Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The Late Arrival

Yowza. I have just received the single longest awaited item of my life: Francis Willoughby's Book of Games, edited by several people, including (most relevant to me) Jeffrey Forgeng.

You have to understand -- Jeff gave me a preprint of this book something like seven years ago. I immediately began to tear into it, and several of my key reconstructions come from it. But I've been more or less the only person active in the early games community (at least in the SCA) with a copy, so no one has been able to check my work. As I've gotten more serious about my scholarship, that's actually become a concern. A year or so ago, they finally announced the book and began taking orders. And now, I've got it in my hot (well, okay, cold) little hands.

This is one of the two or three most important sources on the subject of early games, especially in English; it is the earliest really good encyclopaedia on the subject. It's still post-period by a fair ways, coming from the late 17th century, but closer than most, and far more orderly in its approach than most. This is especially impressive, considering that this is a transcription of a manuscript, which never was actually published.

It's frighteningly expensive -- $114, now. (I at least got a pretty good discount for ordering early.) But it's one of the only books that I would say is an absolute must for serious researchers in the field. Besides, it's hellacious fun, with lots of games that aren't well-described anywhere else.

So if you feel like spending a lot of money on an interesting primary source, check out the book at its publisher, Ashgate...

Updated: antoniseb pointed out that the direct link I'd had to the book's page doesn't work. So you have to go to the top and drill down...

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