The Fox and Geese Family

The Fox and Geese Family

The game of Fox and Geese dates back to the middle ages and is unusual in that the sides are unequal. The sly fox attempts to capture the multitudinous geese. Meanwhile, the geese try to hem the fox in so that he can't move.

At one time a popular pub game, these days Fox and Geese is less well known but it's a game that is both historical and fascinating.

 

Asalto - Seige game

Asalto - Seige game

Asalto is a member of a family of games of unequal sides, the most famous example of which is the medieval game of Fox and Geese. Asalto translates from Spanish into "Assault" and a military theme is typical of games of this ilk in general. Other si...

Fox and Geese - medieval leather board

Fox and Geese - replica medieval leather board with wooden pieces

The earliest definite record of Fox and Geese is in the accounts of Edward IV in the fifteenth century. It is quite possible that it derives from the earlier Icelandic and Viking games of inequality such as Tafl or Hala-tafl that date from pre-10th centu...

The Origin of Fox and Geese


Fox and Geese is a descendant of Tafl played on a cross shaped board. The first probable reference to an ancestor of the game is that of Hala-Tafl, the Fox Game which is mentioned in the Icelandic saga 'Grettis' which is believed to have been written after AD 1300 by a priest living in the North of the country. The next probable reference is in the accounts of the Royal Household of Edward IV of England (AD 1461-1483) for the purchase of two foxes and twenty-six hounds of silver over-gilt for two sets of Marelles. Finally, it has been suggested that a game called Freystafl which is mentioned in the later Iceland sagas might be one and the same as Fox and Geese.

You can learn more about the history of Fox and Geese from the Online Guide to Traditional Games.

 

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