fox and geese




Fox and Geese has a long history that dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe. Descriptions of the game are found in Greetis Saga an Icelandic poem written in 1300 AD. The game was also found in the household accounts of Edward the IV of England, who had the game made out of silver. The game is still popular among the royal families of England. It is known to be enjoyed by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was also played in 15th century Europe. Boards are etched into the Gloucester Cathedral. The board found here only had diagonals and 13 geese. In the earliest form of the game that was played in England all pieces could move one space along the line to an unoccupied spot. This game is still played in much of rural Britain such as in Lincolnshire and Shropshire. The game began to change in the 16th Century as seen by the rules limiting the geese's movement. To compensate for their lack of movement, two geese were added to the game, making the total number of geese on the board 15. Later 2 more geese were added. Fox and Geese, however, was not popular just in Europe. In Japan the game is known as juroku musashi (sixteen soldiers) and among the Cree and Chippewa Indians of Canada, the game is called musinaykahwhan-metowaywin.

The Board

Crossed shaped board with 33 holes, connected by straight and diagonal lines.

The Pieces

Sixteen pieces of one color for the geese and a piece of another color for the fox.


To move: The geese may either move left, right or down, while the fox can move left, right, up or down. The fox captures by jumping over a goose into the vacant spot next to it.

To win: For the geese, the object is to surround the fox so that he is unable to move. For the fox to win, he must either capture all the geese or advance to the bottom of the board.

The game is initially set up with seventeen geese counters placed on the squares marked G and one fox counter placed on the square marked F. The first player is the geese and the second player is the fox. Players take turns moving a goose or fox to an adjacent spot. Geese are allowed to move one square left, right or down, while the fox can move either left, right, up, or down. The fox may also capture a goose on his turn by jumping over the goose that is in his immediate path.


Alternate Names