Games from the Academy of Armory

The following excerpt is transcribed from Randle Holme's Academy of Armory. This book was largely published in 1688, although parts existed only in manuscript form until 1905. This particular find, and the latter half of the transcription (Tables, Bowling, and cards), are courtesy of Jeff Singman; these parts come from the 1905 edition. (They were listed in the index of the 1688 edition, but didn't get published at that time.) The first part of the transcription (Billiards, Trucks, Chess, Draughts, and Tennis) was transcribed by myself (Justin), and come from the 1688 edition.

Typesetter's Note: The formatting is not identical to Holme's original. In the original, the formatting was a bit more consistent. I have tended to vary it a bit more, in the interests of readability. Any complaints about this should go to me (Justin), not to Jeff...

Holme (1688) 262-265 [III.v]

CXLVII. He beareth Argent, two Men playing at a Billiard Table, all proper. But if you will have a larger Blazon, than this, say, a Billiard Table lined with Green, on each side standeth a Man, the one cloathed in Scarlet, the other in Velvet, with a Tack in his hand, to push the Ball into an Hassard, or Hole.

Things used about Billiards

The Table, which is four square, or rather something longer one way, with a Ledge about it to keep the Balls from falling off, which must be covered with fine green Cloth.

The Hazzards, the Holes in the four corvers and sides of the Table, but not at the ends, from whence, and whereunto the Ball Plays.

The King is the little Pin or Peg standing at one end of the Table, which is to be of Ivory.

The Port, is the Arch of Ivory, standing at a little distance from the other end of the Table.

The Tacks are the two Sticks (or what else they are made of) with which the Balls are pushed forwards.

The Balls are round things made of Ivory, which will turn any way.

Some Boards have a Bell and a String instead of a King, but this is a Bungling Play, there being not that Art in it, as the King.

Orders for the Play at Billiards

1. If the Leader touch the end of the Table with his Ball at the first stroak, he loseth one Cast.

2. If the Follower intend to hit his Adversaries Ball, or pass at one stroak, he must string his Ball, that is lay it even with the King, or he loseth a Cast.

3. He that passeth through the Port hath the advantage of touching the King, which is one Cast if not thrown down.

4. He that passeth the Port twice (his Adversary having not passed at all) and toucheth the King without throwing him down, wins 2 ends.

5. He that passeth not hath no other advantage but the Hazzard.

6. He that is a Fornicator (that is, hath past through the back of the Port) he must pass twice through the fore part, or he cannot have the advantage of Passing that end.

7. He that hits down the Port or King, or Hazzards his own Ball, or strikes either Ball over the Table, loseth that Cast.

8. He that Hazzards his Adversaries Ball, or makes it to hit down the King, winneth the end.

9. If four Play two against two, he that mistakes his stroak, loseth one to that side he is of.

10. He that afrer (sic) both Balls Played, removes the Port without consent, or strikes his Ball twice together, or that his Adversaries Ball touch his Stick, Hand, Cloaths, or Playeth with his Adversaries Ball, loseth One.

11. He that sets not one Foot on the ground when he strikes his Ball, shall lose and end, or if he lay his hand or sleeve on the Cloth.

12. A Stander-by, though he Betts, shall not instruct, direct, or speak in the Game without consent, or being first asked; if after he is advertized hereof he offends in this nature, for every fault he shall instantly forfeit Two Pence for the good of the Company, or not be suffered to stay in the Room.

13. He that Plays a Ball while the other runs, or takes up a Ball before it lie still, loseth an end.

14. He that removes the Port with his Stick when he strikes his Ball, and thereby prevents his Adversaries Ball from passing, loseth an end.

15. All Controversies are to be decided by the Standers by, upon asking Judgement.

16. He that breaks the King Forfeits 1s. for the Port 10s. and each Stick 5s.

17. Five ends make a Game by Daylight, and three by Candle light.

The Game of Truck

Truck is an Italian Game, and is not very unlike Billiards, the Table is something longer and covered with green Cloth, it hath 3 holes at each end, besides the corner holes.

The Sprig, which stands for the Billiard King, stands at the middle, near one end; it is a piece of Iron made fast in the Board.

The Argolio, which is as the Port at Billiards, stands against the middle hole at either end; and is a strong hoop of Iron fastened to the Table.

The Tacks with which they play, are much bigger than Billiard Sticks, and headed at each end with Iron; from the middle is round taperwise to one end, the other is flat.

