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Games


Goreans enjoy a wide assortment of games. Some games encourage the development of desirable traits in the young. Some games assist in growth in strength, agility and swiftness. There are games that encourage the development of thinking and dexterity skills. Goreans enjoy gambling in all games.

Ball and Quiva: Tuchuk children play with a cork ball. One throws the ball, while the other attempts to strike it with a quiva.

Bat and Ball: There are two men on each side, and the object is to keep the ball out of the hands of the other team. No one man may hold the ball for more than the referee’s count of twenty. He may throw it into the air, over his head, and catch it again himself. The ball may be thrown to a partner or struck to him with the bat. The bat drives the ball with incredible force. This is something like a game of "keep away" with two men in the middle.

The first "knock off" is when the ball is served to the enemy. A man can be hit by a ball driven from the opponent’s bat. This is a common trick. It is very difficult to intercept or protect oneself from a ball struck with great speed from a short distance. There is a variation similar to ice hockey using paddles and played on ice.

Ball Toss: There is a cloth ball, stuffed with rags, that is thrown about.

Bean Race: Several slaves are lined up on hands and knees. Each must push a bean with her nose across a finish line yards away. Men commonly place bets on the race.

Bones: Each player, in turn, drops a bone, one of several in his supply. Each of the bones is carved to resemble an animal, such as an arctic gant, a northern bosk, a lart, a tabuk or sleen, and so on. The bone which remains upright is the winner. If both bones do not remain upright there is no winner on that throw.

If both bones should remain upright, they are dropped again. A bone which does not remain upright, if its opposing bone does remain upright, is placed in the stock of the one whose bone remained upright. The game is finished when one of the two players is cleaned out of bones.

Cat's Cradle: This is similar to the Earth finger string game. Girls face one another while kneeling. With string arranged around their fingers, they create intricate designs. Northern girls are very skilled at this game.

Cups and Pebbles: Similar to Earth's "shell game," this game involves guessing. Small, inverted metal cups are used. A coin, pebble, or small object is supposedly placed beneath one of the cups. They are then moved about, rapidly. The odds are with the “house,” so to speak, especially when the coin or pebble is not placed under one of the cups. This is a game that lends itself well to slight-of-hand manipulations.

Dice: There are numerous forms of dice games played on Gor. Many games are commonly played with from one to five dice. The knuckle bones of a verr are usually used to create dice. They then have their marks painted on them. This is done to try to make sure that they are fair.

Scooping out numbers on the side may not be fair, since the amounts scooped out may not be equal, meaning the dice will not roll fairly. Some do try to scoop out equal amounts. Some cities make these type of dice and sell them in sealed boxes. The dice have supposedly been cast 600 times and their results were close to mathematical probability. Loaded dice are used by some unscrupulous people.

Each number on a die is called by the name of an animal though not all of these names were given in the books. "Larl" is the maximum high on the die rolled, basically a six. An "urt" is the lowest value, a one. A "verr" would equal a roll of a four. A "sleen" exists but it is not stated what value it represents. There are two unknown animal designations as well.

Girl Catch: This is a popular game played in a variety of ways on Gor. It can be informal or very formal. In the basic game, a slave girl is hooded and belled. She is then let loose for hooded men to seek and capture. It is forbidden for the girl to stand still for a certain interval, commonly a few Ihn. She is under the control of a referee who uses a switch to encourage her to move and to mark her position.

Slaves try to hone their evasive skills in this game and some girls get quite skilled at it. In another form of the game, it requires one hundred men and one hundred women. The object is to capture as many women as possible and place them into your Girl Pit while protecting your own women. In these large games, free women often play.

Kaissa: This is probably the favorite board game on Gor. The word "kaissa" is the general Gorean word for "game." But, when used without qualification, it means only one game, Gorean chess. It is played similar to Earth chess, the object being to capture one's opponent's Home Stone. Almost all civilized Goreans, of whatever caste, play Kaissa. There are many clubs and competitions. Most libraries have many scrolls on strategy and techniques.

Meat Catch: Slave girls are knelt in a line, hands bound at their backs. Each slave, one at a time, is thrown a piece of meat. If the girl catches it, her Master scores two points. If the meat is missed, all girls scramble on their bellies for it, the winner scoring one point for her Master. Men commonly bet upon the game.

Soccer Game of the Red Hunters: The game is similar to soccer. A leather ball is used with goals established, either drawn, set or agreed upon. Groups of people play the ball to the opposition's goal in order to score.

Spear Throw: This seems to be a martial skill game involving the distance a spear is thrown.

Staff Contest: A contest where men spar with staffs.

Stones: This is also known as guess stones. It is a guessing game where a certain number of stones are held in the hand, usually two to five, and you must guess the number. You get a point for a correct guess and you can then try again. If you guess wrong, your opponent gets a turn. The game ends when one person reaches a set number of points, usually fifty. There are many variations of this game. It may also be done by guessing even or odd number of stones.

Any small objects may be used such as stones, beads or even gems. There are even intricately carved and painted game boxes containing carefully wrought "stones" for the affluent enthusiast. The game is not simply an idle past time. There are numerous psychological subtleties and strategies involved. Tournaments are held and certain people are known as champions at the game. Entire estates have been known to change hands over a game.

Tag: Much like the Earth game.

Wineskin Balance: A wineskin is filled with wine and greased. Men try to stand, balanced, on it for an ehn. The winner, who accomplishes this, gets the wine. Sometimes, the winner may have a choice of prizes. There is a small fee to play, usually a tarsk bit.

Zar: This is a board game common in the Tahari. It bears some similarities to the Earth game of checkers. Zar uses a Kaissa board but the pieces are placed only on the intersections of the lines. Each player has nine pieces, of equal value, which are originally placed on the intersections of the board's edge closest to the player. The corners are not used in placement.

The pieces are commonly pebbles, sticks or bits of verr dung. Pieces move one intersection at a time unless jumping. One may jump an opponent's pieces or one's own. A jump must be made to an unoccupied point. Multiple jumps are permitted. The object of the game is to effect a complete exchange of the original placements. The first person to do so wins.




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