Games in Esperanto-Land
by Ralph Dumain
The speakers of the international languageEsperanto constitute a diaspora scattered over the globe. Informally, they communicate among themselves by means of correspondence, face-to-face contacts, telephone calls, and nowadays computer networks and fax machines. More formally, there are local clubs, national and international organizations, special interest organizations, cultural centers, meetings, conferences, publishers, books, magazines, newsletters, and directories. Naturally, it is possible only to experience and hence to know a tiny fraction of what goes on on the interpersonal level, including game-playing.
However, the yearbook of the Universal Esperanto Association includes a directory of a unique international system of Esperanto delegates that has been in existence for most of this century. These delegates constitute only a miniscule percentage of Esperanto speakers, but the delegita reto (delegate network) does provide a way of contacting at least some Esperantists in most areas of the globe. Many of these delegates have special interests or areas of expertise which are indexed in the directory. There are a few delegates whose "specialty" is a specific game. The game most represented in the delegate system is orthodox chess, with delegates in 11 countries (a delegate apiece in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Finnland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Hungary, USSR, and the USA). There is an additional delegate in Brazil whose specialty is chess on a three-colored board (presumably a form of hexagonal chess). Go has delegates in three countries (one delegate apiece in the Federal Republic of Germany, Japana westerner!, and the USSR). Finally, there is a delegate in the United Kingdom who is an aficionado of playing cards.
I have access to only a fraction of the Esperanto magazines being published, and in those, when puzzles do appear, they are usually crossword puzzles and other word puzzles, although I have seen some chess problems. I have read two articles about role-playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons). Neither describes the rules for any of these games. One explains their general principles. The other deals with their politics, particularly the attacks on them by Christian fundamentalists based on charges of occultism. As can be seen from the accompanying bibliography based almost entirely on books in print, the realm of published monographs is a bit more diversified. I do not here include sports or physical games (there exist several Esperanto monographs on martial arts, for example), nor do I include language learning games. One should not conclude from this meagre bibliography that there is little publishing activity in Esperanto. On the contrary, there are thousands of Esperanto books in print, a large percentage of which are poetry and fiction, and tens of thousands of books have been published in Esperanto over the course of its history. The size of this bibliography would suggest rather that publishing books on games is a very low priority of the Esperanto movement; in national languages the percentages of game books compared to the total output of published books are undoubtedly much higher.
The board games represented in Esperanto publications tend towards the exotic by western standards. Ironically, standard chess would seem to be the most popular game in the Esperanto world, yet there is not a single Esperanto book in print on chess. I can only speculate that, because standard chess is so universally widespread, there are books on it in virtually every written language, and hence it does not need to be "introduced" to the public. The author of the book on Go strategy (an original Esperanto work!) claims that his book fills a gap in the Go literature, between introductory and intermediate level texts. He feels that existing intermediate texts already assume too much comprehension of strategic concepts on the part of the reader, and that his book provides a good introductory overview of all important strategic concepts.
Finally, there are three international Esperantist organizations (listed below) that are devoted respectively to Go, standard chess, and hexagonal chess. I have not yet participated in any of them, so I cannot report on their activities, accomplishments, or quality.
Esperanta Ŝak-Ligo Internacia [International Esperanto Chess League], Zižkova 197, 53303 Daŝice, Czechoslovakia. Founded 1958; 370 members in 20 countries. Publishes periodical Esperanta ŝako.
Esperantista Go-Ligo Internacia [International Esperantist Go League], 2-26-2 Kozima, Tyohu, Tokyo, 182 Japan. Founded 1979; 150 members in 28 countries. Sponsors face-to-face and correspondence go games. Publishes annual bulletin Esperanton per Goo, Goon per Esperanto. Dues: $2/year.
Internacia Esperantista Heksa-Ŝaka Klubo [International Esperantist Hexagonal Chess Club], SK, Box 27, Postamt, Minsk, SU-220050, USSR. Founded 1983; 60 members in 19 countries. Publishes periodicals E-ŝako, TLo.
