents has cross-indexed each game for: Indoor or Outdoor; Solo, Pair or Group; Mental, Physical or Chance; Playing Time - Short, Medium, Long & Prepartion Time - Short, Medium, Long.
_The History of Playing Cards: with Anecdotes of Their Use in Conjuring, Fortune-Telling and Card-Sharping_ edited by Ed S. Taylor et al. Originally pub. London 1865, my edition is pub. by Charles Tuttle Co 1973, ISBN 0-8048-1026-5. No price listed on my copy. It doesn't have a bibliography :-(, but all of the direct quotes are adequately footnoted. The illustrations are all modern drawings of medieval cards :-( I would have preferred photographs, warts and all.
_Juggling: The Art and Its Artists_ by Karl-Heinz Ziethen & Andrew Allen, 1986, Rausch & Luft Pub., ISBN 3-9801140-1-5, $69.00. Karl wrote a book in French, which translates as _The Complete History of Juggling_. Unfortunately :-( it's in French, 1,000+ pages, $200.00+, and only available from France by custom order! Andrew talked him into publishing the American Coffee Table version listed here. I'd suggest getting it from the library as after the first ten pages of medieval history, it goes into 1940. Additionally, the illustrations are simply labelled, "Greek Vase c240BC" or "Danish Manuscript 1470" with no additional information.
_Street Magic -- An Illustrated History of Wandering Magicians and Their Conjuring Arts_ by Edward Claflin and Jeff Sheridan, Doubleday and Co., ISBN 0-385-12864-9, $5.95. Well written, well documented and lots of photographs of museum pieces and manuscripts. Duncan, if you only use one book from this list, it has to be this one!
Books strictly on techniques, or how to play:
_The Juggler's Handbook_ by Bob Stone, Spiritwood Publishing, ISBN 0-9611928-0-1, $12.95. This one contains something I've never seen anywhere else, Juggling Notation. Juggling notation is to juggling what musical notation is to music, a set of symbols for writing down how to do a sequence.
_Juggling with Finesse_ by Kit Summers, Finesse Press, ISBN 0-938981-00-5, $14.95. An American success story, Kit Summers is two time winner of the International Jugglers Association World Championship. The second time was AFTER he had been hit by a truck and told he would never leave his hospital bed.
_The Juggling Book_ by Carlo, Random House, ISBN 0-394-71956-5, $6.95. Carlo is a juggler for Barnum and Bailey Circus, nuff said!
_The Complete Juggler_ by Dave Finnigan, Random House, ISBN 0-394-74678-3. No price listed on my copy. I'm normally sceptical of any book that calls itself _The Complete "X"_. In my opinion, "X" has to be at least a dozen words to define a field of knowledge narrow enough to covered completely in one book. This one however, comes real close. The author is a former president of IJA and there's enough tricks here to keep a juggler going for years. For those who like to compare their performance against others, the book contains the Official Rank Requirements of the IJA, ie, what you have to be able to do to earn the next rank.
_Hand Shadows_ & _Hand Shadows II_ I can't get my paws on these at the moment, so I can't give you author, price or ISBN, but they're both available from the Dover Pub. children's books catalog. They're just what they sound like, illustrated books on how to cast shadow pictures on the wall. Does anyone know if this is period?? By the by, I'd recommend getting the Dover catalog, it's free. Write to: Dover Pub., 180 Varick St., N.Y., N.Y. 10014. Specify your fields of interest and ask for the general catalog as well.
_The Boardgame Book_ by Richard C. Bell. Nothing spectacular, but rules for most of common board games all conveniently in one volume.
Books which have been recommended to me, but I haven't yet read myself. _A History of Board Games Other Than Chess_ by H.J.R. Murray _Games Ancient and Oriental and How to Play Them_ by E. Falkener _A History of Playing Cards_ by Catherine P. Hargrave
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