THE GAME OF THE GOOSE
researched by Modar Neznanich
The origin of this game is disputed. According to Franck Frederick, in the June 6, 1992 issue of Parabola magazine, the game is of probable German in origin and dates to 1471. Ellie Ide, author of the book Sheltered Rose Book of Medieval Games claims it is Florentine in invention and was noted there prior to 1587, and that in 1597, it reached England. Jeffrey A. DeLuca, author of Medieval Games states that the game was invented in the 16th century for Francesco de Medici (a Florentine) who sent a copy to Phillip II of Spain. From there, it spread throughout Europe. R.C. Bell, noted game expert and author of Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, comments that it was a spiral game that reached its height in popularity during the 1700s (particularly in France).
Whatever the true origin, the game is an easy game to learn, yet is immensely fun for all ages. The game is played on a spiral course of 63 spaces or points, consecutively numbered. Certain special-marked spaces add either a bonus or a penalty to a player's move. Any number of players can play. Each player needs a uniquely marked, colored or shaped playing piece. Each player places their single playing piece on the starting area. Play is commenced by each player, in turn, advancing his piece by the throw of two cubic (6-sided) dice to space number 63, where it was borne off. The first player borne off, wins.
To bear (or be borne) off, the playing piece has to land on 63 exactly. If the number thrown is higher than necessary, the surplus is counted backwards from the number 63 space. (If the backward move happens to land the piece on a special-marked point that "advanced" movement, the piece continues moving on backwards, instead. At the player's next turn, he could resume his forward movement.)
Most of the special-marked points have a goose on them, hence the name of the game. Landing on a goose allows the player to move his piece the same amount of the roll again, and continue doing such until he no longer landed on a goose. (i.e. If you rolled a 6 and by moving 6 spaces, you landed on a goose, you move 6 more spaces.) Because there is a goose on every multiple of nine, a throw of nine on the first roll would allow a player to advance immediately to space 63 and win, a special rule was made. If a nine is rolled on the first throw, the player advances his piece to space 26 if the numbers on the dice were 6 & 3. If the numbers on the dice were 4 & 5, the piece advanced to space number 53. From these spaces, the player would continue the game. Other special-marked spaces, had different effects.
The special-marked spaces, and their affect on play are:
|5||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|6||Bridge||Move to space number 12|
|9||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|14||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|18||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|19||Inn||Lose 2 turns (One drinking, one getting sober)|
|23||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|26||Dice||Placement of playing piece if player rolls 6 & 3 on first roll|
|27||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|31||Well||Lose 1 turn (Getting refreshing drink)|
|32||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|36||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|41||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|42||Maze||Go back to space number 30 (Got lost in maze)|
|45||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|50||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|52||Prison||Lose 1 turn (Arrested! What did you do?)|
|53||Dice||Placement of playing piece if player rolled 4 & 5 on first roll|
|54||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|58||Skull||You died!! Go back to starting point and begin again!!!!|
|59||Goose||Repeat movement until not on a goose|
|63||Winning Point||(Must land exactly on it.)|
There are no captures in the game. Pieces may pass other pieces. If a piece finishes its move on a space already the occupied by a second piece, the second piece is moved back to the space the first piece began its turn on. (i.e. If a player who has a piece on space 20, rolls a 4 he moves his piece to space 24. If space 24 has an opponent's piece on it, the opponents piece is moved back to space 20, and the player's piece remains on space 24.)
Alternate Rule: At its height, the game became a gambling game. Each player made an ante, then each time any player landed on a special-marked space, each player added to the ante. The first player to be borne off, won the pool.
Permission to Print.
H.L. Modar Neznanich, CLM, CSH, CT, CCC
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