Traditional Board Games

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Togyzkumalak Championship in Germany


21 Aug: A mancala game  from Kazakhstan, Togyzkumalak is played on a board of two rows of nine holes. In late July, players from more than ten countries met in Schweinfurt, Germany, for the European Champsionships of the game. Historically this game was played across much of central Asia, spreading from Kazakhstan to Mongolia and China in the east, and Afghanistan in the south.  The game increased in popularity after the fall of the Soviet Union, though tournaments have been held ... (read more...)

Colour Comes to Print-and-play Downloads


25 Apr: The first colour print-and-play file has been added to the web site. It is for Brandub, the hnefatafl game played in Ireland in early mediaeval times. Brandub is a combination of a battle and a hunt: on one side is a king, with four defenders. On the other are eight attackers. The king must escape to the corner of the board, while the attackers have to capture the king. I have been experimenting with making colour print-and-play over on ... (read more...)

New Game in Development: Konane


28 Mar: A new game is coming to the shop: konane. Expected to be ready in the next couple of weeks, the new set will have a board of ten rows of ten squares, populated by glass pieces. The game will bring a new style to the shop, using sturdy plywood with an attractive walnut veneer border. It has been some time since I added a new game to the shop, but this spell of inactivity is about to be broken. ... (read more...)

Happy New Year! A Review of 2014


1 Jan: The year just ended was a very active one here at Cyningstan. After a slow start, a newly redesigned web site brought the visitors coming back. The design was based on the highly-successful sister site, "Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings", updated and modified for the wider subject matter. The new site has expanded since then. A blog contains regular articles on traditional board games. Print-and-play games were added to the site, giving an easy way to try out ... (read more...)

Best Wishes for Christmas 2014

24 Dec: This year has been an interesting one here at Cyningstan. A new web site has brought a lot of attention to these wonderful old games. And in the autumn my new book brought some extra attention to twelve of them, which I hope will result in them being more widely played. I hope all fans of traditional board games have a wonderful Christmas. Rather than watch the television when the excitement of gift-giving has subsided, why not get friends ... (read more...)

Recent Book Features in Local Newspaper


20 Dec: Damian Walker's volume, A Book of Historic Board Games, has caught the interest of local newspaper the Hull Daily Mail. In an article on Thursday, the newspaper published details of the book and described a couple of the games, Tablut and Xiang Qi. A brief interview with Damian was condensed a bit further. The book, as the article states, is available through Amazon and Waterstones. Orders can also be placed on line through, which will probably be despatched ... (read more...)

The Agon Board Arrives!


13 Dec: Last week, I posted about my experiment of a laser etched Agon board. The purpose was twofold: I wanted to see the quality of the pieces produced by laser cutting and laser etching, and I also wanted an economical way to produce Agon, since hand building it is very time consuming. This Wednesday the board arrived, so I can share pictures as promised. The cutting is very clean as you'd expect for laser etching. Shading proved to be prohibitively ... (read more...)

Agon, and a New Style of Product


2 Dec: Last week on social media I asked for people's thoughts on product style. Specifically, would people prefer hand-made games with the rustic blemishes, or laser-edged precision? Responses in public and private indicated that some people would favour the precision. So I've started a little experiment. I've designed a board for laser etching and sent it off to a company here in the UK for production of a single prototype. If the resulting board is of good enough quality, I'll ... (read more...)

A Bibliography Update


29 Nov: The Bibliography of Traditional Board Games has just been updated. The Bibliography is a freely-downloadable PDF, containing references for over a thousand traditional board games. Concentrating on printed works as the name suggests, it helps researchers to find reliable sources of information on these games, and is useful in preparing books, web sites, rules leaflets for inclusion with games, and any other traditional board game project. The current update, the first since June, incorporates my new book A Book ... (read more...)

New Book Examines Board Games in Depth


8 Nov: Damian Walker has written and published a new book about traditional board games. Entitled "A Book of Historic Board Games", it examines twelve games in depth, discussing their history, their rules, and some strategy. The games are taken from roughly 4,000 years of history, and from all around the world. All kinds of ancient games are included: race games and battle games with and without a luck element, and hunt games and row-building games. The earliest of the games ... (read more...)

Viking Game a Hit at Local Arts Festival


26 Aug: Hnefatafl, the Game of the Vikings, proved popular at the Princes Avenue Festival held in Hull on Saturday. The stall was kept busy all afternoon, with festival visitors discussing, playing and buying the game. Pronounced "neffa-taffle", the hnefatafl was invented by the Vikings and played all over Northern Europe. The stall was the idea of Damian Walker, a local enthusiast of the game. Hnefatafl sets were on display, and passers-by were invited to play a game or two. The ... (read more...)

Tablan: a New Game in the Shop


24 Jul: Since a friend and I played tablan recently, I've been looking forward to adding the game to the shop. Now the first batch of sets has been completed, and you can buy one for only £11.99 plus postage and packing. It's made in the same style as most of the games in the shop: a board of Russian redwood, with glass pebbles as pieces: red and yellow in this case. Since many of the throws result in no move, ... (read more...)


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