Playing board games is a favorite pastime for many people. Aside from board games that we can play off-screen, in recent years, the trend of playing board games online has become widely popular.
It is not quite known when the first board game was invented. What is known is that they are certainly not a recent invention. Namely, the oldest board games originate from ancient Egypt, China, Iran, and Iraq. The first board game was played in the prehistoric era, believe it or not. That game is presumed to have originated in Egypt, and then the second one was created in Iran five hundred years later.
Many would like to know what is the oldest board game ever known. What historians have managed to determine is that Senet is among the oldest board games. It originates from Ancient Egypt and it was played around 3500 B.C.
Even though it might not be among the oldest board games, the first one for which historians have found a piece of physical evidence is called Liubo. The game was played around 1500 B.C. in China. However, the exact rules of that game are unknown. Another game was played in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, and that is the African game Mancala.
Due to the popularity of board games, Indian people have created a game called Parcheesi around 300 A.D., and many years later a version of Chutes and Ladders about 1200 A.D.
It is presumed that Senet was played around 3500 B.C. in Egypt. It resembles the modern-day game backgammon. Besides Egypt, people played backgammon around 3000 B.C. in Iran, too.
Boards for this game were made of limestone, wood, or ceramics. It consisted of thirty squares, sort out in three rows of ten. Researchers weren’t able to figure out the rules for this game.
The game was found in many Egyptian tombs, mainly in the tombs of pharaohs. Queen Nefertari was depicted on the tombs playing this board game. If you wondered why there were pictures of people playing board games on their tombs, we could share a theory with you. Namely, it is assumed that players who are good in this game are protected by the god of the afterlife.
This is another board game that comes from Egypt, and it is thought to be the first multiplayer board game. It bears the name of a mythical character — snake-god. The board is in the form of a wind-up snake. There are two kinds of pieces in this game, small round items and ivory pieces in the form of lionesses and lions.
Scientists cannot say with certainty, but they guess the game was for six players. And regarding the rules, they are unsure about them as well. The Mehen board was uncovered in the burial chamber of King Peribsen.
Checkers is one of the oldest games, and it is still played today. This game was found in the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia, or nowadays Iraq. Throughout the years the game developed as it was brought in to other countries.
Board consists of three rows of twelve markings. The main goal of the game is to eliminate the opponent’s figures from the board. The difference between this game and backgammon is that one more dice is used in checkers.
The well-liked variations of checkers are “Draughts,” as people in England call it. Aside from the English version, in board games history there are also Russian draught and American checkers.
They said it was similar to backgammon. In 2004, archeologists uncovered a game board in the old city of Shahr-e Sukhteh in Iran.
The board is made of ebony and features 60 markers built of turquoise and agate, and also, there is a pair of dice. The game rules have changed since this game has been played in different countries. The oldest game “tabula” from Byzantine Empire had practically the same rules as backgammon, which dates back to circa 480 A.D.
With the help of the tablet from Babylon, historians managed to recreate the rules of Asseb. This game is played with two sets of dice and seven markers. This game represents one of the first board games. In 1920, British archaeologist Charles Leonard Woolley found two game boards while he was digging out the Royal Tombs of Ur. Other almost identical boards of Asseb were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt. Also, some of them are discovered in India.
This game is among the oldest games, and it is played even now. Even though it is not known when the game was created, but there is a myth that Yao, the ruler of the old kingdom invented this game to teach his son some values like patience. The game spread through Asia and became well-liked.
Nobody knows where and when this game emerged.
Archaeologists have found a carving on slabs in Egyptian temples, and those slabs represented the game “Mills.”
However, scientists cannot come to a consensus about the exact age of the temple’s tablet.
A number of boards were incised in buildings, but due to their exposure, it is not easy to decipher them. This game spread through Europe at some point. The rules haven’t changed a lot through time, and it is played even today.
There are two theories about the origin of this game. The majority of historians claim that it emerged in India during the Gupta Empire around the sixth century A.D. Others firmly believe it originated in China. A bit later, around 400 B.C., people played a version of chess that spread through Asia. It is safe to say that, in board games history, chess is one of the latest games.
The first manifestation of chess, from India, is known under the name Chaturanga, which characterized four military units, elephantry, infantry, chariotry, and cavalry. Ultimately, these game pieces turned into the ones we know today — bishop, knight, rook, and a pawn.
The game of chess expended through Asia and Africa. In Europe, it became popular during the medieval period. Chess rules were created in 1500 in Europe. After 1500 A.D., Europeans introduced chess to people in North America and South America.
The very first board game ever invented is not known. However, one of the oldest board games is probably Senet. Ancient Egyptians were the first to play it, and the game boards were discovered around 3500 B.C.
Even though it is among the most ancient board games, backgammon is not the oldest. Senet is considered the oldest board game as it dates back to 3500 B.C. On the other hand, backgammon dates back to around 3000 B.C.
The first kinds of board games included 2—6 players. The precise rules of ancient board games are not known as the majority of them have been destroyed. Some of the games served as the basis of modern games, whereas others are still played even today.
Senet is considered the oldest board game in the world. It dates back to 3500 B.C., and it originated from Ancient Egypt. This game was discovered in a great number of tombs, primarily pharaohs’.
The majority of board games come from ancient kingdoms and empires, mostly on the territory of the Middle and Far East. For instance, Senet, Nine Men’s Morris, and Mehen come from Egypt. Chess originated from China, while Checkers come from Iraq (former Mesopotamia). Backgammon, Go, and The Royal Game of Ur originate from Persia, i.e., modern-day Iraq.
People play board games for various reasons. Firstly, it is a common past-time activity throughout the world. Secondly, it produces happiness and lowers the stress level as well as blood pressure. Thirdly, it builds up relationships between people. Also, it teaches us to be patient. Lastly, it improves brain functions and creativity, along with building up self-confidence.