Alquerque, or Quirkat, is a strategy game which is believed to be of Middle East origin, first chronicled in the 10th century. It is the parent game to Draughts, known in the United States as Checkers. This handcrafted wooden game is both intriguing and challenging, and will make an excellent addition to an avid gamer's collection as well as a great way to enjoy some quality time with family and friends. The board can feature a historically-inspired motif and is created as a functional piece of art with heirloom potential, sure to bring enjoyment to many generations.
This game is MADE TO ORDER, with a production time of 2-3 weeks - the pictures presented are of other completed orders and are for example only. Your board shall be created to your specifications and/or requests.
- Alquerque game board constructed of ¾- inch thick hardwood (either Cherry, Mahogany, or Maple); handcrafted and decorated with your choice of art and edge style. Only the finest selection of hardwood is used for a beautiful and enduring board that will provide years of gameplay. Wood color is attained by the character of the wood itself after applying a natural oil. No pigmented stains are used.
- All artwork is achieved through the use of pyrography (the art of wood-burning by hand). A satin lacquer is applied last to protect the board surface and seal in the carbonized artwork details.
- Artwork available varies from historical to modern historically-inspired designs. Custom art requests and submissions are always welcome!
- The board has a square shaped playing grid with 25 points, connected by vertical, horizontal and in some cases, diagonal lines. The points at the intersection of each line are inlaid with a contrasting yet complementary wood denoting the opening positions for each player. The playing grid measures 7 inches across, with a 2-inch artistic border surrounding the grid, for a total board size of 11 inches square.
- Playing pieces (24 total) are included. Made in the U.S. by a local woodworking supply shop, then stained and finished by me in complement to the board. A drawstring bag is included for storage of the pieces.
- Further customization can be done by specific request; please contact me so that we may discuss the details.
*Note on ordering design AQ09a-f: If more than one heraldic element is desired for each corner, utilize the "Add a Note" link located in the Cart to notify me of your selection, and placement if applicable.
HISTORY / HOW TO PLAY:
- Alquerque was first mentioned under its Arabic name of "Quirkat" in the tenth century, in the "Book of Songs". It was introduced by the Moors into Spain, where it gained its current name. The game was later documented in the book "Libro de los Juegos", or the "Book of Games", commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile in 1283. Alfonso's book gave detailed rules of the game, which greatly help with its reconstruction today. There is much evidence of the expansion of Alquerque, with very similar albeit modified games being played in India and Japan, and the game was adopted and further adapted by natives of the Americas after contact with the Spanish explorers. Most surviving examples, however, are from the medieval period; the oldest extant find was found in a church building that has the game carved into its stone floor, located in Jerusalem. It is believed to have been carved there by a Crusader hailing from Spain or possibly France. Alquerque was a very influential game; its most famous descendant is Draughts (U.S. Checkers), which conjoins aspects of Alquerque with Chess. It is probable that Alquerque indirectly influenced the northern European game Fox & Geese through its immediate descendant, Catch-the-Hare. Eventually, Alquerque faded from memory, being outlived by both of its descendant games.
- Alquerque is played by two players on an intersected board of five points by five, the points being joined by horizontal and vertical lines in a lattice pattern, with some diagonals added as well. Who begins is decided at random, or at the agreement of the players before the game begins. The first player is at a slight disadvantage. A piece can be moved from its starting point, along any marked line, to an adjacent empty point. A piece can capture an adjacent enemy piece, if a marked line joins their respective points, by leaping over the enemy onto the empty point beyond. That enemy piece is then removed from the board. If such a capture can be made, then it is compulsory. If there is a choice of such captures, then the moving player may choose whichever capture he pleases. Multiple capturing jumps are permitted, and also obligatory if such a sequence of moves is possible, such as in Draughts (Checkers), when one player jumps and removes multiple opponent pieces. The game ends when one player has lost all his pieces; his opponent is the winner.
- More modern rules expand the method of play further and bring an extra level of challenge to the game.
- A rules pamphlet with both the historical and modern rules variants is included with the game.
Alquerque - a medieval game of Moorish origin; a predecessor to Draughts
Examples of available wood types and edge styles can be found by clicking the "Materials & Styles" link at the bottom of any page.