THE TRI-BONES GAME

HISTORY
- EQUIPMENT - GAME SETUP - RULES - MYTH/ LORE

This simple, yet engaging game of the Antislar, is named Tri-bones because of the simple playing pieces used to play it. Small bone chips, about the size of a human palm, flat and carved into a triangle, are used. It is a game that can be played by children and adults alike and provides entertainment while developing strategic thinking.

The Tri-Bones Game

View picture in full size Picture description. An Antislar boy playing the tri-bones game. Image drawn by Seeker.

History. Tri-bones has been an Antislar distraction for hundreds of years. It is unknown who invented the game, though it is thought sailors first popularized the game in the holds of ships between their hours on duty. From there, the Antislar adopted the game as a national pastime. Eventually, the game spread to the south, becoming popular in the ports of Naurooth and Milkengrad, where sailors brought the game. From there, it continues to spread. Return to the top

Equipment. The only pieces required to play Tri-bones are a set of bones carved into triangle shaped flat chips of bone, though wooden sets are found as well as even a few stone sets and even more exotic material. Most of these sets are carved by the person who owns the set itself, as there is no Tri-bones industry. It is said that King Veddin has a set of tri-bones made from solid gold pieces. There are no standard sets, and some sets have as few as twenty pieces, while others may have a hundred or more. In Santharia, especially in Voldar, clay tri-bones are used. These are specialized sets, that are made with brightly covered backs. They can either be traditional, with the three symbol face, or be faceless pieces (see Myth/Lore).

Each of the tri-bone pieces is a flat, triangular piece. One side is plain, while the other side, called the Face has three symbols carved into it. On each of the face's three straight edges, there is carved a small symbol. There are animal symbols, from Tar’andus deer, Eanian wargs, packox, wison, caracal and more. There are plant symbols, azigoor tree, alicott bushes, azigoor fruit, alth'ho grass, hrugchuk flowers and many more. There are also a fewer number of soldier figures, Antislar, orc, elf and Remusian. The Remusian piece is also called by an assortment of derogatory terms; among them, The Demon, The Ass, and far worse. There must be at least one Remusian piece in each set, though there can be more. Lastly, there is the Koraya piece, which has a two faced profile on one of its sides. There can only be one Koraya piece. Larger sets usually have a greater variety of symbols, while smaller sets have only a few different symbols.

Optional pieces that are sometimes used, especially in the case of larger sets, are scoring beads. These are simply small stones used for keeping score. They can range from simple small stones to highly polished fancy gems. There must be at least one scoring bead for each tri-bone, and either ten extra for the Koraya piece, or a stone that differs in size or colour to be associated with the Koraya piece.
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Game Set-Up. Game setup is very simple. The tri-bones are placed in a leather bag and mixed up. One also needs a flat surface to play. The larger the number of tri-bones in the set, the larger the flat surface needed. Most sets need at least a ped by ped square surface.
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Rules. Tri-bones is a simple game. It is usually played by two or three people, though more may play. The more people playing means that a larger set of tri-bones is needed and the larger the playing area.

Myth/Lore. A hobby sometimes played by children, but sometimes adults too, is to set up their tri-bones on edge, one next to each other, then to push the first one over and to watch the rest fall in sequence. It can be as simple as a straight line of tri-bones, or can be elaborate design.

It is from this that the expression "fall like tri-bones" came from. During the Fifth Orcish War, General Lugallu once exclaimed, during a battle where Remusian archers had devastated his front lines, "Can we not stop those damnedable archers? They are felling my men like tri-bones." Since then, the expression has come to describe any circumstance where multiple items or men are felled.

In the city of Voldar in Vardưnn province, there is a contest held each spring where contestants each set up elaborate layouts of tri-bones. Then, as judges watch and score, the lead tri-bone is knocked over, and the design is revealed as the tri-bones fall in order. The most elaborate design wins. The most recent winner was a 12 ped long recreation of the Voldar coat of arms, with the tri-bones painted on their back so that when they fell, the coat of arms was revealed in full and proper colour. Many of these competitors use non traditional clay tri-bones that are brightly painted and fired to produce a ceramic tri-bone. These stylized tri-bones do not have the symbols on them, thus are not true playing pieces, but only share the shape. These can run a lot of money to purchase.
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 Date of last edit 27th Rising Sun 1670 a.S.

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