Written by Drunken Duck Game Croupier , THL Elspeth Clerk
There is more than just drinking that can happen in a Tavern. Bardic activities can fit nicely into a medieval tavern, if your patrons aren’t too loud and rowdy. But gambling and gaming go very well with drinking. However, period games can fall into several categories and not all period games will work well in a tavern environment.
This week we take a quick look at Casino vs. Tavern games, and I’ll give you a fun game at the end. Casino games are games in which there need to be a person actually running the game, someone who understands exactly how the game works. It’s not a good idea to just hand the instructions and playing equipment to someone to go off and play a Casino game. An example of this is Blind Dice, or any gambling “game” that requires slight of hand work. Some of the more complex card games, while not strictly Casino games, can fall into this category, because someone needs to understand how they are played. Now Casino games can work in a tavern, if you have someone to run them.
Tavern games are those games in which you can handle the instructions and playing equipment to anyone to go play the game. These can be multi-player games like Gluckhaus, Game of the Goose, or Viking Dice; or two person games, like the majority of period board games.
If you don’t want to carry a number of board games and the accompanying game pieces, you could create your own book of rules for dicing games, paired with several sets of dice and dice cups, to have available in your tavern. Or a book of card games with several sets of period playing cards.
A fairly popular game in the SCA right now is Glückshaus, which means “House of fortune” in German. This game was played throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. It is usually played on a board with numbered squares, but you can easily create a “board” using playing cards or on paper.
Any number of people can play. Players can enter or exit the game at any time without disrupting play. It is easiest to play if players are allowed to gamble with anything they feel has value, such as SCA coins, beads, or pieces of jewelry, and every piece has the same value. Play endures until a player wishes to stop or can no longer afford to play. I usually allow a person one more turn after they run of the “coin” because they could win big on their next roll.
Players take turns casting 2 six-sided dice. Common rolls cost or earn small amounts. The most common roll, 7, always results in a loss. The rarest rolls, 2 or 12, result in gain most of the time.
This is how I explain the game.
- Roll the dice.
- If there is nothing on that space, you put something there. If there is something, you take it.
- Unless you roll a 7. You always put something on the 7, because that is the Wedding, and you never come to a wedding empty-handed.
- If you roll a 2, you are a Lucky Pig. You get everything on the board, EXCEPT the wedding, because pigs are never invited to weddings.
- If you roll a 12, you are the King. You get everything on the board, INCLUDING the wedding, because nothing can be denied the King.
- Now, if you roll a 2 or a 12 and there is nothing for you to take, you place a coin on the corresponding space.”
- The majority of extant boards do not include a 4. House rules determine what happens when you roll a 4.
- Some rules include losing a turn, or having to pay the House (the person who owns the board). Silly rules work too, like, the player who rolls a 4 must stand until their next turn, or must loudly announce “This drink is the best I’ve ever had.”
Pictures coming as soon as we can fix out PHP and database.