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Archive for the tag “medieval”

Making your medieval game

Last time I posted I promised that I would post instructions for how to make up the games into an easy format to carry around in your bag or basket. It has been longer than I anticipated as it turns out study took up more of my time than I expected. So here is my long awaited instructions on how I make up the games. This is by no means the only way to do this. I have chosen this method as a compromise between something relatively pretty and durable but also time efficient as I plan to sell the finished product and people can’t afford the sort of prices I would have to charge to justify things like hand sewing.


1 yd of 7 Medieval Board Games from
1 fat quarter of Instructions for 7 Medieval Games from
Backing fabric in your preferred colour 30cm (12″) square for most games or a 30cm x 60cm (12″ x 24″) rectangle for Senet or Tables
Cord or string to tie it up into a bundle.
Tokens appropriate for the game/s you’re making (see the list in my last post).


Step 1.Step 1. Cut out the game

Step 1. Cut out the individual games. If you buy one yard of the game fabric you will have one copy of all of seven games you will need to cut each one out along the dotted lines.


Step 2.

Step 2. Cut out the backing fabric.

Step 2. You will also need to cut a piece of fabric for backing the same size as the game board, I like to colour code my backing fabric so that I can easily tell which game is which.

The game I’m making in these photos is Fox and Geese so I decided to use red as my backing colour.



Step 3.

Step 3. Sew right sides together

Step 3. To begin sewing lay the game board and the backing fabric right sides together and then sew around the edge leaving a gap in the middle of one edge to allow you to turn it right sides out once you have finished. As this gap is also where you will insert the ties to keep it rolled up if you are using one of the rectangular boards (Tables or Senet) I would suggest leaving the gap on one of the shorter sides. I chose to use zig zag stitch close to the edge (as there is not much seam allowance) to eliminate any chance of fraying. In reality as the cut edges will be enclosed so straight stitch would also work.


Step 4.

Step 4. Turn right sides out and iron.

Step 4. After sewing you need to turn it right sides out. I found I needed to iron it after turning as there were a lot of wrinkles and the next step is much easier if everything lays flat.



Step 5.

Step 5. insert tie cord

Step 5. At this point I insert a cord to tie up the finished bundle I cut a piece of crochet cotton approximately 50cm long. Fold the cord in half and insert the fold into the opening you left to turn it inside out. Make sure it is far enough in that the top stitching in step 6. will hold it in place.


Step 6.

Step 6. Top Stitch

Step 6. To ensure the game stays flat I then top-stitch around the edge about 5mm in from the edge lining up the edge of the presser foot with the edge of the fabric. Make sure your tie cord is caught under the line of top stitching. You will also need to close up the gap that you left to turn it inside out. You can either machine stitch it closed close to the edge or hand sew it using a whip stitch. Personally if I am making it as a gift I will take the extra time to hand sew it as I feel like it looks neater. If I’m making them to sell people aren’t willing to pay for the extra time so I machine stitch everything.

Step 7. (sorry no photo of this step) Cut out your instructions. You will need to find a way to stop the edges of the instructions from fraying. The easiest way is to cut it out with pinking shears or a rotary cutter with a pinking blade. You could alternatively sew the edges with a zig-zag stitch or combine it with some of the offcuts to make a pouch that holds your game tokens.

Step 8. Insert tokens and instructions

Step 8. Insert tokens and instructions

Step 8. Add your tokens, I’ve used glass pebbles as they are cheap and readily available from craft shops. Fox and Geese uses 13 ‘geese’ tokens (white) and 1 fox token (blue) I’ve used a piece of the off-cut selvedge as a stand-in for the instructions in this photo (I have a rotary cutter and pinking blade but, until later this week, no cutting mat)

Step 9-A.

Step 9-A. Fold the top down

Step 9-B.

Step 9-B. Fold the left and right sides over one another

Step 9-C. Roll up the bundle.

Step 9-C. Roll up the bundle.

Step 9-D Wrap and tie cords to secure.

Step 9-D Wrap and tie cords to secure.

Step 9. Fold up the game to keep all the pieces inside. The following instructions are written assuming the cord is pointing towards you.
9-A. Fold the top third down covering the tokens.

9-B. Fold the left and right thirds in on top of the centre third.

9-C. Roll it into a bundle starting at the top so the cord ends up on the outside.

9-D. Wrap the cord around a few times and tie up the bundle.

Now you have a nice bundled game that’s easy to toss into your bag or basket for medieval entertainment on the go.

As I mentioned before this is just one way to complete your game. Some alternative options include:
Sewing two games back to back instead of using a backing fabric.
Sew the instruction sheet to the edge of the game board to make sure you can’t lose it (make it a flap that hangs off the edge so it won’t interfere with game-play).
Turn the instructions into a pouch to hold the tokens.
Leave one edge of the game board open to make a pouch between the backing fabric and the game.
Use a button and loop/buttonhole to close it instead of cord.

