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20 Squares (É Er-bé-et-ta, Iseb, Aseb, Game of Twenty, Twenty Squares, Room Four)
Ruleset: Seleucid


See the game 20 Squares for more details.




Proposed by Irving Finkel based on rules from Mesopotamia.


This ruleset comes from the interpretation by Irving Finkel of cuneiform tablets from the Seleucid Period which appear to describe 20 Squares.


Boards consist of a grid of 3x4 squares and a continuation of the central row in the grid that extends for 8 further squares. The game is played with two astragals as dice: one from a sheep and one from an ox. The sheep astragal provides the base value for the roll, and the ox astragal serves as a bonus. Rolls of the sheep astragal produce values of 1, 2 ,3 or 4. The ox astragal produces a "yes" or "no" value. If "no" is rolled, the values remain the same. If "yes" is rolled, the value of the first roll is boosted to 5, 6, 7, or 10, respectively. These rules are proposed by Finkel based on the values of moves provided in the cuneiform tablets (Finkel 2007: 21–22). Each player starts play on one of the right corners of the 3x4 grid, proceeding left down that row to the opposite corner, and then right down the central track, which both players use, with the goal of moving off the end of the track. If a player lands on a square occupied by the opponent, the opponent's piece is removed from the board and may reenter on a subsequent turn. Rosettes on certain squares in the central track mark spaces where a player is safe from being sent to the beginning. Rosettes in the corners allow a player to roll again when a player lands on them. A player wins when they remove all seven of their pieces from the board by rolling the exact number of spaces left in the track, plus one.


Browse all concepts for Seleucid here.


Finkel 2007.

Other Rulesets

Incomplete rulesets
Simple 20 Squares Played on a board with no markings.
Marked 20 Squares Played on a board with certain marked squares.
20 Squares Liver Model Played on a board shaped to resemble a liver.
Double 20 Squares Played on a doubled 20 Squares board.



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