Cyvasse

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Prince Doran Martell eying the dragon piece in a game of cyvasse .© FFG
Dragon and Elephant game pieces in cyvasse.© FFG

Cyvasse is a game which originates from Volantis.[1][2] The game is played by two players and features ten pieces, each with different powers and attributes.

History

Cyvasse originates from Volantis.[1][2] Ben Plumm learned the game when Volantis contracted the Second Sons.[2] Around 299 AC, the game came to Westeros, starting in Dorne, where a trading galley from Volantis introduced the game. It was spread from Planky Town up and down the Greenblood by the orphans.[1]

Cyvasse is frequently played in Lys[3] and Volantis.[4]

Gameplay

See also: Images of Cyvasse

Cyvasse is played on a board which changes from game to game. The players arrange the tiles on the board, with a screen in the middle, so neither can see how the other arranges their board. Amongst the squares that the players can place themselves, are mountains.[5] In turn, the players move their pieces across the board.[1] In Volantis there are cyvasse parlors.

Game Pieces

There are ten different pieces available:[1]

The dragon is the most powerful piece in the game.[4] While it is not exactly known how many pieces each player has of each different kind, one player has multiple elephants.[4] The goal of the game is to "kill" the King.[4]

Known color combinations of pieces include ivory and onyx,[7] ivory and jade,[3] and alabaster and onyx.[4] Squares of the game board can be colored jade, carnelian, and lapis lazuli.[1]

Known Rules

Several rules are briefly mentioned in A Song of Ice and Fire:

  • A dragon can remove elephants from the board.[4]
  • A catapult can remove a dragon from the board.[4]
  • A trebuchet can remove a dragon from the board.[6]

Influences

According to George R. R. Martin, cyvasse was inspired by "a bit of chess, a bit of blitzkrieg, a bit of stratego. Mix well and add imagination."[9]

Recent Events

Tyrion plays Qavo Nogarys in a game of cyvasse.
Art by Marc Fishman

A Feast for Crows

Myrcella Baratheon learns the game from her betrothed, Trystane Martell, when she comes to live with him in Dorne.[1] Ser Arys Oakheart finds the game maddening.[1] Myrcella takes to the game quickly, and wins more often that Trystane, though he does not seem to mind.[1] When riding through the desert with Princess Arianne Martell, Myrcella comments on how Trystane always places his squares the same way.[5] Prince Doran Martell places a cyvasse table in Princess Arianne's chambers so she can learn the game. She, however, ignores it. When Arianne is summoned to her fathers rooms after her imprisonment, she finds him sitting across a cyvasse table, studying the pieces.[7]

Margaery Tyrell and her cousins are studying the game when Cersei Lannister brings the news of Loras Tyrell taking Dragonstone, yet is severely wounded.[10]

A Dance with Dragons

While is in Lys, Quentyn Martell spots cyvasse pieces being sold.[3] Cyvasse is played during Tyrion Lannister's voyage on the Shy Maid with Haldon[6] and Young Griff.[4] While playing against Haldon, Tyrion places a bet, and wins the game, thereby learning from Haldon the true identity of Young Griff. In the game against Young Griff, Tyrion tells the boy to go to Westeros, instead of seeking the hand of Daenerys Targaryen. Later on, when he is separated from Young Griff's group, Tyrion learns that Young Griff actually listened.[11] Tyrion, under Haldon's direction, plays against the custom officer Qavo Nogarys in Volantis, in order to gain information from him.[4] On board of the Selaesori Qhoran, Tyrion attempts to teach Penny how to play cyvasse, though he soon realizes it is a lost cause.[8] When Tyrion is enslaved and displayed on the slave market, he boasts about his cyvasse skills as a selling point.[2] After Tyrion is bought by Yezzan zo Qaggaz, he plays a game of cyvasse against a man who had originally wanted to buy him (and remembered his claims), and later against Ben Plumm.[2]

The Winds of Winter

In the camp of the Second Sons outside Meereen Tyrion plays numerous cyvasse games in Brown Ben Plumm's tent.

As the Second Siege of Meereen is commencing a Yunkish nobleman enters Brown Ben's tent during a meeting. When he recognises Tyrion he demands that the the dwarf be surrendered for punishment. Ser Jorah opens the Yunkish nobleman's throat with his longsword. The man takes two wobbly steps, falls across the cyvasse board, scatters the wooden armies everywhere and dies on the carpet. A cyvasse piece ends up at Tyrion's feet. It is the white dragon. He scoops it off the carpet and wipes it on his sleeve, but some of the Yunkish blood has collected in the fine grooves of the carving, so the pale wood appears to be veined with red.

Arianne Martell, on her way to Jon Connington, plays a cyvasse game against both Ser Daemon Sand and Garibald Shells.

Quotes

Cyvasse , the game was called. It had come to the Planky Town on a trading galley from Volantis, and the orphans had spread it up and down the Greenblood. The Dornish court was mad for it. Ser Arys just found it maddening.[1]

- thoughts of Arys Oakheart


I hope Your Grace will pardon me. Your king is trapped. Death in four.[4]

- Tyrion Lannister when defeating Young Griff


You have other pieces beside the dragon, princess. Try moving them sometime.[12]
- Daemon Sand, mocking Arianne Martell after she loses to him

References and Notes

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