Board games: #03 Tabvla, The Roman Game

The roman game, also known as Tabula or Tabvla was created by a greek soldier of the trojan war who so happened to be named Alea (the word alea meaning ‘chance’).  This game is said to be closely related to backgammon which is one of the oldest board games made for two players, and is also a decendant of Ludus duodecim scriptorum or also known as XII scripta.

The rules of the game are still unclear to me as I personally found the game difficult to get my head around although its possible that there are more simplified versions of this game. The main aim of the game is for the winner to ‘bare off’ all fiften stones, he can do this by moving his stones across the board depending on the number the dice has given him and taking into account variables such as throwing a double.

This game had a few issues to begin with as people weren’t willing to play due to the readability of the rules as they were long and boring. This made me feel as if the novelty of the game wore off for people as they weren’t willing to invest time into attempting to learn something they didn’t previously know; I found this emotion understandable as I consider myself an individual who would invest time to learn a game although the readability of the rules made this extremely difficult. Considering the design of the game, I think the game is designed for older users who are maybe familiar with the game previously and has a niche market.  I think to improve the game for the individuals within my group simpler or clearer versions of the current rules would have to be used to reduce confusion or conflict on deciding the rules. It would also make the game easier for people to gain a state of flow.

After speaking with Gareth he made the point that people were unable to relate to the game hence why they may have been quick to dismiss it but if we were to make alterations to the current game such as something as easy as changing the skin to something we enjoy or relate too, how quickly our opinion and attitude to playing it would change. For example the game roman is similar to the game monopoly so people who play monopoly will probably relate the game roman and will have fun playing it. For those who have never played monopoly, just simply changing the skin of the game such as using characters or objects in an environment in which the player is used too would be enough to entice a player to play roman unknowingly.

As previously noted, the game roman made people fall into worry/anxiety as the skill required was low but the challenge was too difficult as people became quickly confused thus people dismissing the game and commenting on the game before successfully playing a match. This is interesting to see how quickly people dismiss the game without applying themselves as much as possible despite rewards being in place for the winner gaining points for the game in the class. I personally found the game interesting and definately challanging once we managed to decide on the rules and all being on the same page. In future if I was to play the game again, it would be with someone who understood the rules previously as explaining them can be confusing especially to those who are unfamiliar with similar games, but also that I could get a better understanding for the game myself as even I found the game difficult.

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