Who invented Board Games? - History of Board Games
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

History of Board Games

April 2016 - People were playing board games earlier than we have any records. Probably the first board games were scratched into dirt and played with stones or fruit pits for pieces. The earliest board game that we know about for sure, from Pre-dynastic Egypt, about 3000 BC, is a game called Senet. Senet was like our modern game backgammon. People also played backgammon in ancient Iran by about 3000 BC, using dice that were pretty much just like modern dice.

Liubo
Earliest Liubo game

By 1500 BC, people in Shang Dynasty China were playing a game called Liubo. We don't really know the rules to Liubo. A little later, about 1400 BC, Second Intermediate Period people in Egypt seem to have been playing an early version of the African game Mancala.

women play chess
A Muslim woman and a Christian woman play chess in Spain

After this we don't know about any new board games for almost a thousand years, but then in 548 BC there were people in China playing Go. About 400 BC people in China began to play a form of chess, and gradually people in India and Central Asia learned to play chess. Greater interest in board games led to the Indian invention of Parcheesi around 300 AD, and a version of Chutes and Ladders about 1200 AD.

Chess gradually spread west across the Islamic world to West Asia and North Africa. By the Middle Ages, chess reached Christian Europe, and after 1500 AD Europeans brought chess to North America and South America.

Learn by doing: play a game of chess or backgammon
More about dice games

Bibliography and further reading about the history of board games:

Chinese games
Central Asian games
West Asian games
Egyptian games
Islamic games
North American games
Quatr.us home


Celebrating Black History Month with the pharaoh Hatshepsut, the queen Shanakdakhete, the poet Phillis Wheatley, the medical consultant Onesimus, the freedom fighters Toussaint L'Ouverture, Denmark Vesey, Yaa Asantewaa, and Samora Moises Machel, and the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Proud of your class page, homework page, or resource page? Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Cool stuff we've been enjoying: Looking for birthday gifts? Check out these new Chromebooks - all the computer you need for only $229.00!. Then study in peace with these Beats wireless headphones - for the exact same price! When you're done, show off your presentation or watch a movie with this excellent smartphone projector for only $39.99!


Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
ADVERTISEMENT
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 24 February, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT