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Rithmomachy (wikipedia.org)
79 points by fogus on Dec 6, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

Holy cow. Seeing this here brings back a lot of memories.

The first serious coding I ever did was back in 1999 on a team that implemented parallelized, adaptive game-playing algorithms for this game on the Cray T3E.


Funny reading back through the paper:

The Cray T3E supercomputer is currently ranked the twenty-third fastest computer in the world. The Cray’s speed does not come from just one processor, however. The T3E gains its speed from 512 450-megahertz networked processors.

Wikipedia tends to be pretty poor on historical board games, as a lot of populist books have been written on the topic which focus more on entertainment rather than accuracy.

Here's an original source Fulke's period work on the topic: http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/fulke.html

And here's a reconstruction filling in gaps in Fulke using other primary sources: http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/game-recon-rhythbasics.html

thanks. if that's your page you may want to fix a small error - a "3" in the example on geomteric proportions should be "2".

Play it now. Here's a Java Web Applet (downloadable too): http://symbolaris.com/applet/Rhythmomachia.html

The first thought I had on seeing the rectangular board is that this would make a fine iPhone application. Thanks for the interesting find.

If you like this kind of game..

Why did people stop playing it?

Because it is boring to play. I once was on a study week on historical mathematical games with several historians of mathematics, and even we got bored of the game after an evening. It is designed to teach a certain medieval conception of composed numbers and not to be playable, so there are for example several pieces that are very hard to take by normal rules, because the opposite players has no pieces that combine to the required number for taking it.

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