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  GAMES
           Kaissa    Zar    Cards   Dice   Cat's-Craddle   Push the bean    Bones   Stones  
           Bat and Ball   Soccer   Rope   Racing and others  
           Girl Catch   Greased wineskin   Pick up    Run and hide   
           Games of Love War   Running to the Lance   Lance and Tospit  
           Game of favors  

GAMES

General

"Many Gorean games, incidentally, have features which encourage the development of properties regarded as desirable in a Gorean youth, such as courage, discipline, and honor. Similarly, some of the games tend to encourage the development of audacity and leadership."
"Mercenaries of Gor" page 278

Kaissa (The Game)

"Game! Game!" I heard, and quickly shook my head, driving away the memories of Ar, and of the girl once known, always loved.
The word actually cried was "Kaissa," which is Gorean for "Game." It is a general term, but when used without qualification, it stands for only one game. The man who called out wore a robe of checkered red and yellow squares, and the game board, of similar squares, with ten ranks and ten files, giving a hundred squares, hung over his back; slung over his left shoulder, as a warrior wears a sword, was a leather bag containing the pieces, twenty to a side, red and yellow, representing Spearmen, Tarnsmen, the Riders of the High Tharlarion, and so on. The object of the game is the capture of the opponent's Home Stone. Capturings of individual pieces and continuations take place much as in chess. The affinities of this game with chess are, I am confident, more than incidental. I recalled that men from many periods and cultures of Earth had been brought, from time to time, to Gor, our Counter-Earth. With them they would have brought their customs, their skills, their habits, their games, which, in time, would presumably have undergone considerable modification. I have suspected that chess, with its fascinating history and development, as played on Earth, may actually have derived from a common ancestor with the Gorean game, both of them perhaps tracing their lineage to some long-forgotten game, perhaps the draughts of Egypt or some primitive board game of India. It might be mentioned that the game, as I shall speak of it, for in Gorean it has no other designation, is extremely popular on Gor, and even children find among their playthings the pieces of the game; there are numerous clubs and competitions among various castes and cylinders; careful records of important games are kept and studied; lists of competitions and tournaments and their winners are filed in the Cylinder of Documents; there is even in most Gorean libraries a section containing an incredible number of scrolls pertaining to the techniques, tactics and strategy of the game. Almost all civilized Goreans, of whatever caste, play. It is not unusual to find even children of twelve or fourteen years who play with a depth and sophistication, a subtlety and a brilliance, that might be the envy of the chess masters of Earth."
"Assassin of Gor" page 26/7

"But this man now approaching was not an amateur, nor an enthusiast. He was a man who would be respected by all the castes in Ar; he was a man who would be recognized, most likely, not only by every urchin wild in the streets of the city but by the Ubar as well; he was a Player, a professional, one who earned his living through the game.
The Players are not a caste, nor a clan, but they tend to be a group apart, living their own lives. They are made up of men from various castes who often have little in common but the game, but that is more than enough. They are men who commonly have an extraordinary aptitude for the game but beyond this men who have become drunk on it, men lost in the subtle, abstract liquors of variation, pattern and victory, men who live for the game, who want it and need it as other men might want gold, or others power and women, or others the rolled, narcotic strings of toxic kanda.
There are competitions of Players, with purses provided by amateur organizations, and sometimes by the city itself, and these purses are, upon occasion, enough to enrich a man, but most Players earn a miserable living by hawking their wares, a contest with a master, in the street. The odds are usually one to forty, one copper tarn disk against a forty-piece, sometimes against an eight-piece, and sometimes the amateur who would play the master insists on further limitations, such as the option to three consecutive moves at a point in the game of his choice, or that the master must remove from the board, before the game begins, his two tarnsmen, or his Riders of the High Tharlarion. Further, in order to gain Players, the master, if wise, occasionally loses a game, which is expensive at the normal odds; and the game must be lost subtly, that the amateur must believe he has won. I had once known a Warrior in Ko-ro-ba, a dull, watery-eyed fellow, who boasted of having beaten Quintus of Tor in a Paga Tavern in Thentis. Those who play the game for money have a hard lot, for the market is a buyer's market, and commonly men will play with them only on terms much to their satisfaction. I myself, when Centius of Cos was in Ko-ro-ba, might have played him on the bridge near the Cylinder of Warriors for only a pair of copper tarn disks. It seemed sad to me, that I, who knew so little of the game, could have so cheaply purchased the privilege of sitting across the board from such a master. It seemed to me that men should pay a tarn disk of gold just to be permitted to watch such a master play, but such were not the economic realities of the game."
"Assassin of Gor" page 27/8

"In spite of having the respect, even to some degree the adulation, of almost all Goreans, the Players lived poorly. On the Street of Coins they found it difficult even to arrange loans. They were not popular with innkeepers, who would not shelter them unless paid in advance. Many were the nights a master would be found rolled in robes in a Paga tavern, where, for a bit of tarsk meat and a pot of paga, and an evening's free play with customers, he would be permitted to sleep. Many of the Players dreamed of the day they might be nominated for inter-city competitions at the Fairs of the Sardar, for a victor in the Sardar Fairs earns enough to keep himself, and well, for years, which he then would devote to the deeper study of the game. There is also some money for the masters in the annotation of games, printed on large boards near the Central Cylinder, in the preparation or editing of scrolls on the game, and in the providing of instruction for those who would improve their skills. On the whole, however, the Players live extremely poorly. Further, there is a harsh competition among themselves, for positions in certain streets and on certain bridges. The most favorable locations for play are, of course, the higher bridges in the vicinity of the richer cylinders, the most expensive Paga taverns, and so on. These positions, or territories, are allotted by the outcome of games among the Players themselves. In Ar, the high bridge near the Central Cylinder, housing the palace of the Ubar and the meeting place of the city's High Council, was held, and had been for four years, by the young and brilliant, fiery Scormus of Ar."
"Assassin of Gor" page 28/9

