This is a two-handed enneagram game. It is played by two players on a board in the shape of an enneagram.

There are 9 positions or stations or slots on the enneagram board. This is to be visualized as a “blank” enneagram board, with no reference to personality types; the numbers begin at the bottom and go up the left side 1-3-5-7 (these are the slots for “White”) and up the right side 2-4-6-8 (the slots for “Black”), meeting at the top in slot 9.

The game could be “staged” in a circular space with nine designated positions. It could also be played in a memory palace having nine positions, like Chur Cathedral with its 9 altars.

The theme of the game is given in advance so the players can meditate on it and plan moves. The two players play by occupying successive positions on opposite sides of the enneagram and assigning content to each. They can also make links between the content of the position they are currently occupying and the content of other positions already occupied by either player.

“White” and “Black” get five moves each. Each move is worth 5 points. The players score extra points by making links to the content of other already occupied positions: 1 point for a link to one of your own positions, but 2 points for a link to one of your opponent’s. At the end, Black has to move onto position 9, picking up on what White has put there and so summing up the game. So Black has more of a challenge than White, for which reason they have some procedure at the beginning like in chess to determine who is White and who is Black. The player with the most points accumulated wins.

In a “staged” version of the game (ludus sollemnis), there is a Magister Ludi who instructs the two players in their task, announces the theme to the audience, presides and adjudicates whether moves and links are legitimate, and declares a win or draw at the end.

What follows is a description of the moves and links in a sample game.

 

Theme: Vengeful birds

Move 1 („White“)to position 1: Prometheus has his liver eaten by a vulture sent as a punishment by the gods.

Move 2 („Black“) to position 2: In the Irish epic, Cúchulainn has a crow perch on his shoulder when he is dead, up till which time his enemies did not dare attack.

Link to posn. 1: bird perches on man with intent to prey on him.

Move 3 („White“) to position 3: In Irish myth, the corpses of the slain on the battlefield are eaten by “badhbh na mbeann”, crows of the peaks (a sort of battle goddesses or Valkyries).

Link to posn. 1: bird perches on man with intent to prey on him.

Link to posn. 2: Irish mythology.

Move 4 („Black“) to position 4: In Hemingway’s “Wings Always over Africa“, not only dead but wounded Italian soldiers in Abyssinia are attacked by crows and vultures.

Link to posn. 1: bird perches on man with intent to prey on him.

Link to posn. 1: bird perches on man who is not yet dead.

Link to posn. 2: bird preys on man on the battlefield.

Move 5 („White“) to position 5: In Greek legend (retold in a poem by Schiller), Ibycus is treacherously murdered by robbers but cranes flying over bring them to justice.

Link to posn. 1: bird serving divine justice.

Move 6 („Black“) to position 6: The “twa corbies” in the Scots border ballad plan to feast on the body of a knight treacherously murdered.

Link to posn. 2: bird takes advantage of dead man.

Link to posn. 3: birds feast on the dead.

Link to posn. 5: treacherous murder.

Move 7 („White“) to position 7: Odin has two crows who perch on his shoulders, go out into the world and bring him news.

Link to posn. 6: two crows.

Link to posn. 2: perch on shoulder.

Move 8 („Black“) to position 8: Noah sends out a crow and a dove from his ark to find land.

Link to posn. 7: two birds (one of them a crow) go out into the world to bring back news.

Move 9 („White“)to position 9: Saint Meinrad has two ravens who perch on his shoulders.

Links to posn. 6 and 7: two crows.

Links to posn. 7 and 1: perch on shoulders.

Move 10 („Black“) to position 9: Meinrad is treacherously murdered by robbers, but his two crows bring them to justice by swooping on them.

Link to posn. 9: Meinrad

Links to posn. 5 and 6: treacherously murdered

Links to posn. 1 and 5: bird serving divine justice.

 

In this sample game, White got 25 points + 13. Black got 25 + 23. So Black wins.

 

 

 

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