The Balls are of Ivory, as large as Tennis Balls.

In the Play they use the same Orders as in the Billiards, only they have these terms in the Playing.

Truck, that is the striking of the Ball to the Adversaries, to hole him.

Bank, is to lay the Ball at a certain place by striking it.

Fulkat, or Fulkating over hand, is to make you Ball jump over his through the Argolio, when his Ball lies directly in the way before you.

The because it is soon up, is either nine, eleven, fifteen, or as many as you please; for if you Truck you Adversary, it is one Cast: If after you have past, you Truck your Adversaries Ball, and hit the Sprigg, it is three: If you pass at one Stroak, Truck your Adversaries Ball, and hit the Sprigg you win four, but this is very rarely done.

CXLVIII. He beareth Or, on a Table covered with a Carpet, a Chess Board proper; on each side a Man seated in a Chair, exercising themselves at the Game of Chess, the one cloathed in Blew, the other in Red. Now you may say more shortly, Two Men seated in Chairs each side a Table, Playing at Chess or Draughts.

Chess is a Royal Game, and more difficult to be understood than any other Game whatsoever, and will take up some time in the Playing; Artists at the Game, have Played a Fortnight by times before it hath been ended: The Table is a four square Board divided into 64 squares, Chequer like, each contrary to other White and Black, the Chess-Men are these following.

The Kings, which is the first and highest, called

The Queens, which are the next in height, called also the Amazons.

The Bishops, which have cloven Heads, called the Archers.

The Knights, having their Heads cut aslaunt like a Feather in a Helmet.

The Rooks have a round Buttoned Cap on their heads, called also the Rocks or Dukes.

The Pawns are all alike, they are Serving Men to the Noble Men.

Terms used in Chess-Play

A Forke, is when two of the Adversaries Rooks stand in the same Rank, and a House between them void; if a Parn guarded with another, advance into the House before them, thereby one of them will commonly be taken; This is of some termed a Dilemma.

A Stale, is when a King hath lost all his Men, and hath but one place to fly unto, if he be Barred there without Checking him, so that being now out of Check cannot remove but into Check, is a Stale, and he that giveth it to the distressed King, loseth the Game.

A Blind Mate, is when one giveth Check Mate, but seeth it not, yet nevertheless it is a Mate, though a disgraceful one.

A Dead Game, is when only the two Kings are left, at which most Gamesters will draw Stakes; some will do it when the have but a Knight or Bishop left with their King; and the enemy only his King, for then it is not possible to give a Mate by force.

Take Guard or Guards, is the securing of the Men that they be not taken by having others at their Back.

Check, is when pieces lie in the way, that neither the King, Queen, or any other cannot pass, but are forced to stand.

Pawn-Mate, is when the King cannot remove out of the Pawns way, but is taken by him, which is the end of the Game, and lost by him whose King is so Mated.

Mate, is when the like is done by a Rook, so that the King is taken, or that he can neither take the Checking piece, nor cover the Check, nor yet remove out of it.

Pawn-Check, is when a Knight hath checked a King of the adverse party, so that he cannot be covered, then the King must either remove, or course the Knight to be taken, for he himself cannot take the Knight that Checks him, or its Mate, and the Game is up.

House, is every one of the squares, whether they be white or black on the Chess-Board, which are termed 1, 2, 3, 4, of the one Gamester, and 1, 2, 3, 4 of the other Gamesters.

Field, is the whole square of the Board.

Scholars Check, a Check that might have been avoided, had not the Player been a young Beginner.

Scholars Mate, is a Mate that might be prevented, but is made by young Beginners.

Check Mate, is the end of the Game, which is by following the flying King, giving him Check as long as he hath any place to fly unto.

Holme (1905) 63-64 [III.xvi.II]

The Vsuall Games within the Tables.

Irish, it is an ingenious Game and requires a great deale of skill to play it well, especially the after game; it is not to be learned otherwise then by observation and practice. It consists most, of the safe bringing home of your scattered men and the speedy filling of your owne table, and then in beareing them without blotting: termes which we shall explain afterwards.

Back-Gammon, it is the same to Irish, and the men soe placed, only differ in this, that doubletts in this game is four-fould, which make a quicker dispach of the game.

Tick-Tack. In this game all your men are set on the Ace point, and so plaid forward to fill your tables, but with this care, that an vnbound man be not hit in the way by one of the Adversaries men: which if he doe not, but that you fill all the points of your second table with our owne men uyou haue won two. Much more might be said as to the craft of the play, which cannot be discouered but from observation.

