Top 5 Oldest Board Games In The World

It can be said that most of the older generations must have played board games once in their lifetime. There are so many popular board games you can try from the modern Monopoly, Snakes and Ladder, checkers, and many more.

Throughout history. mankind has played several board games since early civilization which existed for more than 5,000 years ago. Almost all the board games on this list were played by the early civilization of the ancient Sumerians and the Egyptians.

Despite the actual rule of these board games being lost in the course of history, many historians have rebuilt and arranged the rules of these board games so that they can still be played to this day.

Here we would like to share with you the top 5 oldest board games in the world for you to play.

5. Mehen

Mehen is a board game from ancient Egyptian times and it was believed to be the earliest example of a multi-player board game. Mehen can be played between 2 - 6 people at one time. 

The proof of its existence came from the Pre-Dynastic Era until the old government as Mehen was found in the King Peribsen tomb from 2770 - 2650 BC. The board game was named after Mehen, the God of snakes and you can see the shape of the board game resembles a coiled snake.

The pieces come in two forms; the first is a small sphere shaped like a marble and the second is pieces of ivory shaped like a lion. The exact rule for playing Mehen is currently unknown but the only thing they knew was that it can be played by up to 6 people.

4. Backgammon

Backgammon is another ancient board game that is far much older than chess. This board game is also known by its other names like Nard, Gul Bara or Tapa. 

In 2004, archaeologists found a board game in the ancient city of Shahr-e Sukhteh In Iran that looks similar to Backgammon. The board was dated around 3,000 BC and was believed to be the oldest Backgammon board game ever found.

It was made from black wood and had 60 markers made out of turquoise and agate which also comes with a pair of dice. The rules of the game will vary depending on the country where it was being played.

The oldest board game that looks almost the same as modern Backgammon is called Tabula from the Byzantine Empire in Gree since 480 AD.

3. Checkers

Almost everyone will know the game of checkers as it is one of the most popular board games out there even to this day. But some of you might be unaware of its existence dating back thousands of years ago.

The origin of this board game can be seen back in the ancient city of Ur, south Mesopotamia(Iran today) since 3,000 BC. A board game that resembles a checker with a bit of variation has been carbon-dated and was found to have the same period.

For years, this board game has expanded as it was introduced to other countries worldwide, and to this day, there have been many variations of this board game all over the world.

2. Senet

The Egyptians played the board game known as Senet which is the ancestor to the Backgammon board game. It still remains a mystery of the exact way of playing it but the most popular guess concluded a few general rules for those who wish to play it.

Senet is a game of race which is quite the same as the Royal Game of Ur and Backgammon. The board is divided into many squares with counters. The players will throw the stick to determine the number of moves they will make from each throw.

Senet is pictured in a painting draw that was found in the Merknera tomb between 3,300 - 2,700 BC. The Senet board game is comprised of 30 squares presented in 3 columns and 10 lines.

Two players are in a race with one another to see who will first reach the end of the board.

1. The Royal Game of Ur

The Royal Game of Ur might just be the oldest board game in the world to be discovered. This board game was dated back to at least 4,500 years ago and was played in the Middle East by the Sumerians.

The players will race against time like in Backgammon with a very simple rule but a very complex strategy for the players to make use of. A historian of the British Muzeum, Irving Finkle spent years analyzing this confusing board game and can finally conclude the rules of the game.

You can watch the video for more details.


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