The first games in India
The invention of dice
But people in India may have been among the first to get the idea of carving those knucklebones and turning them into marked dice.
The earliest known dice in the world come from a backgammon set from Iran, from about 3000 BC. Harappan people certainly used dice about 2500 BC, and the Rig Veda and the Mahabharata – Indian books – both tell stories about dice.
Indian board games
Certainly Indian people invented a lot of board games, and they liked to play them. By the 300s AD, in the Guptan Empire, people in India were playing Pachisi (we know it as Parcheesi). They made the boards out of cotton cloth, and threw six cowrie shells to determine the moves. They made the pieces out of wood.
Chess and playing cards
Chess soon spread from India to the Islamic Empire and from there to Europe. Playing cards reached India from China around 900 AD; many people in India changed the rectangular cards for circular ones.
Snakes and Ladders game
Sometime around the 1200s AD (or possibly earlier), people in India also began playing a game they called Snakes and Ladders (we know it as Chutes and Ladders).
You threw dice to see how far you should go, and used a cowrie shell for your piece. The ladders stood for good feelings, while the snakes stood for bad feelings that took you farther away from Nirvana.