Board Games – A Historical Overview

Throughout history, board games have been an important factor, as soon as man was able to express himself to his brothers and sisters in meaningful conversation; he was looking for a way to peacefully compete. Man also looked for a way to relieve times of boredom when they were not busy working for the survival of themselves and their families. These two reasons alone are just a few of the catalyst to mankind designing board games throughout history.

Board games got their start with the earliest game “The Royal Game of Ur’ which was discovered in tombs and date to 2500 BC. The discovery by Sir Leonard Woolley proves that all the way back to ancient times people were playing board games. These games were played by the upper classes during that time. In addition to the upper class games some games were found that fit the other classes of ancient times as well. While this game may not be the first, it is the first known board game ever discovered that shows that even the earliest of man has enjoyed playing board games.

Later versions were called the Mancala games in which stones were moved around in holes on a board, this game may have been played with other pieces but the normal occurrence is stones. Mancala games have been around for many thousands of years and were played in places such as Egypt. These ancient games have been found in pyramids and other ancient structures, it is believed that some of the games may have been calculators however it is proven that many of the found games are indeed Mancala games.

Another form of ancient ones come from China beginning with the game of Go (Wei-qi), one of the oldest and most played games throughout history. Through out 2300 BC until it ended up in Japan in 700 AD, this was known as one of the most developed of the games during these errors. In this game it is about capturing your opponents territory and requires strategy in order to win. This game is also responsible for games that include war games where you must invade your enemy, capture games where you must capture the pieces of the other player, hunt games where you must discover who your criminal is and of course race games where you must get more of the objective accomplished that your opponent does.

Another one that came out of China, that ranks right up there with all of the ancient games, and is one of the few that still exist today is the game of Mah Jongg. This game has been around for over 4000 years and was originally found in the Tang Dynasty. This game started with paper cards and eventually evolved into being plaid with tiles. The rich originally played the game, and the rules were kept a secret from the common man. However, later in history, in the 1920’s it made its way into the hearts of Americans and the rest of the world. Still widely played in today’s society, it is now available in both the board game version and the online version, and takes a stand among the most popular of board games.

While there are many more board games that existed through out history, these games helped to shape the board games of today, in addition to creating peaceful competition all over the world. These few historical games have created generations of board game enthusiasts, who are able to enjoy their affects in today’s board game market.

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