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About Celtic Board Games: The "Fidchell"

The "Fidchell"

But the "Brandub" was not the only strategy board game that Celts were used to play. There are several quotations on literature that make reference to the Gaelic "Fidchell" known as "Gwydbbwyll" by the Welsh, and "Gwezboell" by the Bretons.

Unfortunately there is no recount about the exact number of pieces which were used in this game. The name in both Irish and Welsh is a compound that can be translated to "wood sense"; the fact that the compound is identical in both languages demonstrates that the name is of extreme antiquity.

The legends describe the "Fidchell" as a game played by royalty, and even the gods. According to the Irish it was invented by Lugh, the Irish God of Light, and was played very skilfully by his son, the hero Cúchulainn. A series of "Fidchell" games also form an important episode in Tochmarc Étaíne (The Wooing of Étaíne).

This popular medieval game is certainly not a variant of the "Tafl" ones, since it was played with equal forces on each side, but a supposedly descendant of the medieval Roman game "Latrunculi" ("little soldiers") or "Ludus latrunculorum". It was played on a board with lines and squares. The pieces were of glass of different colours. Backward moves were allowed. The game was won by the player who succeeded in removing the most pieces. "Stone boards" have been found in Britain, as well as other parts of the Roman Empire and they were probably used for this game. These are generally 8 x 8, but the measurements vary.

In fact, in Wales, there is a clear distinction between the Tawlbwrdd and the Gwyddbwyll, which, if carried across to Ireland, would tend to indicate a similar distinction between the "Fidchell" and the "Brandub".

Note: The copyright holders of the "Tafl" games images cited on this Chapter, released their works into the public domain. This applies worldwide.

On the next post I will blog in detail about
"Board Game Families "
Stay Tuned!

Related Sources: 
The featured information and artworks belong to the “Battle Of The Trees” ™ Celtic Board Game  , a creative and inventive chase and battle game that retains part of the spirit of the ancient Irish "Brandub" and "Fidchell" board games.

One of its main features is that you may not only play it as a battle game, but also as a way for divination... You play as Gwydion, the bard and magician. “Lord of Knowledge” and “Lord of Trees”, and you will be responsible for animating the trees of the forest on their final quest.

 For further information about this game, I wrote a whole eBook as an extended version of the companion handbook, comprising the complete information upon the context and basis of “Battle Of The Trees” ™ Celtic Board Game, and now available on Kindle format at Amazon

Place an Online Order at its Official Site

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