Let’s Look at the History of Board Games


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.

If you think that board games are a recent invention, then you were misinformed. Namely, 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.

There is a piece of physical evidence that people have played a game called Liubo 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 Parcheesi around 300 A.D., and many years later a version of Chutes and Ladders about 1200 A.D.

Senet

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.

Senet Board Games

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.

Mehen

Mehen Board GamesThis 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

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.

Backgammon

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.

The Royal Game of Ur

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.

Go

This game is one of the oldest, and it is played even now. Thou, it is not known when this game was created, but there is a myth that emperor Yao invented this game to teach his son some values like patience. The game spread through Asia and became well-liked.

Go Board Games

Nine Men’s Morris

Nine Men’s Morris GamesNobody 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.

Chess

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 400B.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, that 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.

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