hist-games: chess-board w/ playing-cards

Teri C. Kennedy aquarian at infomagic.com
Wed May 13 16:55:09 PDT 1998

At 10:38 AM 5/13/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Dear Subscribers,
>In a book on the history of chess (see under) I found
>the following illustration:

The only resemblance I see to chess is the number of 8 tiles per side.

First, I would turn the board so that the 'ones' are at the top.  *Each*
number-set (four each of 1 thru 12)  is arranged together, and travels
clockwise around the board, then in toward the center (except for number 11,
which are set at the corners of the inner circle). 

 Also regarding the numbers 1 thru 12, each number-set contains one 'card'
each of the four suits.  

>2. Each of the 'cards' carries a number ranging from one to twelve which
>doesn't seem to correspond at all to the value of the cards.

There are 14 'cards' per suit.  Each 'card' has been randomly assigned a
1thru 12 number, *except* the Aces (set in each corner of the board) and the
Queens (set at the corners just inside the Aces).   So maybe the Aces are
the starting point for each player, and the Queens (of Love & Beauty) are
there simply to preside over the 'battle' (which would conveniently account
for the need for a 14th card per deck).

>1. A complete pack of playing cards with German suit-signs is illustrated
>on the board.

Does a pack of German cards contain 56 cards?
Each suit of 14 'cards' contains Ace thru 9, a King, a Queen, a 'Flag',
*and* 2 'Guards (Hearts & Acorns), *or* 2 'Jokers' (Bells), *or* 2 "others"
(looks like a woman & a monk in Ivy).  

This is four extra cards according to my deck.  Maybe they were conveniently
thrown in to help fill the extra tiles on the board?  And also, the Queens,
then, don't actually participate in the 'battle', but are there to observe? 

>3. Inscribed on the board is a circle divided into four quardrants each
>of which is divided into twelve segments numbered 1 to 12, too.
>4. I think that I can recognize a hole in the centre of the board. This
>should be for the axis of some device corresponding to the circle, for
>some hand or the like.
>Has anyone any idea what purpose these features served?
>Any suggestions on what game was played with this board?

What a picklement!!  

OK.  what if this board were meant for 4 players?  And each player is given
a flat playing disk inscribed with one of the four suits?  Then, what if a
balanced spinner were inserted into the hole, with just enough height to
clear the playing disks when it was spun, and long enough so that when it
stopped its spin one end, perhaps a tad longer, painted & designated as the
pointer, came to rest over a number in one of the quandrants. 

Now, each player must spin in turn.  In order to move your "Ivy" piece from
the Ivy Ace to the number one position containing an Ivy 'card', you must
first spin and land on the number one in the Ivy quadrant.  To move your
piece to the number two position containing an Ivy card, you must spin and
land on the number one in the Ivy quadrant, and so on, around the board till
you end up on the number twelve position containing an Ivy card.   

Each player must do this movement around the board, the goal being to be the
first with your piece on the number Twelve spot.  At that point,you are the
winner as your playing piece is presented to the Queen of your suit as her

Trouble with this plan is that each spin only has a one-in-48-chance of
landing on the next number you need in order to move ahead ... makes for a
*very* long game.

Maybe as a bonus for actually *spinning* a number you need in order to move,
you get a bonus spin!  Also, perhaps we could assign bonus spins for landing
on the "Flags, Guards, Jokers, etc." for your suit, as you land on them.
Since these seem to be fairly randomly placed around the board, each player
would get an equal number of bonus spins, but at random intervals.  I would
exempt the Kings from this bonus spin since the King of Acorns is on a
number 12 spot.  

Is this the only board of its kind in existence?  If so, NO DOUBT!!!  Unless
someone can think of a shorter way to play this one, I'd only recommend this
game in case of an extended siege! ... With no recourse for alternate

Are you *sure* this is actually *from* the 17th century?  Yeah, I know I'm a
SCAdian, but with the spinner, the movement clockwise around a board, and
the Queens of "Love & Beauty" not actually participating in the 'battle',
... it looks like a recent SCAdian invention to me!

Humbly submitted,
Lady Morgan the Celt
Lady Morgan the Celt de Artemis, MoAS, CFS, CMS (Teri Kennedy, B.F.A.)    %^ D
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