|Player Count||Two to Three|
|Objective||Deliver all of your marbles to the center of the board before your opponent, while sending their pieces back using the Zirakh.|
Originating from the Ashal Islands, Hisad is a rather competitive game of both chance and luck. Following legends of the mythological Zirakh, each player delivers their “harvests” represented by marbles to the center of the board before their opponent can. The nature of the game has led to some arguments to surface, most prominently outside of the Fair-Ports where it was first introduced to the outside world, as well as amongst scholars disputing over the true origins of the game.
After the fall of the Dewamenet Empire, the original game was thought to be lost to the sands of time. As with most aspects of the fallen society, the original rules for Hisad were destroyed and very little was left to be recovered. It was only after The Great Journey, most notably the recolonization of the Ashal Islands, that the pieces of the game were rediscovered. Without the original rules for the game, the pieces were kept with other relics of a bygone era. It was not until a Nefer politician discovered these pieces that proper rules for the game were written once more in an attempt to rekindle history and bring entertainment to the Isles in some form or another. It is because of the nature of the modernized game of Hisad that some scholars believe it to not be the original rules for the game and is perhaps an amalgamation of several games lost to the destruction of the Dewamenet instead. The discovery of other game boards and pieces in similar places the original ones were found would lend this theory some credit, although others state the game has garnered a name for itself and arguably has become independent of its origins in a sense. No matter how it was created, the game quickly found itself spreading amongst the Asha population, most notably popular with the youth.
Throughout the game, a wooden scarab piece will travel across the board and knock off pieces it may land on. This follows in line with the story of the Zirakh, a creature of legend to the Asha that was noted to eat whole harvests at once. The story of the game then details the plight of Asha farmers delivering their crops across the Isles, attempting to avoid the Zirakh on their travels. The name of the game itself follows this, roughly translating to the word “harvest.”
After the opening of the Fair-Ports, foreign merchants would come to the Isles in search of trade. It was through this that the game would eventually reach outside of the Ashal Archipelago, with smaller, travel-sized versions of the game becoming exceedingly popular amongst Asha traveling away from their ancestral home. The spread of the game would result in changes in the rules once more, although to a less substantial degree. As the game traveled from the Ashal Islands, travelers with the game would gradually and slightly change the rulings and exchange pieces for one another as time passed. In fact, it is not uncommon for two individuals familiar with the game to disagree entirely on how it is to be played, continuing to change unofficially through multiple house rulings the more it spreads.
Due to the game having slight changes amongst iterations, there are in theory an untold amount of variations to be had. That being said, two prominent examples of changes to the original rules exist below.
- In some variations of the game, it is possible to play without the Zirakh at all. It in this way becomes a game much more focused on the simple chance-based race of getting your pieces to the center of the board.
- Other variations of the game only use a single die, doubling the result for the Zirakh. This has a particular effect of some spaces being safe from the Zirakh entirely.
The Hisad board is a seven by seven board in a spiral pattern. Players move their pieces around the board trying to get to the center to win.
2 Sets of 5 Marbles
Marbles are moved along the board toward the center according to dice rolls.
The wooden scarab piece represents the Zirakh and moves around the board under a player’s command once they successfully get a marble to the end.
2 Six-Sided Dice
Dice are used to determine turn order as well as move pieces around the board.
How to Play
- Both players determine who goes first with a roll of the die, whoever gets the highest result going first.
- Players alternate turns rolling a single die to move their marbles along the board. Multiple marbles can be played at once, but only one marble can be moved per turn.
- Once a marble lands on the point in the center, it is counted as safe and moved off the board while that player gains control of the Zirakh.
- While in control of the Zirakh, that player rolls two dice and moves the Wooden Scarab piece that amount before moving normally.
- If the Zirakh lands on an opponent’s piece or the opponent lands on a space with the Zirakh, that piece is sent back off the board to be played again.
- If the player controlling the Zirakh lands on their own piece, or they land on a space with the Zirakh, the wooden scarab is moved forward one space.
The game ends when a player has moved all of their pieces to the center of the board.
- Using the /roll command will allow players to simulate dice rolls in-game. This can be done with “/roll 6.”
- It is advised to play this game on an in-game board, as tracking pieces otherwise would be difficult.
- The Nefer have long since debated on the most effective strategy for winning the game. Some state that the most effective way is moving your pieces all at once, while others believe moving one or two at a time is more effective. There is additionally a third group of Senef that believe rushing for the Zirakh is the best option, although this theory is yet to be proven.
- Some think the nature of the game teaches a lesson in moderation, as moving a smaller amount of pieces at once lessens a player’s risk of being hit by the Zirakh.
- The game was originally played by tossing a series of painted sticks in place of dice, with players counting how many ended with the painted side up in order to determine how far they would move each turn.
- Some Ashan remains have been shown to have pieces of the game left alongside, with scholars believing it to be a way of providing them with something to do in the passage to the afterlife.