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West Asian games – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:40:39+00:00September 13th, 2017|Games, West Asia|

Earliest known dice (Iran, ca. 2600 BC) See that the six is already opposite the one, as on modern dice? But check out this Harappan die. The people of West Asia really liked gambling games. The earliest dice in the world are from a backgammon set from ancient Persia (modern Iran), from about 3000 BC. Backgammon probably came from even [...]

Roman games: What games did Roman people play?

By |2018-09-10T05:43:42+00:00September 2nd, 2017|Games, Romans|

Roman dice were involved in many Roman games Neither cards nor chess... Roman people played most of the different kinds of games that people play today. There are two important exceptions. The first one is  chess. Chess did not come to Europe from India until the Islamic Empire, about 1000 AD. The second one is card games, [...]

Native American games – lacrosse, swimming, dice

By |2018-04-11T18:30:20+00:00August 8th, 2017|Games, Native American|

Cherokee lacrosse players from 1888 People who lived in North America played both active games and the kind where you can sit down. Their favorite active game was lacrosse. Or actually lacrosse and a lot of other games that you play with a stick and a ball, with rules that were different in different parts [...]

Medieval games – Games people played in Europe in the Middle Ages

By |2018-04-20T08:25:49+00:00August 1st, 2017|Games, Medieval|

Medieval games: Women playing chess Early medieval games: Dice, checkers, chess The games of medieval Europe were mainly the same as those of Egypt, Greece, and Rome: dice, knucklebones, marbles, checkers. But there were some new games, too. In the Middle Ages, chess came to Europe from the Islamic Empire. When the Arabs took over Spain, in 711 AD, they brought chess with them, and it [...]

Medieval Islamic games

By |2018-05-08T15:25:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Games, Islam, West Asia|

Medieval Islamic games: Muslims playing chess in Spain Chess from India The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned chess from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version [...]

What games did people play in ancient India?

By |2017-07-20T09:49:31+00:00July 20th, 2017|Games, India|

A die found in excavations at a Harappan period site. Note that the six is not opposite the one. People brought the idea of throwing the knucklebones of sheep or pigs to tell the future, or to play a game of skill like jacks, when they first came from Africa to India about 40,000 BC. But people in India may have been [...]

Gambling games and dolls – History of games

By |2018-04-20T08:25:51+00:00June 23rd, 2017|Games|

Greek girls playing knucklebones (ca. 200 BC, now in British Museum) Gambling games were very popular all over the world from as early as we can tell. People played games with knucklebones. Knucklebones are the vertebrae (the backbone) of medium-sized animals like sheep or goats, and the games you play with them are [...]

When were dice invented? History of dice

By |2018-04-20T08:23:50+00:00June 23rd, 2017|Games, West Asia|

Early dice from ancient Egypt People have been playing dice games for a very long time. The very first dice were just sheep knucklebones, and you won if it landed on the right one of the four flat sides. People have been throwing knucklebones since at least 5000 BC, in ancient Sumer. Then [...]

Ancient Egyptian games: play and toys in ancient Egypt

By |2018-05-27T13:56:52+00:00June 14th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Games|

Ancient Egyptian games:  knucklebones Egyptian board games: senet and mancala Ancient Egyptian games were a lot like some games people still play today. Some Egyptian games were traditional African games. (More about African games) The Egyptians learned other games from their West Asian neighbors. (More about West Asian games) People in ancient Egypt played [...]

Central Asian board games

By |2018-04-16T12:31:30+00:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, Games|

Kids playing knucklebones (Burma) Central Asian people played a lot of active games, but they also played games sitting down. Because Central Asian people spent a lot of time herding cattle and sheep, their most popular games involved small animal bones, mainly vertebrae, and the games were like the American game of jacks, or knucklebones. [...]