""Game!" I heard, an answering cry, and a fat fellow, of the Caste of Vintners, puffing and bright eyed, wearing a white tunic with a representation in green cloth of leaves about the collar and down the sleeves of the garment, stepped forth from a doorway.
Without speaking the Player sat down cross-legged at one side of the street, and placed the board in front of him. Opposite him sat the Vintner.
"Set the pieces," said the Player.
I was surprised, and looked more closely, as the Vintner took the wallet filled with game pieces from the man's shoulder and began, with his stubby fingers, to quickly arrange the pieces.(...)
The most startling thing to me about the man was not that he was older than one commonly sees in the streets of a Gorean city, but rather that he was clearly blind. The eyes were not pleasant to look upon, for they seemed empty of iris and pupil, and were simply ovoid glazes of massed scar tissue, ridged and irregular. Even the sockets of the eyes were ringed with white tissue. I knew then how the man had been blinded. A hot iron had been pressed into each of his eyes, probably long ago. In the center of his forehead, there was a large brand, the capital initial of the Gorean word for slave, in block script. But I knew that he was not a slave, for it is not permitted that Players be slave. That a slave should play is regarded as an insult to free men, and an insult to the game. Further, no free man would care to be beaten by a slave. I gathered, from the blinding and the mark on his forehead, that the man had once offended a slaver, a man of power in the city."
"Assassin of Gor" page 29/31

“I looked to one side. There, lost to the bustle in the tavern, oblivious to the music, sat two men across a board of one hundred red and yellow squares, playing Kaissa, the game. One was a Player, a master who makes his living, though commonly poorly, from the game, playing for a cup of paga perhaps and the right to sleep in the tavern. The other, sitting cross-legged with him, was the broad-shouldered blond giant from Torvaldsland whom I had seen earlier. (...)
Kaissa is popular in Torvaldsland, as well as elsewhere on Gor. In the halls, it is often played far into the night, by fires, by the northern giants. Sometimes disputes which otherwise might be settled only by ax or sword, are willingly surrendered to a game of Kaissa, if only for the joy of engaging in the game.”
"Hunters of Gor" page 47

