Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fox and Geese - Pilgrim Games

It's that time of year, when the best way to pass a cold, blustery afternoon is to stay inside with a board game.

And if the game happens to be Fox and Geese, a 17th century strategy game, possibly even enjoyed by Pilgrim adults and children alike, at least according to the historians at Plimoth.org, where we found the template for the board below, so much the better.

There are several different ways to set up the game, using buttons, beads, seeds, or even rocks for playing pieces...

...but the basic premise of the game is usually the same.

One player, the fox (playing with the black button in our case), removes or "eats" the geese of his opponent (the red beads on our board), by jumping over them checker style, and removing them from the board.

The second player, using the geese, tries to trap the fox into a position where it can't move or jump. Players get one move per turn, alternating play back and forth, until all the geese are gone, or the fox is trapped.

The fox can move or jump vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, but the geese can only move vertically, or horizontally.

The pictures above and below show two different starting positions for the pieces, using one fox and 17 geese, but the game can also be played with only 15 geese, and there is a version using two foxes.

You can use the board, set up as below, for a slightly different game of solitaire, where the object is to jump one piece over another, removing jumped pieces, until only one piece remains (we have yet to manage it).

Fewer pieces can be used, ignoring the outer spaces, for slightly easier play.

You can even play an online version of the game at MIStupid.com. Just imagine what the Pilgrim's would think of that!

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Ticia said...

I'm familiar with the solitaire version of hte game. My boys got a Captain America version a year or so ago that has scenarios for set-up that has similar play. Now I want to try the fox and geese version.

Kendra said...

Oh, must try this. We just learned to play Nine Men's Morris after an amazing Colonial study!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Kendra - Be warned, it's very addictive!

Phyllis said...

What a great game to play on cold November evenings by the fire!

Debbie said...

This sounds like a real fun game.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Very interesting. I think we have a version of this game in a big box of German board games.