by Gael Stirler
Dice have been found depicted in the tombs of ancient Egypt and were mentioned in the Old and New Testaments. Nearly every culture in the world has developed some form of randomizing toy for divination or games. Cube dice are the most popular but, over the centuries around the world dice have taken many shapes, including cylinders, cubes, straws, polyhedrons, spheres, and the knucklebones of sheep. You can even find fanciful dice in the shapes of animals, monsters and people.
|Knucklebone and dice|
In the middle ages dice makers gathered in formal craft associations called guilds. Dice gamblers even had a guild. Medieval dice were made from many different materials like bone, ivory, stone, precious metals, gems, clay, and wood. They were all handmade and were often carved in amusing or lewd designs. False dice and loaded dice were so common that many laws were issued regarding the illegal making, use, and possession of these cheaters' tools.
Both men and women practiced dice gaming in high and low society in the Renaissance. Preachers reviled gambling frequently in sermons filled with enough details that we can conclude dice games were immensely popular. The English military could not eliminate dice gaming, so rules were established limiting how much could be wagered depending on the rank of the soldier or officer.
A popular game, similar to those played in the time of Queen Bess, is known as Farkle. It is similar to Yahtzee and easy to learn. Add some period-style entertainment to your next event with this fun game that can be played by two or more players just about anywhere.
Farkle also known as 10,000
Needed:Six dice, pencil, & paper. A shaker cup is recommended. Any number of people can play. Teams of two or more can also play.
Optional variations that can liven up the game:
For information on the history of dice go to The Bone Rollers Guild
For the rules of Farkle in "The Queen's English" see The Game of Farkle which requireth six goode dise.
Scores in Farkle ---Click here and print this out for a hint card
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