Amber was a favourite material for games boards, and this one follows the traditional arrangement, with a backgammon board on the inside, and chess and nine men's morris on the outside. In general appearance, but even more strikingly in the design of its chess men, the present example resembles a games board by Georg Schreiber, made in Königsberg in 1616 (Sotheby's, 12 April 1990, lot 199). The major difference concerns the more extensive use of ivory here, and the even more extensive figurative decoration. The points of the backgammon board, which are alternatively made of opaque amber and mother-of-pearl, have a foliate pattern, but the clear amber panels between them cover full-length figures of classical gods and goddesses. In the central ovals are representations of amorous scenes, flanked by the four continents. One of the ovals shows a male figure embracing a female one with the assistance of a violin bow, while the other is inscribed 'MIT MEINE(R) FIDEL TV ICH MICH ERGETXEN' ('With my fiddle I give myself enjoyment'), in which Fidel may conceivably be a punning reference to the name of the artist or his patron. Not all of the scenes on the inside of the board are secular, however, because some of the ovals adorning the upper rim contain representations of David with the Harp, the Annunciation, and the Resurrection. On the outer rim of the chessboard there are ovals with the Sacrifice of Isaac, the Spies returning from the Promised Land, David with his Harp, and the Triumph of Judith. Each one of the clear amber ovals designating the white squares of the board covers a profile portrait of a male or female sitter, and these are also found on the sides of the box, where the ivory panels are decorated with hunting scenes.
Given the extreme rarity of such sets, it is impossible to say whether the near-identity of the pieces indicates an origin in Schreiber's workshop, but there seems no reason to doubt that the present board was made in the great amber centre of Königsberg in the early 17th century.