Dubblets. This is an easie and childish play and performed by haueing all the 15 men set double on the six points, the 6. 5. 4. haueing three apeece: what is throwne is layd downe, and if one throws and hath it not, the other lays downe for him, and thus they do till all be downe: and then they beare: now dubblets in this game, is as many to be layd downe and borne as the dubblets are.

Sice-Ace. It is played with six or more men apeece, where the one load the other with Aces, and sices beares onely, and dubbletts throws againe; and he that hath first borne his men wins.

Ketch-dolt and seuerall other games there are which were a superfluity to mention.

Gamesters lawes for Tables.

  1. He that throws most with a single die, hath the benefite of the first throw for any game he plays at.
  2. Dubblets or doublets in Irish are noe more then they are, but in Back-Gammon are to be played foure tymes ouer: and in the Game of doublets they are as many to laye downe and beare vp, as they are.
  3. If both beare togather in Backgammon he that is first off without doublets wins one of the game. If he that bares goes off with doubltets he wins two.
  4. If your tables be clear and you haue borne all your men off, before the other hath brought in all his men, that is a Back-Gammon, which is three: And if you thus goe of with doublets it is foure casts or Hits.
  5. A Hit is not to passe, though you throw such a cast that some of your men may reach one of your Adversaries vnbound man: because of a stop in the way, and then it is nothing.
  6. If you fill vp all the points of your second table with your owne men, you win two hits of the game in Tick-tack.
  7. If you touch a man you must play him though to your losse, from whence it is Tick-tack, that is touch and take.
  8. If you hit your adversary and neglect the advantage, you are taken your selfe with a Why not, which is the loss of one cast.
  9. If you are in and your cast be such as you may take your Aduersaries eleuenth point by two other men, and you se it not, either by carlessnesse, or eager prosecution of a hit, which is apparent before your eyes, you lose two casts irrecouerably.
  10. It is lawfull for any Gamester to stop the runing of his adversaries dice at his pleasure: causing him to cast anew.

Termes used by Gamesters at the Tables.

Holme (1905) 69-71 [III.xvi.II]

Bowling is a Game, or recreation which if moderately used is very healthfull for the body, and would be much more commendable then it is, were it not for those swarms of Rooks, which so pester Bowling greens, where in three things are thrown away by such persons, besides the Bowls, viz: Tyme, Money, and Curses, and the last ten for one.

Seuerall places for Bowling.

First, Bowling greens, are open wide places made smooth and euen, these are generally paled or walled about.

Secondly, Bares, are open wide places on Mores or commons.

Thirdly, Bowling-alleys, are close places, set apart in made more for privett persons, then publick uses.

Fourthly, Table Bowling, this is, Tables of a good length in Halls or dineing roomes, on which for exercise and diuertisement gentlemen and their associates bowle with little round balls or bullets.

Orders agreed upon by Gentlemen Bowlers.

  1. That noe high heeles enter for spoiling the green, they forfeit 6d.
  2. That all gentlemen and betters that play or come to bett, shall pay no more for their entrance, but 6d. apeece.
  3. That were the Jack is plaid, the footing to be where it is found dureing the game.
  4. That all stamping or smoothing is barred.
  5. That none giue ground but the players.
  6. That no one stand beyond the Jack.
  7. That no player, or other cross and other mans bowle in the runing.
  8. That there be no leading the Jack further then a reasonable throw.
  9. That all controuersies shal be sensured by the gentlemen themselues.
  10. That the breach of any of these Orders shal be 6d. to the green keeper.
  11. That if any gentleman haue none with him to take up his bowles, the Alley keeper to find servants, to be reqreded according to pleasure.
  12. That for euery Lurch 6d. to be paid by the player or players which lose, to be the Alley keepers.

Seuerall sorts of Bowles.

Where note in Bowling the chusing of the Bowls is the greatest cunning, for

Termes vsed by Bowlers.

There is no aduising by writting how to Bowl, practice must be your best tutor, which must aduise you of the riseing falling and seuerall aduantages that are to be had in the Game; Onely this haue a care, that you be not rookt of your money; and goe not to these places unseasonably, that is when more weighty business requries your being at home, or else where.

