Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Historical Reference: Sports I

Those who know me know that I do not give a rodent's tail about sports in general. However, I recognise the fact that sports are a vital part of any culture. A made up culture should not be different, and therefore I have been giving this some thought. I could pinch Blood Bowl from Warhammer, or pyramid from BSG, but I'd rather not. There are countless other fictional sports out there as well, some more plausible than others.

Then it struck me. There has to be some real-world sports that would fit into the world of Argos. Some digging around the internets proved me right. I love it when that happens.

Calcio Storico is a Florentine sport from the late 16th century. The first rules were published in 1580 CE, and it is still played today. Each side has 27 players, you can use both hands and feet, and apart from kicking someone from behind, everything goes. The goal is to get a ball into a net on your opponent's side of the field, and a game lasts for 50 minutes, no breaks. That's more or less it. At least that's how I'm interpreting it.

The following links are to pages providing background and information on Calcio Storico:
Holiday Apartment Tuscany

Unfortunately, the English language YouTube video I found has embedding disabled, so you'll have to be satisfied with a good old [LINK]. Watch it. Seriously. If you are at all interested in the topic, it is well worth the five and a half minutes.

For the Wikipedia-entry on fictional sports, you can follow this link.

How does this fit into the world of Argos? 
The history of the Calcio goes back to the days of the Old Empire, and is still played in most Erian realms. At times it has been tried banned, but never successfully. Most cities and many towns have a league, with games played during the summer. Neighbouring cities also often meet for bi- or triannual matches. Regardless of whether it is a local or a neighbourly game, honour and glory will always be at stake.

[Picture source: 1; 2 Brainz; 3 The Telegraph]


  1. While not a big fan of sport in general, I dig bits of historical color like this. It makes history seem much more vibrant and "real."

  2. My thoughts exactly. Also, I'm a sucker for history outside the beaten path. And all things Italian. Especially Tuscany. And the 16th/17th century. So, yeah, I was quite enthused when I found the Calcio.

    In fact, my next trip to Italy will likely be planned around this event.

  3. Sports are definitely something I adore and consider for my possible worlds. I love this one!

  4. A great find, if that's the right word, and a clear starting point for speculative fiction, especially given the visible historical references in the real world treatment.

  5. I actually started working on ways to implement a modified Blood Bowl system into an old WFRP2 campaign. I'm also a big fan of the history of early football, particularly around the time it was branching off into it's modern descendants (Association, Rugby, Gaelic, American, and Australian Football) and tried to capture the anarchy of that time period in the Empire. If you're interested, I can dig up the files and share them.

  6. @Higgipedia:
    That'd be awesome. And I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who'd appreciate something like this as well.

  7. I was diving into this a few months back with my setting, creating blurkball. Sports are a great way to add important NPCs into your world or present to the players a legitimate way to earn some coin, among other things.