Approximately 380 years ago, a friend stupidly decided to lend me a copy of this book. Initially I carefully avoided reminding him of that fact, because I didn’t want him to ask for it back. Then I carefully avoided reminding him of that fact because I temporarily misplaced it. Eventually, though, it reappeared and it turned out he was fine with me keeping it for the time being.
I love this book an awful lot. And over the years, I’ve hatched (and dismissed) many plans of recreating some of the games in it. This summer I spent some time thinking about it properly, and folks, hold onto your pants, coz this thing is happening fo’realz.
For quite a while, what held me back was the board. Well, and the playing pieces, but mostly the board. I liked the idea of a nice wooden thing, but frankly, woodworking isn’t my thing. Much as I’d like it to be. Now that I’ve arrived at my grand idea, I can’t work out why felt hadn’t occurred to me earlier.
The first game I completed is a bengali game called Baghbandi. In this two tigers try to kill twenty goats, whilst the goats try to block the tigers from being able to move. I made it as a combined test run and housewarming present, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.
The felt I used is actual real natural coloured wool felt, rather than the synthetic crap I usually use, and the lines are stitched-on embroidery floss. Also, I discovered fairly recently that you can sand and varnish cured fimo (who knew? More importantly, who can be arsed?) (Me, these days, actually), so my goats and tigers are not very goat- or tiger-shaped, but shiny.
I’ve got loads more games earmarked for production. The one I’m currently working on is Hneftafl, a Viking strategy game. It’s quite large and I’ve got superfancy embroidery planned for the edges, so watch this space.
I’m having a lot of fun just arsing about with stuff for this project at the moment. One game requires horses, so I made a somewhat kack-handed attempt at whittling. Also, nettle string! A couple of years ago I already played about with making nettle thread, but kinda failed. But nettle string is easy! It’s quite tough, so it may not work the way I want it to, but it may well make an appearance in the embroidery.