Board Games: Older Than Written Language. Also Possibly Older Than Tables.

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Board gaming as a hobby has been growing like mad recently. With so much going on, it’s a tough hobby to keep up with, but how much do you know about how board gaming got its start? How have games evolved throughout history since those first games? And where can we get our hands on some of those ancient games?

Peter Attia attempts to address these sorts of questions in his article “ The Full History of Board Games.” Well, he doesn’t exactly say where you can buy some knucklebone dice or a 5,000-year-old copy of Senet, but he does describe the cultures that created them.

Image Credit:  Dmitry Denisenkov

For example, many ancient games used “dice sticks” instead of a single die. These two-sided, painted sticks were thrown to determine your “roll.” And what do you think the oldest board game still played today is? Hint: It’s not backgammon.

Peter’s writing explores all sorts of fascinating board game trivia like this, but it’s not so comprehensive that it will cause you flashbacks of 4th-period history class. In all actuality, your curiosity will probably be piqued just enough that you’ll find yourself looking up topics such as “Libro de los Juegos” and “Book of the Dead” on Wikipedia.

Image Credit: The British Museum

The article finishes with some recent board game history such as the unexpected success and influence of Settlers of Catan, Spiel des Jahres (a very prestigious board game award), Kickstarter, and even  TableTop and  International TableTop Day.

Okay, now that we’re all really curious about board game history, can someone build a board game museum already?

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