THE DAGGERS DOWN GAME

HISTORY - EQUIPMENT - GAME SET-UP - RULES

Board game about tossing of knives, which is popular throughout all provinces of Santharia, played especially among armed humans.

History. The origins of this game are believed to have been in the dunes of the Rahaz-Dath deserts, where the nomadic tribesmen of the Shendar, after eating with their long knifes, began idly tossing them into the sand and making bets on whether they would stay upright or not (a game still played today under the title of "Springal"). Eventually the concept of a board evolved to help track the throws, and the design was easy to scratch out in the packed sand or dirt of a nomadic compound. While the names of each type of cast have come down to us unchanged, it is likely that the "helms" are a fairly recent refinement added by our nobles and warriors, as such protective headgear was unknown to the nomads.

At present this game is popular among every class, from children playing with sticks in their courtyards to the wealthy merchants who use elaborately gilded letterknifes and oversized frosted cakes to play Daggers Down as a party entertainment. It is most commonly seen, along with Astragals, in outdoor areas played by those who usually handle weapons daily, such as guards, soldiers, and mercenary warriors. Experts often add an extra level of difficulty to the game by requiring that casts fall in a certain place on a second scratched gameboard made up of concentric circles like a target, or sometimes shaped like a human body. It is whispered that the game has taken on yet another, darker significance, among certain corrupt lords and those who dabble in necromancy but fortunately we cannot confirm those reports. Daggers Down sets are available in almost every market place in a variety of styles and materials, many handcarved, some handforged by smiths as model weapon samples, some gold and set with gems to catch the eye of the rich. It is exclusively a human game, although dwarves are said to have a similar throwing game involving hand axes.
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Equipment. In order to play Daggers Down the following equipment is necessary:

1.)
4 "daggers" (can be as simple as sharpened sticks, or as elaborate as carved wooden knives)
2.) 4 "helms" per player (any kind of marking token. Bone, stone, button, or miniature models)
3.) 1 "Daggers Down" board (can be sketched in the dirt, or illuminated on parchment)
4.) Dirt, or a sand table for the nobility.
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Game Set-Up. The game starts with all helms on "Castle". A player throws the daggers downward from about four fores above the surface. Depending upon the number of daggers that remain upright in the dirt or sand, the player can move one of his helms around the game board. A fairly unique refinement on this tossing game is that each possible cast has its own name associated with it. The name is called aloud as the player moves.

Daggers Down Throws

Name

Constellation

Game Move

"Scatheless" all daggers fallen do not move
"Nick" one dagger up, three fallen move one space
"Scratch" two daggers up, two fallen move two spaces
"Cut" three daggers up, one fallen move three spaces
"Wound" all four daggers up move four spaces Return to the top

Rules. The following rules have to be obeyed when playing Daggers Down:

1. Only 1 helm can be moved each time the daggers are thrown.
2. If a helm lands on a corner spot, the player can take a shortcut back towards the Castle through the middle of the playing board.
3. Players who throw "Scatheless" or "Wound" may throw again.
4. If two helms belonging to one player land on the same space, they may move
together.
5. If a helm lands on a space occupied by another player’s helm, the other player’s
helm is sent back to the Castle and must begin again, and the first helm throws again.
6. The first player to get all of his helms round the board and back into the Castle is the winner.
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