Benjuka

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« on: May 14, 2013, 09:14:47 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
What do we know about the game of benjuka, obviously meant as the Eärwan counterpart to chess, other than its lack of rules? What are the benjuka pieces (or do you make up their meanings as you go along)? How does one even play a strategy game without any fixed rules?

Also, I'm challenging Madness to an internet-deathmatch of benjuka.

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The cunning of benjuka lay in the absence of this fixed framework. Rather than providing an immutable
ground, the rules of benjuka were yet another move within the game, yet another piece to be played. And this
made benjuka the very image of life, a game of baffling complexities and near-poetic subtleties. Other games
could be chronicled as shifting patterns of pieces and number-stick results, but benjuka gave rise to histories,
and whatever possessed history possessed the very structure of the world.
- The Darkness That Comes Before, page 141.

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 09:14:54 pm »
Quote from: Madness
But Auriga...

We've always been playing.

I used think Chess as an analogy to Benjuka but now I think Chess is much more closely related to Delavagus' sidereas.

Personally, I'd hazard GO as the better analogy to Benjuka.

I'll take this opportunity now to suggest that not only do you take up GO, Chess, and Jenga... but you should probably check out Khet & the Tower of Kadesh.

EDIT: And everyone should read the Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 09:14:59 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
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But Auriga...

We've always been playing.

Yes, the world is our benjuka plate. And there are as many battlefields as there are moments...

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I used think Chess as an analogy to Benjuka but now I think Chess is much more closely related to Delavagus' sidereas.

Delavagus' what? I must have missed this bit of world-building.

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Personally, I'd hazard GO as the better analogy to Benjuka.

Possibly. My comparison of benjuka and chess is probably because it seems to have the same social function, as a strategy game the Three Seas noblemen play with eachother. We even see benjuka in the flashbacks of Seswatha and Celmomas. 

But, really, benjuka has more in common with that game in Calvin and Hobbes that he makes up as a goes along.

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I'll take this opportunity now to suggest that not only do you take up GO, Chess, and Jenga... but you should probably check out Khet & the Tower of Kadesh.

Will do.

Haven't heard of them yet, but I'll check them out if I find the time.

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:05 pm »
Quote from: Madness
No missed worldbuilding, homie. Don't suffer self-doubt on my account.

Clearly, you have a penchant for games... you really should read Delavagus' except from Three Roses[/b].

He's Bakker friend, Roger, who has been a semi-regular guest blogger on TPB - one of two - and who also came up in some online writing workshops with Bakker.

Really good stuff. I only wish there was more than the prologue and three chapters ;)... like a book, if you are reading, Delavagus.

Thankfully, you could probably read the prologue repeatedly... superb.

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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:10 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
D&D

Man, I tracked a roleplay design theory forum for years. The perceptual blind spots, biases and hiccups would just come thick and fast. Ie, what the game hinges on is hidden, yet its fruits are all too present.

Here's an example of it in regard to task resolution and conflict resolution. Note the posts from Ron Edwards. In particular relation to Benjuka is the attempt to grasp what the hell are we playing for? To keep rolling lock pick rolls, will that really resolve in the princess paying attention to you and perhaps falling in love? Or will getting through lock after lock, toward her chamber, float in abstract non connection, just locks, doors, climb checks, simply a rubble of semantics in a pile, leading to nowhere?

We believe (or might believe) in every lock pick roll leading somewhere. But are we promised?

Never mind the actual ambiguities of conflict resolution (or atleast the problems I think I see in the description in that thread).

It's one of the things I noticed about TDTCB - I could sense in the writing someone who had been 'role-touched'. Not necessarily as good as it sounds, as it's like someone who's had their shoulder dislocated before. Here it's semantic dislocation. Not that great, but ala many action movies, good for getting out of being handcuffed.

And that's my rant!

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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:17 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
I agree with go as a good anology for benjuka.

Sidereas reminded me of rithmomachy(the philosophers game ;)) more than anything else.

The idea of a game where the rules change puts me in mind of nomic.

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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:22 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Quote from: Curethan
I agree with go as a good anology for benjuka.

Go is indeed a better analogy, although I guessed on chess because it seems to have the same "niche".

If I remember right, benjuka was a Nonman game that the Ancient North picked up, and then spread from there into the Three Seas. The constantly-altering rules and very slow pace of benjuka seems like something Nonmen would come up with.

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Sidereas reminded me of rithmomachy(the philosophers game ;)) more than anything else.

