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Hail Victor

An ancient Roman gambling game played with four astragali (animal bones), a score sheet, large dice cup (fritillus), and for stakes.  The bone dice were traditionally cast onto a small tower with steps inclined down it, known as a pyrgus


At the start of a game, each player puts a fixed amount into the pot.  Ten rounds are played in a game with each player in turn rolling the astragali and recording their scores after each roll.  The four sides of the astragali score as follows:

The flat face is opposite a sinuos face; and a concave face is opposite a convex face.

  • A flat face represents Dog and scores 1 point.
  • A sinuous face represents Prince and scores 6 points.
  • A concave face represents Vulcan and scores 3 points.
  • A convex face represents Eagle and scores 4 points.

Extra points are scored for specific combinations, as follows

  • Four different values thrown (Dog, Vulcan, Eagle, and Prince, known as a Venus or Venereus) immediately wins the game and the caster takes the pot.
  • A throw of four Dogs, immediately eliminates the caster from the game and they take no further part in play.
  • A throw of four-of-a-kind of Vulcans, Eagles, or Princes, scores four times the value of the face plus an additional 20 points.
  • A throw of three-of-a-kind of any face, scores the face values plus an additional 10 points.
  • A throw of two pairs, scores the face values plus an additional 5 points.

The player with the highest score after ten rounds, takes the pot.  Players may play a fixed number of games or stop on agreement.




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