A few years ago, after reading about it in Pappas’ Magic of Mathematics, I built a board and pieces for an ancient game similar to Chess, called Rithmomachia, the Philosopher’s Game, or Zahlenkampfspiel. Recently I brought the board out of mothballs. Here are some photos from todays game:
the white pyramid approaches
(Kevin left, me right)
we both have a bit of a headache now
For a quick guide I wrote up this document. It is useful while playing with new players.
For more info, Googling at random is not terribly effective, due to how obscure the game is, and how much misinformation is out there. Here are some reliable sources imo:
- The Yahoo! Group for Rithmomachia – There is an active discussion of the game taking place here and Stephen has translated several old texts on the game, which are available for download (thanks!).
- The Magic of Mathematics – This is where I first came across the game, and from what reference I built my set. You can search inside the book on Amazon.
- Wikipedia (German)
- Wikipedia (English) – very little information. Some day I will get around to a major re-write of this article, perhaps based on the well written German version.
At some point I will implement a PC version of the game, probably in C using old-school terminal graphics and i/o, that way it can be run on my ancient 386 laptop!