Philip.Belben at Philip.Belben at
Tue Jul 18 13:25:59 EDT 2000

>+> I thought you were going to read _Ancient Light_?
>+ I think it is possible to play a game even with a quite different mindset
>+ the culture whence it originated.  You should see how we play mah-jongg in
>+ family!  Bears little or no resemblance to the Chinese game.
> I play several variants of mah-jong. Basic fan scoring, intrinsic points and
> doubling, limit hands or riichi, &c &c. It's just simple pattern-matching, a
> fancy tiled form of gin rummy. The point about the limitlessly moving piece in
> ochmir was that it was meant to represent T'An Suthai-Telestre, and its
> limitations can only be established outside the Game (there's no equivalent to
> the Hexenmeister or the Emperor-in-Exile in this Southland metaphor).

Hmm.  Don't agree.  I wasn't even thinking of rule variations here - I was just
thinking of cultural attitudes to playing.  The rules define a game, and can be
moved into another culture, where they still define a game.

To give another example, I think Chess pieces all represented, if not
characters, various types of military units involved in ancient warfare.
Doesn't matter - play by the rules, and it's a good game, independent of its
cultural origin.

The same will go for ochmir.  It is perfectly possible, even likely, for it to
be a good game, independent of its cultural origins.  Once again, the rules
define the game, and rules can be moved between cultures.

Think of it another way.  Mary Gentle makes the culture come alive enough for us
to enjoy the books.  So why shouldn't we enjoy the game?

([It's written that way] if you say the books are written by a human writer,
so's the game!)

>+ Ancient Light?  My good woman, I have every intention of so doing, but while
>+ the pile of unread books beside my bed still numbers in the thirties, I am
>+ hardly going to start scouring shops for it unless I have more than just a
>+ recommendation and an unfinished duology to resolve...
> So, shall I be an ungood woman and send you a copy <he he he>.

Yes please, if you would be so good.  I'll send you a postal address off list
(if I remember)...

> P.S. I had to be cornered and made to read Michael Marshall Smith's first
>      novel, _Only Forward_. It was, of course, fantastic.



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