Sky-Fields

In many farming communities it is the custom to have a ‘Sky-Field’. There may be a single place which is the Sky-Field, or a new Sky-Field may be designated every year.

In either case, the crop of this field is harvested only to be burnt. The field may grow an actual crop, or the ‘crop’ may be symbolic, for example coloured ribbons tied around the branches of trees.

It is almost always forbidden to enter the Sky-Field except when working it, or during the sacrificial ritual. In some cases the field may be far away from the place where the farmers live and work, and even looking upon it may be forbidden.

In other cases the Sky-Field is a kind of prison, to which wrongdoers may be sent to dwell, generally until the crop is sacrificed. It is often the custom that a released wrongdoer will be given a new name, and their old name may not be mentioned.

Why aren’t there any retro-clone board games?

I’ve sometimes wondered why board gamers haven’t done the same thing as D&D fans and made freely-distributed, legal copies of their favourite out-of-print games.

There are a lot of out-of-print board games that people remember fondly and would like to see back in print. On boardgamegeek.com you often get people asking if anyone has a scanned rulebook for this or that game.

Unlike role-playing games, board games require physical pieces such as cards or boards, and so it isn’t as easy to distribute them via the internet. However I don’t think that’s the real reason. There are lots of ‘print and play’ board games (games which require the user to print out and assemble the game).

One reason might be that there’s no out-of-print board game that’s clearly the most popular in the way that D&D is clearly the most popular role-playing game. It’s probably less likely to happen if one person wants to start with Dune and someone else wants to start with Dungeon! and a third person wants to do Advanced Squad Leader.