"I studied the board before me.
It was set on a square chest. It was a board made for play at sea, and such boards are common with the men of Torvaldsland. In the center of each square was a tiny peg. The pieces, correspondingly, are drilled to match the pegs, and fit over them. This keeps them steady in the movements at sea. The board was of red and yellow squares. The Kaissa of the men of Torvaldsland is quite similar to that of the south, though certain of the pieces differ. There is, for example, not a Ubar but a Jarl, as the most powerful piece. Moreover, there is no Ubara. Instead, there is a piece called the Jarl’s Woman, which is quite powerful, more so than the southern Ubara. Instead of Tarnsmen, there are two pieces called the Axes. The board has no Initiates, but there are corresponding pieces called Rune-Priests. Similarly there are no Scribes, but a piece, which moves identically, called the Singer. I thought that Andreas of Tor, a friend, of the caste of Singers, might have been pleased to learn that his caste was represented, and honored, on the boards of the north. The Spearmen moved identically with the southern Spearmen. It did not take me much time to adapt to the Kaissa of Torvaldsland, for it is quite similar to the Kaissa of the south. On the other hand, feeling my way on the board, I had lost the first two games to the Forkbeard. Interestingly, he had been eager to familiarize me with the game, and was abundant in his explanations and advice. Clearly, he wished me to play him at my full efficiency, without handicap, as soon as possible. I had beaten him the third game, and he had then, delighted, ceased in his explanations and advice and, together, the board between us, each in our way a war rior, we had played Kaissa.
The Forkbeard’s game was much more varied, and tactical, than was that of, say, Marlenus of Ar, much more devious, and it was far removed from the careful, conservative, positional play of a man such as Mintar, of the caste of Merchants. The Forkbeard made great use of diversions and feints, and double strategies, in which an attack is double edged, being in effect two attacks, an open one and a concealed one, either of which, depending on a misplay by the opponent, may be forced through, the concealed attack requiring usually only an extra move to make it effective, a move which, ideally, threatened or pinned an opponent’s piece, giving him the option of surrendering it or facing a devastating attack, he then a move behind. In the beginning I had played Forkbeard positionally, learning his game. When I felt I knew him better, I played him more openly. His wiliest tricks, of course I knew, he would seldom use saving them for games of greater import, or perhaps for players of Torvaldsland. Among them, even more than in the south, Kaissa is a passion. In the long winters of Torvaldsland, when the snow, the darkness, the ice and wintry winds are upon the land, when the frost breaks open the rocks, groaning, at night, when the serpents hide in their roofed sheds, many hours, under swinging soapstone lamps, burning the oil of sea sleen, are given to Kaissa. At such times, even the bond-maids, rolling and restless, naked, in the furs of their masters, their ankles chained to a nearby ring, must wait.
"It is your move," said Forkbeard.
"I have moved," I told him. "I have thrown the Ax to Jarl six."
"Ah!" laughed the Forkbeard. He then sat down and looked again at the board. He could not now, with impunity, place his Jarl at Ax four.(...)
Forkbeard put his First Singer to his own Ax four, threatening my Ax. I covered my piece with my own First Singer, moving it to my own Ax five. He exchanged, taking my Ax at Jarl six, and I his First Singer with my First Singer. I now had a Singer on a central square, but he had freed his Ax four, on which he might now situate the Jarl for an attack on the Jarl’s Woman’s Ax’s file.
The tempo, at this point, was mine. He had played to open position; I had played to direct position.
The Ax is a valuable piece, of course, but particularly in the early and middle game, when the board is more crowded; in the end game when the board is freer, it seems to me the Singer is often of greater power, because of the greater number of squares it can control. Scholars weight the pieces equally, at three points in adjudications, but I would weight the Ax four points in the early and middle game, and the Singer two, and reverse these weights in the end game. Both pieces are, however, quite valuable. And I am fond of the Ax.
"You should not have surrendered your Ax," said Forkbeard.
"In not doing so," I said. "I would have lost the tempo, and position. Too, the Ax is regarded as less valuable in the end game."
"You play the Ax well," said Forkbeard. "What is true for many men may not be true for you. The weapons you use best perhaps you should retain."
I thought on what he had said. Kaissa is not played by mechanical puppets, but, deeply and subtly, by men, idiosyncratic men, with individual strengths and weaknesses. I recalled I had, many times, late in the game, regretted the surrender of the Ax, or its equivalent in the south, the Tarnsman, when I had simply, as I thought rationally, moved in accordance with what were reputed to be the principles of sound strategy. I knew, of course, that game context was a decisive matter in such considerations but only now, playing Forkbeard, did I suspect that there was another context involved, that of the inclinations, capacities and dispositions of the individual player. Too, it seemed to me that the Ax, or Tarnsman, might be a valuable piece in the end game, where it is seldom found. People would be less used to defending against it in the end game; its capacity to surprise, and to be used unexpectedly, might be genuinely profitable at such a time in the game. I felt a surge of power.
"Your Hall is taken," said the Forkbeard. His Jarl had moved decisively. The taking of the Hall, in the Kaissa of the North, is equivalent to the capture of the Home Stone in the south.
"You should not have surrendered your Ax," said the Forkbeard.
"It seems not," I said. The end game had not even been reached. The Hall had been taken in the middle game. I would think more carefully before I would surrender the Ax in the future."
"Marauders of Gor" pages 56/63

“I regarded the board. He positioned his Home Stone. It was, looking at the tiny counter at the edge of the board, his tenth move. Most Kaissa boards do not have this counter. It consisted often small cylindrical wooden beads strung on a wire. The Home Stone must be placed by the tenth move. He had placed it at his now-vacated Ubar’s Initiate One. In this position, as at the Ubara’s Initiate One, it is subject to only three lines of attack. Other legitimate placements subject it to five lines of attack. He was also fond of placing the Home Stone late, usually on the ninth or tenth move. In this way, his decision could take into consideration his opponent’s early play, his opening, or response to an opening, or development.
I myself, whose Home Stone was already placed, preferred a much earlier and more central placement of the Home Stone. I did not wish to be forced to sacrifice a move for Home Stone placement in a situation that might, for all I knew, not turn out to be to my liking, a situation in which the obligatory placement might even cost me a tempo. Similarly, although a somewhat more central location of the Home Stone exposes it to more lines of attack, it also increases its mobility, and thereby its capacities to evade attack. These considerations are controversial in the theory of Kaissa. Much depends on the physiology of the individual player.
Incidentally, there are many versions of Kaissa played on Gor. In some of these versions, the names of the pieces differ, and, in some, even more alarmingly, their nature and power. The caste of Players, to its credit, has been attempting to standardize Kaissa for years.”
"Players of Gor" pages 7/8

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Zar (Tahari)

"The board is marked like a Kaissa board, but the pieces - 9 per player, and called 'pebbles' - are placed at the intersections of the lines. Movement is somewhat like that of checkers, but without capturing of pieces. The object of the game is to effect a complete exchange of the original placement of the pieces"
Tribesmen of Gor"

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Cards

"Dice and cards and game boards and drinking goblets scattered to the rocky floors of the guard chambers as Whip Slaves and guardsmen looked up to find at their throats the blades of desperate and condemned men, now drunk with the taste of freedom and determined to free their fellows."
"Outlaw of Gor" page 167

