Rithmomachia

The Latin for Rithmomachia is “The battle of numbers” but this game involves more than just numbers. It’s also about geometry, harmonics and logic. And it’s fun, what more could you ask for, (well I can think of some things also). Sometimes referred to as “The Philosophers Game”, it probably originated in about the 11th century. The inventors of the game are not known and although sometimes Pythagoras and Greece are talked about, the game was probably invented by monks in Germany or France where it also has a modern following. There were periods of time where the game seems to have been completely forgotten but at other times it was more popular than chess. It can be found being played in England today also but by what rules? Often in it’s history it has been thought of as a game for intellectuals and/or the elite. And why not continue to consider it such?

There have been few manuscripts describing the game, but from what we know it was played on a double size chess board (8 x 16) laid lengthwise between the two players. The pieces had a rather odd starting alignment as shown. The two sides were referred to as even and odd rather with even moving first.