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  • Jeffrey Pacitto

    June 2, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Inspiration struck today on my commute and I thought it would be a great idea to design a game within the confines of a medieval/fantasy/ancient setting. Similar to the royal game of Ur, or Senet, or Tak from The Kingkiller Chronicles, a game that could have been physically made without any modern technology. It’s an interesting constraint, and a great way to push your mind into a simple-yet-fun realm!

    I built my idea into a TTS demo and IMHO I think it actually kinda works as a plausible “game from history”. I’ll post a video of me playtesting it if anyone’s interested, or if we can sync up we can have a quick try of it sometime.

    What about the rest of you all? Does this design constraint spark any imaginative ideas?

  • Tim Gee

    June 2, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    It cracked me up when you went from ‘made without any modern technology to ‘built my idea in TTS’!

    I think it’s a great design limitation because it brings everything back to gameplay. It seems a lot of Kickstarters try to garner attention through fancy components rather than solid gameplay.

    What if you add in you have to be able to remember all the rules because the printing press isn’t invented.

    • Jeffrey Pacitto

      June 3, 2021 at 5:24 am

      Oh trust me, I snickered when I wrote that TTS bit too!
      Yes! Definitely the rules need to be brief enough to be memorized quite easily. And memorized by the average person, as I’m sure some people know the complete rules sets of many complex games! I’m thinking checkers-simple, one-sentence-style rules.
      Okay maybe two, the one I’m working on needs two sentences!😁

  • Mark Brandow

    June 3, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    I have been thinking about this type of game ever since a local game store Tafle opened. It is named after a Viking game(s). I never got very far because I always thought of it as an abstract game, which is not my forte.
    It is a cool limitation though

    • Jeffrey Pacitto

      June 3, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      I saw a great video with Tom Scott on how to play The Royal Game of Ur and it really got me interested in these ancient, sometimes lost games. The small controversy over how to play the Egyptian games Senet was fun to follow too (the modified rules and play style I thing seems much more accurate and plausible). I tried checking out some others too but they seemed either boring or nonsensical to me…maybe I’m just not smart enough game-knowledge-wise to get them. Either way it’s fun to see what was or may have been way back when!

    • Arthur Wohlwill

      June 3, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      When I was a teen, I owned Breakthru which was a 3M version of the Ancient Norse game. I did like it then.

  • Jeffrey Pacitto

    June 9, 2021 at 11:35 am

    If anyone is interested, here’s my brief play-through of the game I designed around this “Ancient Game” theory…as you can tell in the video, it’s still somewhat a WIP but the core of it is there!

    • Bill Murphy

      June 9, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      I like it. Has lots of potential. I like the idea of sticks and stones. Hit me up for a play test if you like

      • Jeffrey Pacitto

        June 10, 2021 at 7:35 am

        Thanks for the offer Bill, I’ll join your Discord and add your name to my contacts here, hopefully we can find some time to meet up for a quick game or two of these Ancient (fake) games!

  • Sebastian Dersch

    June 9, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    Ah, reading of another’s interest/experimentation in this brings me much joy! I have always loved the games of ages passed and those that imitate their style. Though the intensity of the eldest games varies considerably, they all have an inspiring amount of depth, and a habit of bringing forth poetry/metaphors.

    It’s awesome to see games like Tsuro and Tellstones being released, games that can be easily imagined played in a fantasy/medieval setting,….

    Long ago, a friend and I created a world of magic and monsters, a world that soon filled with stories and characters that-ah, anyways, recently, I designed a game that fused concepts found in Chess, Go, and Shogi while being a reminder of that world’s early history. I quite enjoyed taking elements from stories written for that world and allowing them to become a part of the game. Though, I must confess my recent creation has remained nameless,…

    Just as you did, I used TabletopSim to create a digital copy of what I thought up, though as a result of my inability to properly explain the rules, during its first (and so far only) test, my opponent made an ‘illegal’ move which I somehow missed,…I didn’t realize anything was amiss until the late-game when another was made through the same misunderstanding.

    Anyways, good luck with Sticks And Stones, it really looks quite cool!

    • Jeffrey Pacitto

      June 10, 2021 at 7:34 am

      I love the idea that thousands of years ago someone played virtually the same thing I’m playing!

      I also love the idea of a game made up in a fantasy realm. I broke down and bought myself a (somewhat expensive) copy of Tak from the Patrick Rothfuss series of books. I love when that sort of thing happens, and a made-up game from a made-up world can translate to the real world. Often times things are glossed over so the real-world implementation isn’t quite up to snuff, but with simple style games like these they can work in the real world and that’s awesome!

      I actually just spitballed another one on my drive in to work today and before I even finished decided on the specific mechanic of movement I had developed a crude “history” of the game moving from ancient Egyptian roots to a more “westernized” style in Europe where the themes changed while the mechanics stay the same. I’ll try to TTS it in the next day or so and drop a clip of it here for all us nerds to enjoy!

      Or maybe once I have the mechanics properly figured out I’ll hit up @Bill and jam a game or two of it!

  • Bill Murphy

    June 9, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    Check out Sinoda at or our discord
    It is a preview of an abstract game with D4s we are working on. Getting some good feedback. One marketing idea, I call it the brown look. Is simple enough and has the feel like it has been around for centuries.

  • Jeffrey Pacitto

    June 15, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    So I’ve had another revelation about Ancient Games, and maybe this isn’t a positive, but here it goes:
    I was stuck on a specific way to move the pawns in another ancient game I’m working on, and had 3 different ways to do it. Deciding which was best or most authentic proved difficult, and that’s when I realized there is often contention when it comes to specifics in ancient games. Often a handful of alternative game play theories exist. So why not “discover” this particular old game with multiple play methods that are “contested” as to the “authentic” way to play?

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