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Dice

"I passed a few fellows playing dice. There are many forms of dice games on Gor, usually played with anywhere from a single die to five dice. The major difference, I think, between the dice of Earth and those of Gor is that the Gorean dice usually have their numbers, or letters, or whatever pictures or devices are used, painted on their surfaces. It is difficult to manufacture a pair of dice, of course, in which the "numbers," tow, three and so on, are represented by scooped out indentations. For example, the "one" side of a die is likely to have less scooped-out material missing than the "six" side of a die. Thus the "one" side is slightly heavier and, in normal play, should tend to land face down more often than, say the 'six" side, this bringing up the opposite side, the "six" side in Earth dice, somewhat more frequently. To be sure, the differences in weight are slight and, given the forces on the dice, the differential is not dramatic. And, of course, this differential can be compensated for in a sophisticated die by trying to deduct equal amounts of material from all surfaces, for example, an amount from the "one" side which will equal the amount of the "six" side, and, indeed, on the various sides. At any rate, in the Gorean dice, as mentioned, the numbers or letters, of pictures or whatever devices are used, are usually pained on the dice. Some gamesmen, even so, attempt to expend the same amount of paint on all surfaces. To be sure, some Gorean dice I have seen to use the "scooped-out" approach to marking the dice. And these, almost invariably, like the more sophisticated Earth dice, try to even out the material removed from each of the surfaces. Some Gorean dice are sold in sealed boxes, bearing the city's imprint. These, supposedly, have been each cast six hundred times, with results approximating the ideal mathematical probabilities. Also, it might be mentioned that dice are sometimes tampered with, or specially prepared, to favor certain numbers. These, I suppose, using the Earth term, might be spoken of as "loaded." My friend, the actor, magician, impresario and whatnot, Boots Tarsk-Bit, once narrowly escaped an impalement in Besnit on the charge of using false dice. He was, however, it seems, framed. At any rate the charges were dismissed when a pair of identical false dice turned up in the pouch of the arresting magistrate, the original pair having, interestingly, at about the same time, vanished."
"Magicians of Gor" page 59

"A number of men crowded between the tables then and some dice, inked knucklebones of the verr, were soon rattling in a metal goblet. Sura knelt before the table of Cernus, her head down. One of her guards snapped a slave leash on her collar. The leash key was on a tiny loop of wire. The guard twisted this wire about the red-enameled steel of her collar. Behind her the men began crying out, watching the tumbling of the knucklebones on the stones of the floor. I understood to some extent what was taking place. It was merely another of the turnabouts of Kajuralia, but in it was perhaps more; Sura's pride and her position in the House, though she was slave, had been resented by many of the men and staff; perhaps even Cernus felt she had overstepped herself; surely he seemed pleased that she would now be humbled, now used as a common Red Silk Girl."
"Assassin of Gor, page 248

"“Larls, larls!” called a fellow. “I win!” “Alas,” moaned the other. “I have only verr.” “Larls” would be maximum highs, say, double highs, if two dice were being used, triple highs if three dice were in play, and so on. The chances of obtaining a “larl” with one throw of one die is one in six, of obtaining “larls” with two dice, one in thirty-six, of obtaining “larls” with three dice, one in two hundred and sixteen, and so on. Triple “larls” is a rare throw, obviously. The fellow had double “larls.” Other types of throws are “urts,” “sleen,” “verr,” and such. The lowest value on a singe die is the “urt.” The chances of obtaining, say, three “urts” is very slim, like that of obtaining three “larls” one in two hundred and sixteen. “Verr” is not a bad throw but it was not good enough to beat “larls.” If two dice are in play a “verr” and a “larl” would be equivalent on a numerical scale of ten points, or, similarly, if the dice are numbered, as these were, one would simply count points, though, of course, if, say, two sixes were thrown, that would count as “larls.”"
"Magicians of Gor" page 60

Cat´s craddle

"Hunters of Gor" page 115

"Others faced one another, kneeling, and, with string and their fingers, played an ntricate cat's-cradle game. Others played "Stones," where one player guesses the number of stones held in the other's hand. I tried the cat's-cradle game but I could not play it, I always became confused, trying to copy the intricate patterns. How beautifully they would suddenly, in all their complexity, appear. The other girls laughed at my clumsiness. The northern girls, incidentally, were very skilled at this game. They could beat us all."
"Captive of Gor" page 107

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Push the bean

“I stopped for a moment to watch an amusing race. Several slave girls are aligned, on all fours, poised, their heads down. Then, carefully, a line of beans, one to a girl, is placed before them. She must then, on all fours, push the bean before her, touching it only with her nose. The finish line was a few yards away. “Go!” I heard. The crowd cheered on its favorites. On this sport, as well as on several others, small bets were placed. Sometimes a new slave, one who has recently been a haughty, arrogant free woman, is used in such a race. Such things, aside from their amusing, and fitting, aspects, are thought to be useful in accommodating her to her new reality, that of the female slave. In them she learns something more of the range of activities that may be required of her.”
"Magicians of Gor" page 38/9

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Bones

"Imnak and I sat across from one another, both cross-legged. He dropped a tiny bone to the fur mat between us. Each player, in turn, drops a bone, one of several in his supply. The bone Imnak had dropeed was carved in the shape of a small tabuk. Each of the bones is carved to resemble an animal, such as an arctic gant, a northern bosk, a larl, a tabuk or sleen, and so on. The bone which remains upright is the winner. If both bones do not remain upright there is no winner on that throw. Similarly, if both bones should remain upright, they are dropped again. A bone which does not remain upright, if its opposing bone does remain upright, is placed in the stock of him whose bone remained upright. The game is finished when one of the two players is cleaned out of bones."
"Beasts of Gor" page 184/5

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Stones

"Others played "Stones," where one player guesses the number of stones held in the other's hand."
"Captive of Gor" page 107

