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.

PGC2019: Lady Eyja Gunnarsdottir’s Games Box

Lady Eyja shares a box of period games, created as a gift of Largess.  She describes it in her own words:

“I have created a Games box featuring the game of Tablut. This is a version of the Tafl games played throughout the Norse world. On the other side of the lid is nine mens Morris, which was also known to be played in the same era.
This was created as a Largess gift, as I wanted to create something fun and useful for a Norse persona. The recipient’s heraldry is yellow and red, and is reflected in the board and playing pieces. The box and playing pieces were purchased then hand painted.

I created a small linen bag for the playing pieces which has a fingerloop braided drawstring and the owners device embroidered onto it.

There is plenty of space in the box for more games to be added over time.
Something a bit different to what I usually do, but now I am keen to make my own games collection in the future.”

PGC2019: Solvi Gyldersdotter’s Games

Solvi enters two ancient games she has made in the category of “What revels are in hand? Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?”  Solvi has this to say of her creations:


Royal Game of Ur and Hnefatafl

Both Games from ancient times. Largely found on the silk road and in viking homes.

Materials and techniques: (how was the item made and what materials were used):

Royal Game of Ur:
After watching a video on youtube by the British Museum I was intrigued by the game named above. I searched for a copy to buy but unfortunately everywhere was sold out.  So after i was given some wood (MDF) i had decided to give wood working a go and make one.

My version of the Royal Game of Ur is made by hand, sawn and carved and coloured (with inks) the game pieces are wood circles that I found in the cheaps shops ($2 type ones – laser cut circles) and the dice were ones bought and I altered the according to the dice that were used on the video. As often as I do I did add some runes for my viking persona… a personal touch.


Being more curious and loving board games I searched up more medieval games and came across a viking game. I saw it played on a program “vikings” (on netflix) looked it up and it was an actual game! So excited I started planning on how I was going to make it. I was given some leather so went ahead and made a board that converted into a pouch to hold all the pieces.

The Board itself is a leather round piece drawn together with a wooden toggle (wooden button) and waxed cording. The pieces once again were glued together laser cut circles from the shop. The board was drawn on with permanent ink pens.

Both games were recently played during a down time at Golden Flight 2019 by various people.

Persona Inspiration:

My persona is from the early Viking age.

Solvi’s husband is a merchant on the Silk road, is away for many months and often brings home goods for the love of his life.  Solvi when not weaving or sewing goods to sell or give to the local populace, enjoys a good board game with  close friends in the evenings.”

PGC2019: Mistress katherine kerr’s Box of Games

What revels are in hand? Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?  Mistress katherine kerr enters a box of “games, toys, and other such entertainments”.  In her own words:

“To keep me amused as a child, my father would play dice with me, using the games common in the Venetian lands in which we lived. I have a set of dice, as well as some French playing cards and jetons and other tokens to play the Game of Goose, Marienbad and other games, though of course I do not gamble when playing.

I have made up a small box of games of the kind Katherine may have played, including rules for various dice and card games; a set of Pierre Marechal’s playing cards (France, 1567); a set of juggling balls and some dice and throwing sticks presented to me by the very creative Lord Ronan mac Briain.”

PGC2019: Maestra Isabel Maria’s Games Box

PGC2019: Maestra Isabel Maria’s Games Box

Baronessa Isabel Maria enters her games box in the category “What revels are in hand?  Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?”

“At longer events it is not unusual to find yourself with nothing specific to do.  While many times a pleasant conversation can be found, sometimes it is necessary to find a way to while away the time.  As a child, I was usually directed towards board or card games, so I was curious to know what similar pastimes Isabel Maria might be familiar with. Once I started looking, I found there was a variety of amusements from the 16th century, many of which I have slowly been collecting. 

Game Box Contents
Alquerque board (not shown), Gluckhaus board (based on the one found here), chessboard, decks of cards (in both the German and Spanish styles), pewter dice, knucklebones (my childhood set), Nine Men’s Morris (a gift from my parents), noughts & crosses (a gift) and dominos, as well as some instructions for various games – particularly card games. 

Also included are jettons and limited numbers of various imitation Spanish coins of the 16th century, with which to better enjoy the period passtime of gambling, but without the attendant risk of financial ruin.

As many games and accoutrement as possible are stored in appropriate wooden boxes, metal containers or cloth bags of varying refinement.

Construction & Shopping
This project is more of a journey than a destination – this collection is constantly being added to, refined and curated to meet the needs of either my persona or various events.  For example, a recent addition is the the alquerque board (see a forthcoming entry for that), and before that, a deck of late 16th German cards, (printed on card but without plastic coatings) to complement my Spanish deck (printed with modern finishes).

I like having a variety of ways to pass the time between activities at events, or during the evenings at Canterbury Faire.  Gluckhaus is a particular favourite.”