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Moorish Quirkat for Windows

The King of Spain built a tower to hold safe a secret, and he sealed the tower with a mighty padlock, and charged his successors with the obligation each in turn to add extra padlocks so as to preserve ever more inviolable whatever was concealed within. Twenty-six kings in succession came to power, ruled their reigns, and died, but each respected the wish of the of the tower builder. Then a rash and headstrong, young king named Roderic came to power and instead of respecting the custom of his predecessors, resolved instead to own the secret of the tower for himself. Against the advice of all his counselors, he had the 27 padlocks opened and he entered the chamber within. On its walls were painted Arab horsemen, scimitars at their belts, spears brandished in their right hands. In the middle of the room stood a table made of gold and silver set with precious stones, upon it were carved the words:

"This is the table of King Solomon, son of David, peace be upon his name"

There was an urn on the table containing a parchment scroll. Upon the scroll was written:

"Whenever this chamber be violated, and the spell contained by the urn is broken, the conquerors painted on these walls will invade Spain, overthrow its Kings, and subdue the entire land."

That very day word came that the invaders had landed . . .

What is Quirkat?

The short answer: Quirkat is a game of strategy that arrays 2 armies, of 12 men each, on a gridded battlefield in a battle to the last man.

Too short? Ok, here is what we know:

(1) The meaning of the word 'Quirkat' is unknown, but it was also written as 'al-Quirkat', which in time became, in Spanish, 'Alquerque'. The game of Quirkat (Alquerque) spawned a whole series of later, related games, that make up of Alquerque group of games.

(2) It may be of ancient Egyptian origin.

(3) It apparently came across the straits with Tariq's conquering Arab and Berber army in 711 A.D. and spread from Moorish Spain (al-Andalus) to all of Europe.

(4) Its first mention in written history is somewhere in the 20 volumes of the Kitab al-Aghani (book of songs) which is poetic anthology on medieval Islamic society written by Abu al-Faraj Ali of Esfahan around 950 A.D.

(5) It is an ancestor (perhaps the ancestor) of modern checkers and draughts.

(6) Alphonso X recorded an (incomplete) set of rules and provided and illumination in his 'Libro de Acedrex, Dados e Tablas', a magnificently illuminated manuscript compiled between 1251 and 1282 A.D.).


Now this ancient Moorish strategy game is here again in the present, recreated through the magic of electrons and phosphorus, for you to play. Welcome to a game of the ancient Arab, Berbers, and Moors -- Tariq, the shadowy 'Chronicler of 754, Musa ibn Musa, the fierce Almohads, the great amir Adb al-Rahman III, and now you!

 

Download Quirkat.zip (1.9 Mb)

Interested in just the rules and history of the game?  Then download just the Windows Help file if you'd like.

 

Note: This program requires VBRUN300.DLL to exist on your system.

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