"At "Stones," however, I was genuinely pleased with myself. It has two players, who take alternate turns. Each player has the same number of "Stones," usually two to five per player. The "Stones" are usually pebbles or beads, but in the cities one can buy small polished, carved boxes containing ten "stones," the quality of which might vary from polished ovoid stones, with swirling patterns, to gems worth the ransom of a merchant's daughter. The object of the game is simple, to guess the number of stones held in the other's hand or hands. One point is scored for a correct guess, and the game is usually set for a predetermined number of paired guesses, usually fifty. Usually your opponent tries to outwit you, by either changing the number of stones held in his hand or, perhaps, keeping it the same. I was quite successful at this game, and I could beat most of the girls. I could even beat Inge, who was of the scribes."
"Captive of Gor" page 107

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Bat and Ball

"Perhaps the most serious incident of the contests had occurred in one of the games of bat and ball; in this contest there are two men on each side, and the object is to keep the ball out of the hands of the other team; no one man may hold the ball for more than the referee's count of twenty; he may, however, throw it into the air, provided it is thrown over his head, and catch it again himself; the ball may be thrown to a partner, or struck to him with the bat; the bat, of course, drives the ball with incredible force; the bats are of heavy wood, rather broad, and the ball, about two inches in diameter, is also of wood, and extremely hard; this is something like a game of "keep away" with two men in the middle. I was pleased that I was not involved in the play. Shortly after the first "knock off", in which the ball is served to the enemy, Gorm, who was Ivar's partner, was struck cold with the ball, it driven from the opponent's bat; this, I gathered, is a common trick; it is very difficult to intercept or protect oneself from a ball struck at one with great speed from a short distance; it looked quite bad for Ivar at this point, until one of his opponents, fortunately, broke his leg, it coming into violent contact with Ivar's bat. This contest was called a draw. Ivar then asked me to be his partner. I declined. "It is all right," said Ivar, "even the bravest of men may decline a contest of bat-and-ball." I acceded to his judgment. There are various forms of ball game enjoyed by the men of Torvaldsland; some use bats, or paddles; in the winter, one such game, quite popular, is played, men running and slipping about, on ice; whether there is any remote connection between this game and ice hockey, I do not know; it is, however, ancient in Torvaldsland; Torvald himself, in the sagas, is said to have been skilled at it. Ivar Forkbeard, or Thorgeir of Ax Glacier, as we might call him, had won, all told, counting the swimming talmit, six talmits."
"Marauders of Gor" page 140/1

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Soccer (Red Hunters)

"You spoiled her kick," said a man to me, in Gorean. "I am sorry," I said. The girl, with the other youths, had been playing a soccerlike game with the leather ball, with goals drawn in the turf. I had not realized, until too late, that I had been traversing the field of play."
"Beasts of Gor" page 19

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Rope

"“Help us, Tarl,” said Akko, whom I had met earlier in the day.
“He is a big fellow,” said a man.
“Yes,” said another.
I followed Akko and his friends to a place where two teams of men waited, a heavy, braided rope of twisted sleen-hide stretched between them.
They put me at the end of the rope. Soon, to the enthusiastic shouts of observers, we began the contest. Four times the rope grew taut, and four times our team won. I was much congratulated, and slapped on the back."
"Beasts of Gor" page 198

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Racing and others

"I raced Inge to the end of the compound and back, and beat her. Some of the girls began to play tag, and games. Even some of the northern girls joined with us. We had a cloth ball, stuffed with rags, and, laughing, we threw this about. Some of the girls sat in circles, telling stories. Others faced one another, kneeling, and, with string and their fingers, played an intricate cat's cradle game. Others played "Stones," where one player guesses the number of stones held in the other's hand."
"Captive of Gor" page 107

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Girl Catch

"Make way! Make way!" laughed the brawny young fellow. He had a naked girl over his shoulder, bound hand and foot. He had won her in Girl Catch, in a contest to decide a trade dispute between two small cities, Ven and Rarn, the former a river port on the Vosk, the second noted for its copper mining, lying southeast of Tharna. In the contest a hundred young men of each city, and a hundred young women, the most beautiful in each city, participate. The object of the game is to secure the women of the enemy. Weapons are not permitted. The contest takes place in an area outside the perimeters of the great fair, for in it slaves are made."
"Beasts of Gor" page 41

"Both the young men and women wear tunics in this sport. The tunics of the young women are cut briefly, to better reveal their charms. The young man wears binding fiber about his left wrist, with which to secure prizes. The young women, who are free, if the rules permit, as they sometimes do not, commonly wear masks, that their modesty be less grievously compromised by the brevity of their costume. Should the girl be caught, however, her mask is removed. The tunics of the girls are not removed, however, except those of the girls of the losing city, when the match has ended and the winner decided. The win is determined when the young men of one city, or those left on the field, have secured the full hundred of the women of the “enemy.” A woman once bound and thrown to the girl pit, incidentally, may not be fetched forth by the young men of her city, except at the end of the match, and on the condition that they have proved victorious. The captured women of the victorious city at the conclusion of the contest are of course released; they are robed and honored; the girls of the losing city, of course, are simply stripped and made slaves. This may seem a cruel sport but some regard it as superior to a war; surely it is cleaner and there is less loss of life; this method of settling disputes, incidentally, is not used if it is felt that honor is somehow involved in the disagreement."
"Beasts of Gor" page 42

