Traditional Board Games

An Interesting Addition to the Print & Play Page

Game sheet from the Tâb Print-and-play file.
Game sheet from the Tâb Print-and-play file.

Friday, 27th June 2014

Recently I've been investigating the interesting Egyptian game of tâb. It's not an ancient game, it's a mediaeval game which was played around the Islamic world till at least the 1820s: a run of more than half a millennium. Its history after that period hasn't been traced, at least not in English, as far as I know.

Tâb isn't yet listed among the games of this site: it's on my to-do list. I need to make a board of my own (I've been playing on a friend's set until now) and possibly some for the shop. In the mean time, you can get the game from the Print & Play section of the web site - see elsewhere on this page.

The game is related to one already on this site: tablan. Tablan is from India, and is a combination of a war game and a race game. Pieces move along a set track in accordance to the throws of casting sticks. Landing on an enemy captures it and takes it out of the game. The winner isn't the player who reaches the finish first, but the player who makes it with the most pieces.

Tâb is more unambiguously a war game. There is no finish line - pieces continue to circulate around the track until one player has lost all of their pieces. Tab involves a little more decision-making than tablan; there are points in the route where you can choose a route, and stacking and unstacking are also featured.

It's a fun game, perhaps a little luck heavy, but not bad for some light two-player entertainment. Print one out for yourself and give it a try!


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