Traditional Board Games

Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum: an ancient Roman racing game for two players, handcrafted w/ wood-burned artwork; customizable - MADE TO ORDER



  • Details
    A traditional wooden board game of Roman origin with wood-burned, historically inspired art.
    Ancient Rome was known for it's advancements in architecture, government, and art, to name a few. They also adopted or created many great games to pass the time - whether on a military campaign, or simply enjoying a fine wine amongst their fellow citizens within city walls. The game of Backgammon is attributed to the Romans, due to its close similarity to their game of Tabula, but the game of Tabula is descended from an even earlier game - Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, or the "game of twelve markings". Completely handcrafted, this modern interpretation of the ancient game of Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, or Duodecim Scripta, is created from quality hardwood, and can be created either as a single piece game-board, or split in half and magnetized to make the game more compact and suitable for travel. A fast paced racing game involving opponent player captures and dice rolls to dictate movement, this game will bring many hours of enjoyment to the avid traditional board gamer as well as enthusiasts of Roman history. A functional piece of art that will stand the test of time as surely as the ancient game has endured over the centuries.

    This board is MADE TO ORDER, typically requiring 2 weeks to create; the pictures are of past board(s) and are for example only. Your handcrafted board will be created at the time of order and be completely unique from any other.

    • Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum board constructed of 1/2" thick hardwood (your choice of cherry, mahogany, or maple); with a decorative burnt edge (edge style will vary from board to board). The board measures approximately 16 x 6 inches total in size, and can be ordered as a single piece game-board, or as a halved (or 'split') version. In the case of the latter, magnets are installed into the halves of the board along their meeting edges, as well as in each corner of the board underside; leather is then attached to the board bottoms. The edge magnets hold the board together during game play, and the bottom-mounted magnets hold the halves together for transport, making for a very portable and compact version of this classic, rustic game.
    • All artwork achieved through the use of pyrography, the art of wood-burning. Three designs are available, representing three classes of Roman society: Centurion, Citizen, and Senator. Each social class will have it's own definable artwork - Centurion will feature implements of war (shields, helms, and the very recognizable gladius sword); Citizen will feature examples of architecture and art (column scrollwork, pottery decorations, and building silhouettes); and Senator will feature aspects or personas of ancient Roman government (scrolls, busts of famous individuals, ornate lecterns, etc.) Additionally, a Greco-Roman styled border encompasses the playing tracks, and the Latin words "coepto" and "ultimo" ("begin" and "finish") are burned into the appropriate areas on the track. The board is finished with a natural, non-pigmented stain, and a satin lacquer is applied to protect the artwork and wood.
    • Playing pieces are included in the form of stack-able, wooden 'checker-type' pieces and handmade wooden dice for movement, both created from maple. A drawstring bag is supplied for storage of the pieces, and a rules pamphlet is also included.

    • Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, also known as XII Scripta, or Duodecim Scripta, was probably adopted originally from the Greeks. Its board has three rows of twelve playing spaces or points, and players each race fifteen pieces around the board, according to the throws of three dice. The game was gradually replaced by Tabula after the first century, though it was still played as late as the sixth century. The game became a prominent source for gambling, which was later outlawed in the Empire. Over 100 surviving game boards can attest the popularity of the game in ancient Rome, and boards were even found further afield, from Wales to Egypt. Boards were decorated in a variety of styles, some with squares, some with geometric patterns, and some were even decorated with phrases, the letters forming the points. During the latter part of the Roman Empire, more boards featured strictly letters and inscriptions as the gaming track, in an apparent attempt to hide the game from inspectors tasked with finding and eradicating gambling.
    • The game is played by two players on a board of three tracks of twelve spaces each. All pieces start off the board. Players decide who goes first by lot or by agreement.
    A player rolls all 3 dice simultaneously. Each die shows the number of cells to move by, either for three different pieces, one from each die, or for one or two pieces in sequence.
    For each number rolled the player can choose to do one of the following; enter a new piece onto the board, based on the number rolled on one die, or move a piece that is already on the board by the number of points on one die. If all of a player’s pieces are in the last six exit cells, they can move a piece off the board by moving it the exact number of spaces needed to remove it off the board. If a piece is knocked off the board by the opponent, then it must be re-entered onto an entry or starting cell, based on the number rolled on one of the dice. Pieces of the same color can be stacked on top of each other to an unlimited height; if two or more pieces are stacked on top each other, they are safe. The opponent’s pieces may not land on that cell. If the player’s piece lands onto a cell with only one opponent’s piece in it, the opponent’s piece gets knocked off the board and must be reentered back from the beginning on the opponent’s next turn, before any other piece is moved. The player who moves all fifteen of their pieces off the board first wins the game.

    • Processing / build time for a board of this type is 2 weeks to shipping date. This time frame also allows proper curing of the finishes, and is dependent on the current workload in the shop. Board and pieces will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail; if another service is desired, please contact me prior to ordering.

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  • Shipping & Policies

    Shipping from United States

    Processing time

    1-2 weeks

    Estimated shipping times

    • North America : 3 - 5 business days

    I'll do my best to meet these shipping estimates, but can't guarantee them. Actual delivery time will depend on the shipping method you choose.

    Customs and import taxes

    Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

    Payment Options

    Secure options
    • Accepts Etsy gift cards

    Returns & Exchanges

    I gladly accept returns and exchanges

    Just contact me within: 7 days of delivery

    Ship items back to me within: 14 days of delivery

    I don't accept cancellations

    But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

    The following items can't be returned or exchanged

    Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:

    • Custom or personalized orders
    • Perishable products (like food or flowers)
    • Digital downloads
    • Intimate items (for health/hygiene reasons)
    • Items on sale

    Conditions of return

    Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Wholesale availability

    Due to the nature of the majority of my work, and the typical amount of business that comes through my shop, wholesale items are not available.

    Custom and personalized orders

    Please contact me before placing an order should you desire customizations not outlined or offered in any particular listing.

    Holiday ordering

    During the Christmas holiday season, I can quickly become VERY busy; typically putting in 12 hour days in order to make holiday shipping deadlines.
    Please plan ahead - I begin taking Christmas orders in late August, but due to workload, I will close the shop to further made-to-order requests the first week of December. Ready to ship items remain listed and ship as stated in their listing.

    Shipping times

    In the case of any custom or Made To Order item, I try very hard to meet the listed production/ship time for the listed item. However, I am a one-man shop, and the handcrafted nature of the work, particularly during busy periods, can cause delays. If you require your item by a specific date, please inquire first. I do not rush the work, as I want each piece to be exceptional and worthy to the person purchasing it. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and of course, your patronage!

  • Reviews

    Reviews (2)


    A very nice work of art as well as an entertaining game! A great deal of effort put into the craftsmanship. Thank you!!!