"The game of Girl Catch is played variously upon Gor; it can be played as informally and simply as it was in the camp of my captor, for the pleasure of his men, or it can be a fairly serious business, closely supervised and regulated in a sophisticated manner, as it is by merchant administrators in the rings outside the perimeters of the Sardar Fairs, where the young men of various cities compete. In one form there a hundred young men and a hundred young women of one city, the women selected for their beauty, enter the ring in competition with a hundred young men and a hundred young women of another city, similarly selected. In this form no hoods are worn. The object of the male is to protect his own women and secure those of the enemy. A girl is caught, stripped, bound hand and foot, and carried to the Girl Pit of the capturing city, into which she is thrown. If she cannot free herself, she is counted as a catch. Her own men may not enter the Girl Pit of the capturing city to free her. Sometimes this game is played with the winning side determined by its catches within a time limit, sometimes, in more brutal versions, by the first city which secures the hundred women of its enemy. A male is disqualified from further participation in the contest if he is forced from the ring. Women from the victorious city who may have been captured are, of course, upon the victory of their city, freed. Women from the conquered city, on the other hand, are not; they are kept; they are turned over to the young males of the capturing city; in the game in which the first hundred captures decides victory this means there is a girl for each participating young man, usually one he himself brought bound to the Girl Pit. Accordingly, particularly in the early phases of the game, the young males often devote their acquisitive attentions to those young women of the enemy city who are the most attractive to them personally, to those they would most enjoy taking home with them at the end of the day. This sport of Girl Catch, interestingly, when matters of honor are not thought to be involved, has been used upon occasion by cities to settle boundary disputes and avert wars."
"Slave Girl of Gor" page 54

"He cried out a word, which I would later learn meant "Quarry." It is the signal that the game has begun, that the girl is now available, that she is now at large for capture. At the same time that he had cried out this word he had swung the switch and struck Eta a swift, stinging blow below the small of the back, making her cry out, identifying her original position and, with a jangle of bells, starting her into motion. The men wheeled toward the sound. Eta stopped, frozen. She was crouched over, her hands tied behind her back. Whether the slender, supple disciplinary device would be used often in the game depends much on the skill of the girl player. She must, following the rules, move at least once in every five Ihn, which is a little less than five seconds. If she does not move within five Ihn, perhaps being frightened, or having miscounted, the referee, with the switch, swiftly and exactly identifies her position for the contestants."
"Slave Girl of Gor" page 55

“In one place, hearing a gangling of bells, I went over to a large open circle of fellows to watch a game of “girl catch.” There are many ways in which this game, or sort of game, is played. In this one, which was not untypical, a female slave, within an enclosure, her hands bound behind her back, and hooded, is belled, usually with common slave bells at the collar, wrists and ankles and a larger bell, a guide bell, with it’s particular note, at her left hip. Some fellows then, also hooded, or blindfolded, enter the enclosure, to catch her. Neither the quarry nor the hunters can see the other. The girl is forbidden to remain still for more than a certain interval, usually a few Ihn. She is under the control of a referee. His switch can encourage her to move, and simultaneously, of course, mark her position. She is hooded in order that she may not determine into whose power she comes. When she is caught that game, or one of its rounds, is concluded. The victor’s prize, of course, is the use of the slave.”
"Magicians of Gor" page 40

"I smiled. I now had an excellent idea what had happened to the lovely, light-haired slave we had seen earlier on a lower landing, she whose tunic was opened and whose hair had been in such disorder. She had been “Captured” earlier. “It is an excellent game,” said the proprietor. “It helps them to become men.” Many Gorean games, incidentally, have features which encourage the development of properties regarded as desirable in a Gorean youth, such as courage, discipline, and honor. Similarly, some of the games tend to encourage the development of audacity and leadership. Others, like the one referred to by the proprietor, encourage the young man to see the female in terms of her most basic and radical meaning, in the terms of her deepest and true nature, that nature which is most biologically fundamental to her, that nature which is that of the inestimable prize, that of the most desirable prey, the most luscious quarry, that of she who is to be captured and mastered, absolutely, she to whose owning and domination all of nature inclines, and without which the ancient sexual equations of humanity cannot be resolved. Such games, in short, thus, encourage the lad, almost from infancy on, to reality and nature, to manhood and mastery."
"Mercenaries of Gor" page 278/9

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Greased wineskin

"I saw some fellows gathered about a filled, greased wineskin. There was much laughter. I went over to watch. He who manages to balance on it for a given time, usually an Ehn, wins both the skin and its contents. One pays a tarsk bit for the chance to compete. It is extremely difficult, incidentally, to balance on such an object, not only because of the slickness of the skin, heavily coated with grease, but even more so because if its rotundity and unpredictable movements, the wine surging within in. “Aii!” cried a fellow flailing about and then spilling from its surface. There was much laughter. “Who is next?” called the owner of the skin. This sort of thing is a sport common at peasant festivals, incidentally, thought there, of course, usually far from a city, within the circle of the palisade, the competition is free, the skin and wine being donated by one fellow or another, usually as his gift to the festival to which all in one way or another contribute, for example, by the donations of produce, meat or firewood. At such festivals there are often various games, and contests and prizes. Archery is popular with the peasants and combats with the great staff. Sometimes there is a choice of donated prizes for the victors. For example, a bolt of red cloth, a tethered verr or a slave. More than one urban girl, formerly a perfumed slave, sold into the countryside, who held herself above peasants, despising them for their supposed filth and stink, had found herself, kneeling and muchly roped, among such a set of prizes. And, to her chagrin, she is likely to find that she is not the first chosen."
"Magicians of Gor" page 36

