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Elephant Hunt. Ituri Forest Pygmi traditional game with chess-like elements. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2004-08-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I would like to share the following correspondance with Freederick.

On Sat, 21 Aug 2004 Tony Quintanilla wrote :
>Very nice! How did you learn about this game?

Thank you!

I learned about Elephant Hunt secondhand from a francophone friend of mine
in my college years, who had an interest in anthropology.  The notes in
Father Morceau's diary made much ado about the game being played on a
10x10 board; he theorized a lot about the Pygmies either borrowing the
game from a more advanced culture with a base-ten counting system, or
starting with a 5x5 field for the elephant (the Pygmies, it seems, use a
base-five system) from which the 10x10 board arose by subdivision.  All of
this is not germane to the rules of the game, and I don't remember it
well anyway.  The actual rules were given a skimpy and incomplete
treatment in the notes.  The author did mention that the Elephant moved on
the 5x5 field on which the 10x10 field for the Pygmies was 'overlaid by
halving', and that the Pygmies moved 'by hopping about, like our
chess-knight' but I personally doubt they actually made a Knight-move,
which is sort of abstract.  However, other possible alternatives (like D
and/or A) seem to me to be out of the question, as the Pygmies cannot
possibly win if colorbound.  Thus, not having other information, I
implemented them with a Knight-move, which makes for an interesting game. 
The Shaman (witch-doctor, IIRC, was the term employed) was described as
making 'double moves'.  I implemented this as W2F2; it could just as
well be t[NN], or perhaps the move of the Lion in Chu Shogi: t[KK].  These
variants also seem interesting and playable.  Unfortunately I have lost
contact with the friend who provided the information, and I have no idea
of other sources.

Sincerely yours