Talk:Ludus latrunculorum

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Capture question[edit]

I'm hoping somebody can clarify a game scenario for me, possibly amending the proposed rules to deal with it. If X's represent black, and O's represent white, and .'s represent spaces, if you have


and white moves so that you have


what happens? Both the inner O and X are surrounded. Is it an illegal move? Which piece(s) is/are captured? 05:27, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

O moved in voluntarily and thus isn't captured, I believe. Therefore X and X alone loses a piece.

Conjectural rules[edit]

I have Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations, and have altered the proposed rules in the article to bring them into conformity with Bell's text, which they claim to follow. I am troubled by the claim that the commonest board size is 8x12. In all my dissipated years I have never heard of a Roman-era board that size. The link that is supposed to support the statement is dead. Please bring a better support. J S Ayer (talk) 03:43, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Kowalski's Site[edit]

Wladyslaw Jan Kowalski's page on ludus latrunculorum has been moved to J S Ayer (talk) 04:22, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

There is another version (attributed to "Wally Kowalski") at . I can't tell which is earlier. J S Ayer (talk) 03:31, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I think for various reasons that the ablemedia form is later. J S Ayer (talk) 22:47, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

A learned essay at argues forcefully against Kowalski's reconstruction of the Stanway game. J S Ayer (talk) 23:31, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Archaeological evidence[edit]

A section on the archaeological remains of likely examples would be a nice addition. Cynwolfe (talk) 21:39, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

The relevant archaeological evidence (except for the Stanway board which has been found later) as well as the literary sources are discussed in detail in the following article (which unfortunately has not been referred to by the author of this Wikipedia article): U. Schädler, "Latrunculi -- ein verlorenes strategisches Brettspiel der Römer", in: Homo Ludens IV, 1994, pp. 47-67. An abbreviated version in English together with a suggestion for basic rules can be found in: U. Schädler, "Latrunculi, a forgotten Roman game of strategy reconsidered", in: Abstract Games Magazine 7, 2001, pp. 10-11. Ulrich Schädler

I have added a reference to Mackubin Thomas Owens' article in the Wall Street Journal, because it gives good information on the origin of the word latrunculi ("pirates, robbers, brigands and outlaws") as well their status within Roman jurisprudence. Asteriks (talk) 12:24, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Bell's rules[edit]

A contributor inserted this into the text below Bell's conjectural rules: (Needs clarification: "If no captures are made in thirty moves, the game is ended, and the player with more pieces on the board wins." - If no captures are made, how can either player have more pieces than the other?)

This assumes that after the two forces have engaged, and captures have been made, a period of thirty moves might go by without either player making another capture. By this time the forces on the board would probably be considerably reduced, and if no further captures are made in that period, perhaps the game is pretty much played out. If they can go thirty moves into a game and neither make a capture, they should probably go do something else. I think this would be clear to a large enough proportion of the population that clarification is not needed. J S Ayer (talk) 22:49, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

The number of pieces listed in Bell's reconstruction are not internally consistent. First it states that each player has 17 pieces, for a total of (2x17=34). But in the next line it states "when all 32 pieces have been played". So which is it? Does each player start with 16 or 17 pieces? Strallus (talk) 11:56, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

More suggestions[edit]

Do you know who Robert Cooper is? Apparently he made up the rules for the two versions of Latrunculi in your link but I have not found any information on this person. I would like a better source before including those rules. Javierfv1212 (talk)

Ra's conjectural rules[edit]

  • "Ra's conjectural rules" were inserted in this edit. Who is Ra here? Should it be R.A., someone's initials? Or what? Anthony Appleyard (talk) 10:54, 22 January 2013 (UTC)


A new section says that the Korean game of Gonu is like ludus lantrunculorum. The statement is linked to an article in the Korean Wikipedia, and the diagrams do not inspire confidence in the comparison. Unless we get some details backing up the claim, I will probably delete this section as at best useless. J S Ayer (talk) 03:37, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Just a hint for modern players[edit]

In Kowalski's rule number one, if the reconstruction for the eight by twelve board is correct, then on the ten by eleven board the ordinary latrunculi probably fill the back rank, with the dux standing alone in the center of the second rank. Just my thought. J S Ayer (talk) 01:54, 24 November 2014 (UTC)


comment by gentle_current:

There are imo several possible scenarios: your theory, JSA, makes a lot of sense since "dux" translates as "leader". For a leader to lead, he has to be in front.

On the other hand, in pretty much every battle in the last 2500 years the commanding officer has kept behind the lines, so that it would also be a strategical option to place the dux either in the middle of the back rank with a latrunculus in front of him, or alternatively you could place the dux alone in the back rank with a full row of latrunculi in front if him. That latter version would be the one closest to a realistic battle.

How about putting all possible starting positions to a practical test and finding out which is the strongest one? I think it's safe to assume that generations of antique players would gradually have found out the best position and made it the prefered one. [user: guest aka gentle_current] (talk) 11:24, 17 August 2015 (UTC)