Games you wouldn’t realise are ancient

Photo by lil artsy:  

It’s no secret that games are extremely popular today. Although video games have largely taken over traditional board games with the gaming industry raking in billions of dollars each year, board, dice, and card games have always been – and still are – a popular way to relax and unwind.

But have you ever stopped to think about where your favourite games actually come from? When you delve into the history of certain games, some are so ancient that we don’t know exactly how, when or where they originated. Here are some cool facts about our beloved board games.

What are the oldest board games in history?

  1.  Mahjong

The game of Mahjong can be traced back to the mid-1800s. Originating in China, this game of skill, strategy and calculation is often played with families. Like poker, the aim of the game is to make matching sets and pairs which comprise three or four identical or three consecutive tiles. To win, the player needs to form four sets and one pair.

Since its inception many years ago, the game has successfully made its way around the world and there are now at least 40 variants.

  1. Bingo

Bingo is thought to have originated in the 1500s in Italy before it travelled across to France in the late 1700s. But it wasn’t until it travelled to America in the 1920s that it started to become extremely popular. Although it was initially called ‘Beano’, the name later morphed into ‘Bingo’ by the 1940s when people all over the world started to fall in love with the game.

If you haven’t already played bingo, a bingo caller will announce the random number picked out of the bingo machine. Each player will have a corresponding bingo card with a selection of random numbers on it. The aim is to tick off your numbers – the first to get a line or a full house is the lucky winner.

Although the game of traditional bingo remains the same, bingo has come a long way since then, with versions of the game being based on popular TV shows like deal or no deal bingo and I’m a Celebrity bingo.

  1. Chess

Chess is an extremely popular board game in the UK with around 6 million active chess players in the UK. Yet the origin of the game is quite controversial. Although it’s hard to determine the age and origin of the game, many historians believe the game originated in India.  However, the game we know and love today didn’t really exist until the 16th century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the pieces were standardised!

The aim of chess is to ‘checkmate’ the opponent. This happens when the opponent’s king is in check and there is no legal move possible to get out of it.

And there you have it – now you know a little bit more about your favourite games!

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