hist-games: Medieval gambling . . .

Thierry Depaulis depaulis at club-internet.fr
Sun Mar 7 01:58:39 PST 1999

Dear Seneschal,

You wrote:
>Greetings unto Thierry Depaulis,

Well, well. It's not a SCA name. It's my real name! (Even if some
Merovingian kings were called Thierry...)

>>There were not so many many gambling games to be played there: dice
>>'quackboard' (English) or 'dringuet' (French) (rolling the dice into a
>>chessboard and betting on black/white).
>  Thanks for your help, but now you've gotten me curious about this dice
>game.  Do you have the complete rules for it?  Also, I'd greatly
>appreciate any further background or documentation that you could
>provide me.

I don't have the complete rules for 'quackboard'! The rule books haven't
been kept... ;=)

Quek[e], quek[e]board (Engl.), quaken, quaeck, quaecbert, quaeckbord
(Middle Netherl.), quekebret (Middle Low German) was the name of a simple
game which is described in an English document of 1376:
"at tables or at chequers, commonly called quek (Š) a paire of tables on
the outside of which was painted a chequer board that is called a quek"
(quoted in Ashton, History of Gambling in England, 1899, 14; Murray,
History of Chess, 1913, 442; OED, sv).
The game was to bet on which coulour of the chessboard and on which side a
die (or a pair of dice) will fall once thrown on the chessboard.

The game is mentioned as early as 1350 and then up to 1508 in the Low
Countries as well as in England. A gambling house was sometimes called a
'quaeckbord' due to its offering such a game.
In France the game was known as dringuet (or trinquet, triquet) or 'le
point (or jeu) de l'eschiquier' (the chessboard game). The span of time is
the same: from 1380 to 1508.

Here are the rules as stated in a French document of 1431:
"un triquet, qui est une table ou l'on a acoustumé de jouer à blanc et à
noir à un instrument que on dit triquet, et laquelle table se baille a
ferme chacun an par lesdis mayeur et chastelain, et y prend ledit
chastelain moitié en tout"
(A 'triquet', which is table where it is the custom to gamble on white and
black with an instrument that is called triquet, and this table is rented
as a concession every year by the mayor and lord of the castle, and this
lord takes half of the whole).
As you see, a good little business...

Some references are given above. For France there is an invaluable recent
book by Jean-Michel Mehl: Les jeux au royaume de France du XIIIe au début
du XVIe siècle (Paris, Fayard, 1990).


Thierry Depaulis
130 rue Lamarck
F - 75018 Paris

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