The Game of the Goose - The Fab Board Game

The Game of the Goose by Gaby De la O © 2011
Ink on paper, 
297 × 420 mm
If you have been reading my last posts, you will find that I have been working on The Game of the Goose design for my MA. You can find some ideas here and here. My dissertation was structured based on this old board game, and although I modified some boxes (with awareness for the game purists  -please forgive me!), I followed the old designs specifically while designing the test boxes which are:

The Bridge (Box 6)
The Inn (Box 19) - depicted here as a set of dice.
The Well (Box 31)
The Maze (Box 42)
The Prison (Box 52)
Death (Box 58)

Basically, you roll the dice in turns and your journey begins. Your aim is to go pass the 6 tests mentioned above and reach the centre, the Goose Garden. The Game of the Goose was very popular in France, Spain and specially in Mexico. "Oca" is the word for goose in Spanish, and author Rafael Alarcon associates the term to "Languedoc" as in "Langue d'Oc", a region in the south of France. Several examples can be found which refer to the word such as Lenga d'òc, Langue d'Oc, Langue d'Oeil, Occitaine, etc. 

As you can see, I have also designed my own “Goose Game” in resemblance of the venture I have started. Working on this drawing has been such an overwhelming experience; while drawing and filling in the boxes, makes complete sense of how it resembles to one’s life.  The spiral can be easily applied to every area of our lives, being career, relationships, personal development, etc. If you haven’t noticed, the sense of the spiral is anti-clockwise, as if to indicate a return to the centre, a way back.  The design is yet another Fabulous Pouf, but the critical boxes, as I will explain further on, have been left intact. 

I shall recall that the symbol of the goose, like the swan, is associated with the oldest images of Mother Earth from primitive civilisations. The Goose was the enduring companion of Greek goddesses such as Hera and Aphrodite in Greek Mythology. Countless images of Leda and the Swan in Art History pervade in museums all over, and magical birds that escort heroines are popular in such folk tails like the German story of The Six Swans and Andersen’s The Wild Swans. According to J.E. Cirlot in his Dictionary of Symbols (1962), the goose is also associated with the descent into hell representing the dangers and fortunes of existence prior to the return to the maternal bosom

Can you see the two spots under the eyes? That was inspired by a girl who was sitting just in front of me at the library while I was drawing. I asked her if those were natural, she just giggled shyly. 

It is said the game has uncertain and hermetic origins, and it is often analysed with numerology as every one and each goose, number, and box has a very specific meaning. As usual, you can click on the images for more detail ;)

If you would like to have a print of the game, please get in touch sending an email to gabydelaoc (at)



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