Board games have been around since time immemorial. They have started from the very moment that man has learned how to express his thoughts. Evolution has made it obvious that man gradually progressed in terms of how he was able to communicate with the people around him. The same thing goes with the manner in which man was finally able to find an appropriate way to compete peacefully. Who will ever think that the earliest people also had their own ways to do away with boredom and keep themselves preoccupied and entertained? These games actually helped them survive the earliest times when they were yet deprived of several things such as those that spell amenities and conveniences.
A Part of a Society’s Culture
Clearly, history tells us that every civilization has had its own share of peaceful yet entertaining games. In fact, archaeologists have already uncovered several relics that seemed to be boards with inscriptions on how the games were played. Even if the early dwellers were devoid of formal education, no one can say that they were illiterate. After all, they understood how to go about with their games. The mere fact that they were able to set rules for their games is more than enough to stop labeling them as empty-headed.
Tracing Back the Old Times
The Senet. So far, the oldest board game dates back to 3500 BC during the pre-dynastic times in Egypt. It is called as the “Senet” which means “the passing game”. Relics of them have been unearthed both in the pre-dynastic epoch and also in the First Dynasty burial venues which goes back to about 3100 BC. As time passed by, the Senet became very popular as it extended its fame even up to the New Dynasty way back in 1567 up to 1085 BC. Moreover, the Egyptians believed that one who plays the game really well is shielded against the wrath of the gods. It had also been customary for them to be buried with the game board since it represented a certain type of help as the soul journeys into the afterlife.
The Go. This game originated in China which traces back to 548 BC. There are legends that point out Emperor Yao being the pioneer of the game. People believed that he designed the game for his very own son. Also, it is said that the game was rooted out of a kind of fortune telling device and that the tribal warlords in China used the game as a way of enhancing their attacking positions by using stones. By nature, the game was supposed to be the game of the aristocracy and later in the 5th century AD, its popularity reached Korea and Japan.
The Backgammon. This somehow bears traces of the genuine Senet game and was restructured by Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum to have 2 rows with 12 points each. In the 6th century AD, it changed its name into Alea which then turned into a very popular game during the Middle Ages. It also took the name of Tabula which means “board game”.
These are just among the earliest board games that the experts have confirmed. Perhaps there may be more discoveries in the future. Nevertheless, it pays to take a close look at the ancient origins of what the modern society has now.