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Subject: About the Nestorgames publication rss

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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
As just announced, nestorgames has released a set for this game. That set is based on a write-up of the rules that I submitted to the company. I don't know how much detail I can go into right now on the specifics of the game, but here is an overview.

Petteia was the name of a game played in antiquity by the Greeks, in all likelihood from as far west as Spain to as far east as India. Other peoples played the game too, whether they learned the game from the Greeks or in some other way. The Romans were among those who also played the game, although I'm inclined to the view they learned it from the Greeks in southern Italy-- the area known as Magna Graecia. The Japanese still play a couple of different versions of the game to this day.

My description of the rules arises from my historical research into the game. Just as Linnaeus' observation of Tablut in play allows us to fill in the gaps in the rules for other Tafl games, so the Japanese games allow us to fill in the gaps of the ancient Greek and Roman versions of the game. Even among the Greeks or among the Romans, rules varied because "house rules" were the only rules in the sense that rules were neither written down nor standardized. We have allusions to the rules and descriptions of the game, enough to have a pretty good overall picture of the game. Yet no one ever to our knowledge completely described the rules of the game in detail.

My response to this fact was to choose a board and pieces unearthed most often at archaeological finds. Since a few different versions of the rules seem to be attested, I've tried to present each of these. All of them have been play-tested. I present them as historical reconstructions, but I am confident of their historicity.

We also know that later games, like the Tafl games evolved from this game. So, I've also included a couple of games which are not historically attested except in the sense that we know the end-points of the evolutionary process. Logically something very like them probably existed, and in that sense they are also historical re-constructions, but I do not claim they are based on documentary evidence. To that extent, these last games are speculative. The others, the versions of Petteia, are not.
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