Top 5 Ancient Board Games

Which classic games are really the classics?

It seems like for as long as parents have needed to keep their cooped-up children occupied on rainy days we've had board games to help. We’ve all seen board games come and go but which have been around the longest? We rounded up some of the world’s oldest board games, the classic classics as it were. These board games that have been played for centuries. They have elegant rules, deep strategy, tactical opportunities, and they all continue to delight modern-day gamers. While these games may...MORE not all seem like child’s play they have all been played by children and adults of all ages. 

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    Go was first played in China more than 3000 years ago. It’s believed that it’s the oldest continuously played board game. Go is so popular in Japan today that newspapers run columns about the game. Known as Wei Ch'i in China and Baduk in Korea, Go is truly the granddaddy of all board games. The main goal of the game is to completely surround your opponent’s pieces. Don’t let this game fool you, the rules may be simple but the strategy is thought to be more complex than chess!

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    High Angle View Of Chess Pieces On Chess Board
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    While we may associate chess as a game of wits played between two European Monarchs the game actually comes from South East Asia. Chess can trace its roots to a game called Chaturanga which was played in India around 600 AD. Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) and Japanese Chess (Shogi) came into existence by 800 AD. Somewhere around the year 1200, Europeans began adapting the Indian game. Near the end of the 1400s, the bishop and queen were added to Western Chess.

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    Although it appears to be a much simpler game than Chess, Checkers offers plenty of strategic considerations for those who choose to look for them. Variations of Checkers have been played since at least 3000 BC. Great thinkers like Plato and Homer both reference playing the game. Checkerboards have even been found in Egyptian tombs. 

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    Mancala game board and marbles
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    The word "Mancala" means "to transfer" in Arabic. This game, which by some estimates is 7000 years old, challenges players to move pieces from bin to bin. Many rule variations exist, and Mancala is played in some form in almost every African country. There are over 800 different names for this turn-based strategy game. The boards can range from a simple board with two rows of bins or to more artistically crafted designs made to look like things like sea shells or animals. The...MORE largest of these games uses 400 pieces to play. 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Mah Jong
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    With roots dating back to 800 AD, Mah Jongg is the youngest game on this list. Originally a card game, Mah Jongg today is played with beautifully etched tiles. The modern version of Mah Jongg probably was first played sometime in the 1800s in China. Around this time the game also made its way to England. It has currently become a very popular computer game. The game was so popular that many computers used to come with the game already installed.