The best sport in it, is the Gamester antique postures, and his is best and enioys most pleasure, that is a lookere on and betts nothing. For neuer did mimick screw his body into halfe the formes these men do theirs; and it is an Article of their creed, that the bending of the body, screwing in of the shoulder, Hooking the back, with veriaty of other postures, is sufficient to hinder the ouer speed of the bowl; or the running after it, clapping the hands, or treading the ground, with flee, flee, adds any thing to its speed, or on the contrary crying short, short, as if the bowls thereby would be intreated for a good cast.

It is the best discouery of Humours, and in that a fit emblem of the world, where most are short, ouer, wide, or wrong biassed, and but som few Justle into the mistress Fortune. Here also you may obserue veriaty of tempers, some Frett, Rail, swear, and cavell at euery thing, others reioyce and laugh, as if that were the sole design of their recreation: and to conclude here it is, as in the court where the neerest are the most spighted; and all Bowls aim at one the other, to turn it out of place.

Holme (1905) 71-74

A deck or pack of cards I consists of 52 cards, viz : foure Kings, foure Queenes, foure Knaves, ten cards of picks or diamonds, ten cards of hearts, ten cards of spades, and ten cards of clubs; which are thus numbered, Ace, duce, Trey, foure, fiue, six, seaven, eight, nyne, and ten of the hearts, spads, or what souer they are.

The principall games at cards.

1. Picket, is a game play without deuces, treys, fours, and fiues, the rest being 36 are dealt to 12 cards which are for exchanging.

The Ace is 11. all the other cards are numbred to the spots they beare, each discards out of his hand, and receiues as many from the stock.

A Blank is ten. A ruffe, is one for euery ten in the number of the ruffe.

A sequence of three cards is 3, or foure is 4, and of fiue cards is 15, and for six is 16, and so vpwards.

A Ternary as three aces, 3 Kings, and 3 Queens which is numbred for three casts.

A Quaternary, is four aces, or 4 Kings, which is accounted for each 14. After these account then the casts are playd as at whisk, best takeing vp the other, and for euery Ace, King, Queene, Knave, and ten 1 is recouered and the last trick is two, if mor with a ten; if vnder then but 2.

To wine in playing more then his owne cards is 10, but he that wins all the cards reckons 40.

2. Gleek, is a game playd without duces, and Treys, and is played only by thre person, with counters at a Farthing, halfe peny, &c. the dozen.

Deale the cards by foure, tell each haue twelfe apeece, the stock card is turned vp, which is the dealers, but if Tibb be turned vp, it is foure apeece from each to the dealer.

The Ace is 15 in hand and 18 in play, which is called Tib. Tom the Knave of trumps is 9. Tiddy is 4. Towser 5. Tumbler is 6. and so all double if turned vp. The King and Queene of trumps is 3 apeece.

The eldest hand bids for the stock, he that bids most takes it, and layeth so many of his owne cards, giueing to each gamester 8 counters.

The Ruffe is most of a suit which is I but if any haue foure Aces, it gains the ruffe be you neuer so many. A Mournivall of Aces is 8, of Kings it is 6, of four Queens it is 4, and of Knaves it is 2 counters apeece.

If you win but your owne cards in play you lose 10, if you haue Tib, Tom, King and Queene of trumps you haue 30 by honors, besides the cards you win by them in play, which euery one aboue 22 is 12 counters for euery card.

3. Cribbidge is a game to be playd with all the cards, and they number of the set or game is 61. It is only playd by two persons, haueing fiue cards apeece, delt out one by one, out of which fiue cards each party casts out two cards; then one is turne vp of the stock, which both make use of to help them in their game.

The Value of the cards is thus; any 15 vpon two or three cards is 2, a paire is 2, a paire Royall is 6, a double paire Royall or a purtaunte is 12, sequence of three cards is 2, of foure is 4. of fiue is 5. A Flush of three is 3, of foure cards it is 4, &c. Knave Noddy is in the hand 1 and in the turn-vp 2. These noted downe then proceed to play, which in the laying downe if you make 15, for which you haue 2 as aforesaid, so playing on to make it 31, which whosouer by laying comes neerest vnto hath one cast, if you can make it 31, it is two casts towards the game, and in this playing of our cards you may make paries, sequences, flushes, pair-royalls, as the valew foresaid, else not.

From the cribb the dealer makes what he can of the cards according to the account and valew of the cards, in the fore-game.

