I tried searching the game, but all I got were complicated instructions. So in basic rules, how do you play it and what do the different symbols mean?
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The original rules have been lost. There are two competing interpretations about how the game might have been played. These rules are usually used when the game is reprinted these days. One version is R.C. Bell , the other is Kendall. Both rules sets can be viewed here.
Both rule sets believe that this game was a precursor to backgammon. The game was originally played with 4 sticks that were marked on one side. You would move a single pawn 1-5 squares (one for each mark, or 5 for no marks) along the backwards S-path. Two pawns could not occupy the same space. Your own pawns block your movement, and landing on an opponents pawn either swapped (Kendall) or removed (Bell) the piece(s).
The Bell rules:
The Kendall rules:
Try watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R2bxk5K4J0
I hope it helps!