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Pick up

"The slave, for example, and this is commonly included in her training, seldom bends over to retrieve a fallen object. Rather she flexes her knees, lowering the body beautifully, and retrieves the object from a graceful and humble crouch. Sometimes, to be sure, commonly in serving at the parties of young men, certain objects, sometimes as part of a game, objects with prearranged significances among the young men, are thrown to the floor, and she must pick them up in a less graceful fashion. Whichever object she first touches determines to whose lusty abuse she must then submit. This game is sometimes played several times in the evening."
"Mercenaries of Gor" page 207/8

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Run and hide

"The girls of Clitus Vitellius, I among them, stood at the line scratched in the dirt within the peasant village of Tabuk’s Ford, some four hundred pasangs to the nortn, and slightly to the west of Ar, some twenty pasangs off the Vosk road to the west.
The young lads of the peasantry eyed us with pleasure. We were all vital, lithe beauties, and, most excitingly, slaves. It was not everyday that such girls, the girls of a warrior, would be run for their pleasure. Our bondage meant that we must, once captured, be marvels for them.
There was discussion of the rules of the hunt. Too, bets were being taken. Some of the young men came to the line, to look us over at closer hand. (...)
I looked over at Slave Beads. She was crying. Her head was in her hands. Two peasant lads, one standing, one crouching, were, by hand and eye, appraising her flesh. They did this with the same attention and innocence that they would have brought to the examination of any other domestic animal.
The boys then moved on to me. I closed my eyes. They were not gentle. I was examined with less respect, being a slave, than would have been accorded to a bosk heifer. (...)
“Prepare to run, Slaves!” called a peasant. (...)
“When the torch is lowered,” called a peasant, lifting up a torch, lit from the fire, “you will run.” “Yes, Master,” we said to him. “The torch will then be placed in the earth,” he said. “when it is fixed in the soil, you will have two hundred beats of a slave girl’s heart.” (...)
”You will then be sought.” Said the peasant.(...)
I conjectured that we would have a lead on our pursuers of some three minutes. (...)
“Run!” cried the man with the torch.
I, and the other girls, sped, scattering, from the dirt line.
Some fifty yeards from the line, in the darkness, between the straw huts. on their pilings, I stopped, and, wild, gasping, in the Ta-Teera, looked back.
Already the torch had been fixed in the ground. The slave girl who wore the rope of Turnus on her throat as a collarleaned back against the man of my Master. Her head was back on his shoulder. Her eyes were closed. His hand was tight on her body, counting the beats of her heart. He was calling the count, but I could not hear him.
I looked wildly about, and then ran through the huts, down the long corridors between them. Then my hands were pressed against the smooth logs of the palisade sorrounding the village. I pressed my body ans cheek against the wood. I stepped back and, hands on the wood, looked up. The pointes tops of the palings were eight feet over my head. I turned about, my back to the logs, and looked back down the narrow dirt street. I could see the fire in the village's clearing, its light on the faces of the men about it. I saw the boys getting to their feet, eagerly.
“There is no place to hide!” wept Slave Beads, who was near me.
“We are slaves,” I snapped at her. “We are meant to be caught.”
I saw some of the boys spitting on their hands and wiping them on their thighs. This would improve their grip. The flesh of a girl would be less likely to slip from their hands.
More than one of them I knew wanted me. Bets had been taken on who would bring me as his slave, for the night to the ring drawn about the torch, as they had, too, on the other girls. A big red-haired fellow and a smaller dark-haired fellow had bet on which of them would take Slave Beads."
"Slave Girl of Gor" pages 152/161

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Games of Love War

"Be patient, Tarl Cabot," said Kamchak, beside me on his kaiila. "In the spring there will be the games of Love War and I will go to Turia, and you may then, if you wish, accompany me."
"Nomads of Gor" page 55/6

"The stakes, flat-topped, each about six and half feet high and about seven or eight inches in diameter, stand in two long lines facing one another in pairs. The two lines are separated by about fifty feet and each in a line is separated from the stake on its left and right by about ten yards. The two lines of stakes extended for more than four pasangs across the prairie." "In the space between the two lines of stakes, for each pair of facing stakes, there was a circle of roughly eight yards in diameter. This circle, the grass having been removed, was sanded and raked."
"Nomads of Gor" page 112/3

"The institution of Love War is an ancient one among the Turians and the Wagon Peoples. (...)
The games of the Love War are celebrated every spring."
"Nomads of Gor" page 115

"The theoretical justification of the games of the Love War, from the Turian point of view, is that they provide an excellent arena in which to demonstrate the fierceness and prowess of Turian warriors, thus perhaps intimidating or, at the very least, encouraging the often overbold warriors of the Wagon Peoples to be wary of Turian steel."
"Nomads of Gor" page 116

"I once asked Kamchak if the Wagon Peoples had a justification for the games of Love War.
"Yes," he had said. And he had then pointed to Dina and Tenchika, clad kajir, who were at that time busy in the wagon. "That is the justification," said Kamchak. And he had then laughed and pounded his knee."
"Nomads of Gor" page 116

