5 Of The Oldest Games In The World (That Are Still Played Today!)
Board games have been popular almost since the dawn of time, but many have since faded into obscurity. While countless games are lost, some of the bests have survived and are still popular to this day. Here’s a rundown of some classics that have stood the test of time.
Chess might just be the most well-known game in the world, and it’s incredibly old. The first chess-type games were played in the 6th century AD, although these occurred with different pieces and on differently configured boards. Chess as we know it developed through the Middle Ages with figures like the King, Bishop, and pawns indicative of the feudal system at the time. The enduring popularity of chess is down to its simplistic yet deep gameplay – at the start of any match, there are more potential moves than atoms in the known universe!
A casino classic, Blackjack is significantly more “modern” than chess but still an old game by any conventional standards. It originated in French casinos in around 1700 and quickly spread across the world. The aim of the game is simple as players draw cards to get as close as possible to 21, but that simplistic formula belies a densely tactical experience. Nowadays, Blackjack is a favorite in online casinos, where it’s often played alongside other table games and online pokies.
Often considered alongside chess, checkers (or draughts) has a similar-looking board but vastly different gameplay. It was probably invented in Mesopotamia around 3000 BCE, and it’s easy to learn mechanics make it one of the most popular games in the world. Players compete to “take” each other’s pieces by jumping over them, but checkers is deep. There are hundreds of different strategies, and it can take some time to become truly adept.
Notoriously complex backgammon isn’t necessarily the most beginner-friendly game on the list, but it is one of the oldest. The oldest board has been carbon-dated all the way back to 3000 BCE, but the game was likely played even earlier. It’s not surprising, then, that backgammon’s basic rules have evolved and changed over the years. Nowadays, the aim of the game is to roll dice and move all fifteen of your pieces (checkers) off the board. Of course, as your opponent is attempting to do the same thing, the game gets complex fast.
#5 The Royal Game of Ur
The Royal Game of Ur clocks in as the oldest board game in the world, with its origins stretching back 4,600 years to Ancient Mesopotamia. The rules were formalized and recorded by an astronomer in 177 BC and miraculously still survive today. Although it sounds simple (two players race their pieces from one end of the board to the other) the game is fiendishly complex with the middle squares used for fortune telling. Nonetheless, The Royal Game of Ur is popular, and many replica boards are sold.