Cool. I didn't know rithmomachy even existed, I'll have to read more about it. You learn something new every day.

Amazing, the stuff Greek mathematicians came up with.

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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:28 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Lol... +1 thread. This is bringing back the months I spent obsessed with reading about games throughout history in elementary school. So much of my extracurricular reading then was coloured by a specific flavour of the month all the time - sharks in grade seven :).

There are definitely games that near the historical pedigree of chess, Auriga, as Curethan's highlighting.

Fuck, I'd love to learn some of these games.

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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:33 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Looks like I was right about benjuka coming from the Nonmen:

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Benjuka is a subtle and ancient game of strategy played by caste nobility throughout the Three Seas.

A derivative of the more esoteric mirqu played by Nonmen, the first extant references to benjuka date back to the so-called Nonmen Tutelage (555-825)

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:37 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Is that from Benjuka excerpt of TTT Glossary?

EDIT: Lol, it basically is the entire TTT Glossary excerpt.

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:41 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Even more bizarre than Nomic, the game of http://dunx.org/mornomic/.

Interesting that benjuka came from an even more esoteric Nonman game. It seems like a very Nonman thing to do, playing a game that forces you to think up new rules and expand the horizons of your mind.

Quote from: Madness
EDIT: Lol, it basically is the entire TTT Glossary excerpt.
The TSA wiki is basically the TTT Glossary plastered on teh intrawebs.

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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:46 pm »
Quote from: Madness
True, true. I usually think myself more aware of remembering passages :P.

Nomic sounds damn close.

Do you think we'll see some mirqu in TUC?

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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:52 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Quote from: Madness
True, true. I usually think myself more aware of remembering passages :P.
Ah. I'm better at remembering little factoids than the actual descriptions, but I have all the TSA books on PDF files, so I noticed that the "PON wiki" looked suspiciously similar to the TTT Glossary...

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Nomic sounds damn close.
Yeah, nomic is probably Bakker's inspiration for benjuka. I personally don't see the similarities with go.

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Do you think we'll see some mirqu in TUC?
Possibly. The Nonmen must be doing something in Ishterebinth all these years. Repeating the same board-game, over and over, sounds like a way to spend your time without filling up your memory with new experiences.

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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 09:15:57 pm »
Quote from: Madness
GO always struck me for its fluidity, perhaps? You've certainly opened my eyes in this thread, though, Auriga.

I really need to throw some quotes from The Glass Bead Game up here; it could be an inspiration for this elusive mirqu. Especially, as you've just reminded me, as in the book, players can "play" past games and it's reminiscent of our conversations about Nonmen acting out various dramas of their past over and over again.

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 09:16:02 pm »
Quote from: Auriga
Quote from: Madness
You've certainly opened my eyes in this thread, though, Auriga.
But I have always been opening your eyes, for Truth is unceasing......

 ;)

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I really need to throw some quotes from The Glass Bead Game up here; it could be an inspiration for this elusive mirqu. Especially, as you've just reminded me, as in the book, players can "play" past games and it's reminiscent of our conversations about Nonmen acting out various dramas of their past over and over again.
Yes! Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi didn't enter my mind, although it fits perfectly. A great book. Although the glass-bead game is mostly about music, it covers philosophy as well. Also a perfect fit for a game that doesn't need an actual skill to play, but rather abstract wisdom.

I could definitely imagine the Nonmen having a game along those lines. (And even if Hesse's game wasn't Bakker's inspiration, so what? It still fits the Nonmen and their philosophizing really well.)

"It was the achievement of one individual which brought the Glass Bead Game almost in one leap to an awareness of its potentialities, and thus to the verge of its capacity for universal elaboration. And once again this advance was connected with music. A Swiss musicologist with a passion for mathematics gave a new twist to the Game, and thereby opened the way for its supreme development. [...] There was a passionate craving among all the intellectuals of his age for a means to express their new concepts. They longed for philosophy, for synthesis.
The erstwhile happiness of pure withdrawal each into his own discipline was now felt to be inadequate. Here and there a scholar broke through the barriers of his specialty and tried to advance into the terrain of universality. Some dreamed of a new alphabet, a new language of symbols through which they could formulate and exchange their new intellectual experiences. It was at this point that Joculator Basiliensis applied himself to the problem. He invented for the Glass Bead Game the principles of a new language, a language of symbols and formulas, in which mathematics and music played an equal part, so that it became possible to combine astronomical and musical formulas, to reduce mathematics and music to a common denominator, as it were."