"Xiang qi: ĉinaj ŝakoj," by Laurent Septier. Supplement to La Kancerkliniko #40, 1986. 14 p.
Heksa ŝako [Hexagonal chess], rules by Vladyslav Glinski. London: International Hexagonal Chess Federation. 4 p.
Fundamento de taktiko kaj strategio en go-ludo [Fundamentals of tactics and strategy in Go], by Minosuke Emori. Esperantista Go-Ligo Internacia, 1981. 6+193 p. (Esperanta Go-Serio; no. 2.) For those who already know how to play.
Invito al go-ludo [Invitation to Go], by Minosuke Emori. Japana Esperantista Go-Asocio, 1979. 51 p. Introductory text.
Maĝango [Mah Jong], by Laurent Septier. Pierrefitte, France: La Kancerkliniko, 1986. 30 p. [Supplement to La Kancerkliniko #40.]
"Maĝango," by Bertilo Wennergren, based on A Mah Jong Handbook by E.N. Whitney. In: La Kromkancerkliniko 6. 12 p. "According to the official rules of the Japan Mah Jong Association."
Gimnastiko por cerbo [Gymnastics for the brain], by Hirosi Tacumi. Osaka: Japana Esperanta Librokooperativo, 1986. 128 p. Logical and mathematical puzzles.
CROSSWORD AND SIMILAR WORD PUZZLES
Krucenigmoj kaj humuro [Crossword puzzles and humor], by Stano Marĉek and Stano Markoviĉ. Martin, 1977. 53 p.
Instrua amuzo (Krucvortenigmoj kaj humuro, vol. 2) [Instructive amusement ...], by Stano Marĉek and Stano Markoviĉ. Martin, 1979. 36 p.
Ebloj de l'magia kubo; Rekunmeto-simetriaj figuroj [Possibilities of the magic cube; recombinatory-symmetrical forms]. Buenos Aires: Verda Kvinopo Bonaerana, 1982. 24 p.
Kubologio [Cubology]. Buenos Aires: Verda Kvinopo Bonaerana, 1982-3. 80 p.
MISCELLANEOUS GAMES AND AMUSEMENTS
Luda kajero de LUDAKA [Game sketchbook of LUDAKA], by Eckhard Bick. Bonn: LUDAKA, 1983. 145 p. 145 various games.
La ludo de Pinokjo [The game of Pinnochio]. Card game for 2-4 persons based on the adventures of Pinnochio.
NOTE: For information about Esperanto, contact the local club in your city, your national Esperanto organization, or the Universal Esperanto Association (Nieuwe Binnenweg 176, 3015 BJ Rotterdam, Netherlands). The Esperanto League for North America will provide free information about Esperanto, and offers a free postal course. For further information, you may also contact the author.
12 January 1990
The web version of the text is slightly edited from the print version. Some of this information is likely to be outdated.
©1990, 1994, 2005 Ralph Dumain
SOURCE: Dumain, Ralph. "Games in Esperanto-Land," World Game Review, no. 12, January 1994, pp. 32-34.
Esperanto Games Web Guide / Esperanto Ludoj Retgvidilo
Konstelacio: tabulludo: regularo / Constellation: board game: rules
Monĉaso: tabulludo: regularo / Moneychase: board game: rules
Hermann Hesse, Esperanto, Klera Utopio, Universala Lingvo / Intellectual Utopia, Universal Language
"Ludo" de Kálmán Kalocsay
Esperanto Study Guide / Esperanto-Gvidilo
Board Games & Related Games & Recreations: Web Guide
of Board Games & Related Games & Recreations
(As of 30 August 1994) by Ralph Dumain
& Catalog of Board Games & Related Games & Recreations:
Games Collection of Ralph Dumain:
Supplement # 1 (1994-2008)
Noteworthy Books on Board Games & Related Games & Recreations
Miscellaneous Articles & Essays on Games: Selected Bibliography
Leibniz & Games
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