4. Ruffe and Honors, and Whisk, which are generally, amongst the Vulgar, Termed Trump. It is playd by two or four persons, at which ten tricks make vp the game. It is played with the duces in, or cast out, each party haueing 12 cards dealt him by foure at a tyme. The Bottome or turne vp card is the Trump, and so are all of that suit. If there remaine a stock, he that hath the Ace of trumps may cast out foure cards and take the stock into his hands.

The foure Honors are the Ace, the King, Queene, and Knave. They that haue three haue two tricks, if you and yourpartner hauer them all foure, it is foure tricks, or 16 cards.

If either side be woning 8 tricks, he hath the benefite of calling, Can ye, which if they haue the honors in the following dealing then the game is vp: but if the partners forget to call tell a cast be playd, the benefite is lost for that dealing. Whisk is the same to Ruffe, leauing out the honors and onely makeing it a game by the playing of the cards with trumps, as aforesaid.

5. Bone-Ace, or one and thirty Bone-Ace, is a game that may be played with 8. 9. 10. or Lesse or more according as the cards will permitt. Euery gamster hath dealt to him 2 cards and the third turned vp, and so goes round. He that hath the biggest card carries the Bone, that is a third part of the stake (or an halfe if they lay not to the head). Here note that the Ace of the hearts is Bone-Ace, which being turned vp wins all the staks, both the bone the game and crowne if not, then by drawing of cards from the stock the neerest to 31. gaine the Game, if he be one and thirty wins the two thirds, as afore mencioned.

6. Put, and High Game. It is playd onely by two persons haueing one card apeece till there be three delt. Five vp or a put is the common game; he that hath a good game, puts to his Antagonest, if the other will not nor deare not se him; he giues him a cast: if he will se him then they play and whosoeuer gets two of the three tricks wits the game and all is vp. The Ace, duce, and Trey are the best cards at this game.

7. Lanterloo, is a game 3. 4. 5. 6. or more may play at it, he haveing the best put card deales, to whom he giues 5 cards apeece. Trumops are as at whisk the best cards. In play you must not revoke, and if you win neuer a card you are LooUd, and then must lay downe to stak so much for your fiue cards, as you plaid vpon them, and ther note that he who hath fiue cards of a shute in his hand LooUs all the rest, and sweeps the Board. If there be two LooUs the eldest hand carrieth it.

8. Noddy, and Cribbidge-Noddy. 2 or 4 persons may play at it, 61. being vp. Each person hath 3 cards and on turned vp to which he makes as many casts as he can.

They are thus markett, Flat back or King of Spads is six, Counteance or Queen of Hearts, four, Knave of the trumps 2, Knave of Hearts 5, a paire 4, paire Riall 12, a pare Taunt 24. Euery fifteene as you can make is 2, and euery twenty fiue is 2. In playing downe the cards you haue the same aduantage of 15. 25. paires &c. and the next to 31 hath 1 cast, if he make 31. there is 2 casts.

9. Penneech, this game hath 7 cards apeece, and a card turned vp which is Trump. Then play and he that wins the first trick turns vp an other card and that is trump; and so euery trick produceth a new turmp till all the seaven are playd.

An Ace or coate card of trumps are thus reconned, the Ace is 5. a King is 4. a Queene 3., and a Knave 2. and when the last card is won, a card is turned vp, which if a King, Queene, &c. they are reconned accordingly.

The 7 of diamons turned vp is penneech and reconned 1. and in hand 7. If diamond be trump then it wins all other cards, if not it wins all diamons.

For euery card you haue won more then your owne seavern, set downe one cast for euery card.

10. Post and Paire is a game played thus, first stake at Post, then at Paire, after deale two cards, then stake at the seat, and then deale the third card about.

The eldest hand may passe and com in againe, if any of the gamsters vye it, else the dealer may play it out, or double it. The Ace of trumps as at Ruffe is the best card, and so the rest in Order. At Post the best cards are 21. viz: two tens and an Ace, but a paire royall wins all, both Post, Paire and Seat.

Spualine an Irish game.

Aceum produceum.

There are diuers other games play vpon the acrds as the LUOmbre a Spanish game. All Foure, a game much used in Kent; the French Ruffe; Five cards an Irish game: costly colours. Witt and Reson a game so called. The Art of Memory. Plain-dealing, if any such game can be. Bank-fa-lett, and the Game at Beast, with diuerse petty things in cards more which were endlesse to reitterate, onely I haue giue a hint of these ten in most use about vs.

Termes used by Gamsters In the seueral Games at cards.

The generall laws of card playing.

Names giuen to false and chating cards.