"As I knew, not just any girl, any more than just any warrior, could participate in the games of the Love War. Only the most beautiful were eligible, and only the most beautiful of these could be chosen."
"Nomads of Gor" page 117

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Running for the Lance

"As soon as Kamchak had agreed to Albrecht's proposal the children and several of the slave girls immediately began to rush toward the wagons, delightedly crying 'Wager! Wager!' Soon, to my dismay, a large number of Tuchuks, male and female, and their male or female slaves, began to gather near the worn lane on the turf. The terms of the wager were soon well known. In the crowd, as well as Tuchuks and those of the Tuchuks, there were some Kassars, a Paravaci or two, even one of the Kataii. The slave girls in the crowd seemed particularly excited. I could hear bets being taken." "Nomads of Gor" page 60 "A black lance was fixed in the prairie about four hundred yards away. A rider beside it, on a kaiila, marked its place. It was not expected, of course, that any of the girls would reach the lance. If one did, of course, the rider would decree her safe. In the run the important thing was time, the dispatch and the skill with which the thing was accomplished. Tuchuk girls, Elizabeth and Tuka, would run for the Kassars; the two Kassar girls would run for Kamchak and myself; naturally each slave does her best for her master, attempting to evade his competitor. The time in these matters is reckoned by the heartbeat of a standing kaiila. Already one had been brought. Near the animal, on the turf, a long bosk whip was laid in a circle, having a diameter of somewhere between eight and ten feet. The girl begins her run from the circle. The object of the rider is to effect her capture, secure her and return her, in as little time as possible, to the circle of the whip. Already a grizzled Tuchuk had his hand, palm flat, on the silken side of the standing kaiila." "Nomads of Gor" page 70

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Lance and tospit

"Save for armed combat, lance and tospit with the living wand is the most dangerous of the sports of the Wagon Peoples. In this sport, as might be expected, one's own slave must stand for one. It is essentially the same sport as lancing the tospit from the wand, save that the fruit is held in the mouth of a girl, who is slain should she move or in any way withdraw from the lance. Needless to say many a slave girl has been injured in this cruel sport."
"Nomads of Gor" page 79

"This is the most difficult of the lance sports. The thrust must be made with exquisite lightness, the lance loose in the hand, the hand not in the retaining thong, but allowing the lance to slip back, then when clear, moving it to the left and, hopefully, past the living wand. If well done, this is a delicate and beautiful stroke. If clumsily done the girl will be scarred, or perhaps slain."
"Nomads of Gor" page 80

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Game of Favors

A free woman, in swirling robes of concealment, veiled, appeared before me. "Accept my favor, please!" she laughed.
She held forth the scarf, teasingly, coquettishly. "Please, handsome fellow!" she wheedled. "Please, please" she said.
"Please!"
"Very well," I smiled.
She came quite close to me.
"Herewith," she said, "I, though a free woman, gladly and willingly, and of my own free will, dare to grant you my favor!"

She then thrust the light scarf through an eyelet on the collar of my robes and drew it halfway through. In this fashion it would not be likely to be dislodged.
"Thank you, kind sir, handsome sir!" she laughed. She then sped away, laughing.
She had had only two favors left at her belt, I had noted. Normally in this game the woman begins with ten. the first to dispense her ten favors and return to the starting point wins. I looked after her, grinning. It would have been churlish, I thought, to have refused the favor. Too, she had begged so prettily. This type of boldness, of course, in one that a woman would be likely to resort to only in the time of carnival. the granting of such favors probably has a complex history. Its origin may even trace back to Earth. this is suggested by the fact that, traditionally, the favor, or the symbolic token of the favor, is a handkerchief or scarf. sometimes a lady's champion, as I understand it, might have borne such a favor, fastened perhaps to a helmet or thrust in a gauntlet.
It is not difficult, however, aside from such possible historical antecedents, and the popular, superficial interpretations of such a custom, in one time or another, to speculate on the depth meaning of such favors. One must understand, first, that they are given by free women and of their own free will. Secondly, one must think of favors in the sense that one might speak of a free woman granting, or selling, her favors to a male. To be sure, this understanding, as obvious and straightforward as it is, if brought to the clear light of consciousness, is likely to come as a revelatory and somewhat scandalous shock to the female. It is one of those cases in which a thing she has long striven to hide from herself is suddenly, perhaps to her consternations and dismay, made incontrovertibly clear to her. In support of the interpretation are such considerations as the fact that theses favors, in these games, are bestowed by females on males, that, generally, at lest, strong, handsome males seem to be the preferred recipients of such favors, that there is competition among the females in the distribution of these favors, and that she who first has her "favors" accepted therein accounts herself as somewhat superior to her less successful sisters, at least in this respect, and that the whole game, for these free women, is charged with an exciting, permissive aura of delicious naughtiness, this being indexed undoubtedly to the sexual stimulations involved, stimulations which, generally, are thought to be beneath the dignity of lofty free woman.
In short, the game of favors permits free women, in a socially acceptable context, by symbolic transformation, to assuage their sexual needs to at least some small extent, and, in some cases, if they wish to make advances to interesting males. there is not full satisfaction of female sexuality, of course, outside of the context of male dominance."
"Players of Gor" page 44/5

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