Or if you prefer a no-sew option cut out the game with pinking shears and skip the backing fabric.

A note from experience, using the gap between the outside edge and the top-stitching line as a drawstring casing to turn it into a pouch won’t work. There is just too much fabric to gather in so the top opening of your pouch will never close well enough to stop the tokens from falling out.


I hope these instructions help. If you need anything clarified or you have an alternative idea on how you would make up the game please let me know in the comments.


Board games for the history lover

Update 17 July 2014: I’ve written a new blog post with instructions on how to put your games together.

In a bit of personal information most people probably aren’t interested in I’ve been unemployed for several months now and job prospects are looking dim (Canberra is a company town and that company is the federal Government so when they start cutting jobs or completely dissolving departments Canberra sees a local recession) So as a long term goal I am re-training to work in childcare and for now to try and supplement my husband’s income a little I have created some board games on Spoonflower that I hope to be able to both produce myself and provide the means for other people to make their own.

If you would like 7 historical board games ready to cut out and roll up into your bag or basket and take to events you will need:

1 yard of board game fabric

1 fat quarter of instructions

and the following equipment

Glückhaus (A 16th century German gambling game for as many as will)

2 Dice

Coins or tokens (5 or 6 per player makes a good medium length game) something flat that can be stacked will make game play easier.

Fox and Geese (A medieval game of wits for two players)

13 ‘Geese’ tokens

1 ‘Fox’ token

Twelve Men’s Morris (A medieval game of wits for two players)

12 tokens per player (for a total of 24 tokens in 2 colours/styles)

Alquerque (A medieval ancestor of checkers/draughts for two players)

12 tokens per player (for a total of 24 tokens in 2 colours/styles)

The Game of the Goose (A late 16th century game of chance for as many players as will)

2 Dice

One token per player, each must be different from the rest.

Senet (An Ancient Egyptian game of chance for two players)

 4 casting sticks, white on one side and black on the other (you can substitute 4 coins or, alternatively, a dice may be used, with rolls of 5. ignored and re-rolled)

5 tokens per player (for a total of 10 tokens in 2 colours/styles)

Tables (A medieval variant on Backgammon for two players)

 2 Dice (or 4 if each player wants their own pair of dice)

15 tokens per player (for a total of 30 tokens in 2 colours/styles)

I will try to put up a blog post soon with details on how I make the games up into an easy to use (and transport) format.

SCA Potlucks without a kitchen

This article started in 2012 when a member of our college who lives on campus with no access to a kitchen wanted to bring something to a potluck feast, but as it was a picnic lunch there were no cooking facilities available I am publishing it here so it can be available to a larger audience.

Potlucks without a kitchen


Every month our barony holds a pot luck feast, sometimes this is a lunchtime picnic outside in a park with no access to a kitchen. For those who don’t have access to a kitchen at home below are some ideas for period or period plausible foods you can buy ready made from most supermarkets.


When buying the major three foods to avoid are potatoes, tomatoes and chocolate. These are all native to the Americas and were not known to Europeans until the very end of SCA period and chocolate wasn’t available in solid bar form until the 19th century.


Apple/fruit Pies – either buy it fresh (bakeries are a better bet for fresh) or if you can only find frozen make sure it’s completely defrosted.

Custard Tarts

Baked Cheesecake – French cheesecakes (i.e. sweetened cream cheese on a biscuit base) are not period but baked cheesecakes are, you’re unlikely to find baked cheesecakes from the supermarket but if you have the cash to spare you can often get them from a baker who specialises in cakes.

Dried fruits

Candied fruits

Nuts (period nuts include hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts)

Biscuits (if it looks a home made and bit exotic e.g. pfeffernusse people will accept it as plausibly period)

Fresh fruit (make sure it’s in a form that can easily be divided up, if it’s not something small like cherries or grapes cut it up into individual serving sizes)

Salad – remembering to skip the tomatoes.

Bread – so long as it’s not square its good, if the bread is plain chances are somebody else will have brought stuff to go with it (e.g. soup or stew) if its got added bits like ham, cheese or fruit it will go down well on it’s own.

Cheese – hard or soft, so long as it doesn’t look like plastic and preferably not square a wheel (or a small segment of a whole wheel) will look more period.

All the usual pickled/preserved vegetables you would see on an anitpasto platter (except tomatoes again)

Salted/smoked meats – salami, ham etc.

BBQ/roast chicken – if you can serve it with a sauce you will look like you put in some thought and effort. There are some period sauce recipes on this page some rely on having cooking facilities or a food processor but others like carmeline sauce or galantine sauce just need the ingredients mixed together in a bowl.

You will need to bring your own serving dish and utensils, if you haven’t got a suitable serving dish (ceramic, wood or metal dishes are usually fine unless they have something blatantly modern printed on them) head to a dollar shop you can buy a large woven bamboo bowl for around $10.

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