Micatio: A Roman Game
I admit that I love to buy new board games. There's nothing like opening up a fresh box full of tokens, counters, miniatures, cards, dice... We've all been there. But the Romans remind me that for a lot of games, you don't need more than your own two hands (or, in this case, one hand).
Micatio is a simple game of odds and evens, in which the two players throw up one to five fingers and guess either the total number they'll produce between them or whether that total will be odd or even. That's it. Romans, including poor Romans, were able to amuse themselves this way, and even used the game to make comments about a person's character. In De Officiis, a work about moral goodness, Cicero remarks that even peasants already know what makes a man good: "For among them was born the proverb, already worn out with age: When they praise someone's goodness and honesty, they say, "He is a man with whom you can play micatio in the dark" (De Officiis 3.77).
Could you play micatio in the dark with your gaming buddies? I'm mostly a solo player, and naturally I trust myself. But thankfully, I also trust my friends enough to get up from the table in the middle of a game. ;)
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My name is Liz Davidson, and I play solo board games. A lot of solo board games...