Snakes and Foxes

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Author: Kyria d’Oreyn

General

Snakes and Foxes is a children's game that cannot be won without breaking the rules. Almost every child enjoys it until they realize this (TSR, Ch. 28).

The game is played on a board with a web of lines on it, indicating which lines allowed movement in only one direction and which both. There are two lots of ten discs, one set inked with wavy lines representing the snakes and another inked with triangles representing the foxes; players have black discs. They begin the game by saying "Courage to strengthen, fire to blind, music to dazzle, iron to bind" while drawing a triangle with a wavy line through it in the air. The purpose of the game is to find a way to the circle in the middle of the board, but most of the time you do not make it as far as the outer edge.

On each of their turn, the snakes and foxes get to roll six dice carved with triangles and wavy lines. This means that they can take zero to six steps, and whatever number is rolled, you have to move their discs accordingly toward yours by the shortest path. If a snake or fox lands on a field occupied by a player, he or she is out of the game. And as long as the rules are followed, this always happens.

Historians believe this game is an ancient metaphor of how to deal with the Aelfinn and Eelfinn (LoC, Ch. 33; KoD, Glossary).

According to Birgitte, the sign that is drawn in the air at the beginning of each game opens the Tower of Ghenjei and lets a gateway to the lands of the Aelfinn and Eelfinn appear (KoD, Ch. 10).

Miscellaneous

  • Olver loves this game. His father made him a board out of red cloth with the web of lines drawn in black ink along with the sets of discs and carved wooden dice. Olver carries the cloth and a pale wooden box on his person everywhere (LoC, Ch. 22; Ch. 33).
  • Olver asks Mat what the saying at the beginning of the game means, but Mat does not know (LoC, Ch. 22). Birgitte tells Perrin that those are the ways to win against the snakes and foxes (TSR, Ch. 28).
  • Mat tells Olver he can teach Daerid to play Snakes and Foxes, because he said he would like to learn. Daerid's incredulity shows, however, that Mat only said this to have someone looking after the boy, so he does not run off again (LoC, Ch. 38).
  • Mat thinks Olver would almost give up his nightly games of Snakes and Foxes for Riselle and the books (WH, Ch. 18).
  • Despite being a grown man, Beslan seems to think you could win at Snakes and Foxes (WH, Ch. 30).
  • In her letter to Thom, Moiraine tells him to remember and heed what he knows of the game Snakes and Foxes (KoD, Ch. 10).
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