PGC2019: Isabel Maria’s Alquerque Board

 Isabel Maria shares project for the category of “what revels are in hand? Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?” 

A wooden board, with the geometric design of an Alquerque board painted on it


Despite having a good selection of SCA period games, I really wanted some more specifically Spanish games to add to my repertoire.  It became necessary to do some research to find quintessentially Spanish games.  Early on I learned about the different styles of playing cards, and eventually managed to acquire a modern set of them, but that was not enough.  So I asked “what board games were played in 16th Century Aragon, Catalan or even Portugal?”

These questions lead me to the game of Alquerque.  We have proof of it being played in the 13th Century, but things get rather more sparse thereon out.  However, it is generally accepted as having been introduced to the New World, where it was promptly adapted to suit the locals tastes, creating the game of kolowis awithlaknannai.  With that in mind, it seems reasonable that it would still be known in Spain during the waning years of the 16th Century. 

Construction & Shopping

Simple, solid pine board stained to make it look like more expensive wood, and mimic period board games.  The geometric design was carefully measured out before being drawn on in pencil and carved out. The carved design was then painted with gesso in preparation for painting.  In order to satisfy Isabel María’s preferences for surface ornamentation, additional decorations will be taken from a variety of 16th century game boards and combined before being added to the carved areas of the game board.

The game requires 12 counters for each player.  I play the game with 24 pewter jettons (12 portcullis side up and the other 12 with the jester up) until I find some better tokens.


A fun wee game that can tax the brain after a hard days camping.  Goes well with a light Spanish wine and small quantities of consequence free gambling.

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