Traditional Board Games


Madelinette is a game of blockade. Two players each control three pieces. Players move their pieces in turn from one point to an adjacent unoccupied point, trying to block the other. The player who first cannot move loses the game. The historicity of this game is now under doubt.

History of Madelinette

In many games, a player is awarded an incidental victory by trapping his opponent such that the opponent has no legal move. There are a few games in which this is the primary aim, one of which is madelinette. In Asia there is a game called (in English) horseshoe, the simplest of this type of game. In Europe, a slightly larger game with the same rules was devised, called madelinette.

Little information has been recorded about this game, and so its history is sketchy. A mediaeval board in the Hull & East Riding Museum is labelled as three men's morris but bears a closer resemblance to the madelinette board. It is described in J. & J. Loader's 1993 book "Making Board, Peg & Dice Games."

Rules for Madelinette

Rules for Madelinette
Madelinette is played on a board of seven points, joined by lines as shown in the diagram.

1. The game is played by two players, each having three pieces, which start the game on the edges, again as in the diagram.

2. Players decide between themselves, at random or by agreement, who will move first.

3. Each player in his turn moves a piece from its point, along a marked line, to an adjacent empty point.

4. There is no jumping as found in other games, nor is there capture.

5. The game is over when one of the players is trapped and cannot move. His opponent is declared the winner.


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