The use of board games to kill time was not developed recently. In fact, the idea of getting board games has been in the air for centuries now. There are a lot of them that we haven’t heard about either. In this article, we’ve made a list of some of the ancient betting board games.
According to the archaeologists and their findings, Senet is believed to be the oldest of all the board games, played around 3100BC, by the Egyptian dynasty. They used ornate boards which are found even today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Senet boards were long and consisted of three parallel rows. Instead of using dice to determine the count, they used bricks or sticks to determine the movement of the player. The Senate believed that the obstacles they face while moving forward in the game symbolized the souls of the deceased and their movement from the board, symbolized them moving away from their way.
The Royal Game of UR
It is intimidating to figure out the rules of the board games that were played in ancient times. Thanks to Irving Finkel, who submitted the copy of the regulations to the British museum, regarding this game. The book has a detailed description of the instructions and how the game is played. The game was discovered 4500 years ago, and the recent Mesapatomian excavation in 1922 and 1934 revealed the board game of UR. The structure of the board is similar to Senet, with three parallel rows and 20 squares. Some people also say that the structure is reminiscent of a loaded dumbbell. In this game, dice are rolled, and the opponents need to reach the other end of the board—the one who manages to arrive first, destroying the obstacles, claims as to the winner. The game was also known to be played across Iran, Iraq, Israel and Egypt.
This game was found after the decline of the Egyptian empire; hence the rules of the game remains pretty unclear to us. According to the encyclopedic Oxford History of Board Games, the game was also called the ‘Egyptian Snake Game’ and was played between 3100BC and 2300 BC. Unlike other bard games, this was a multiplayer game that involved up to six participants. According to the little piece of information collected by the archaeologists, they found that the game involved spiral movement, from the tail to the head to the centre of the spherical marble. The marble also consisted of spiral grooves which made it easier to move the stones around. However, none of the Mehen pieces is found today, and studies also show that the pieces were lost during the decline of the Egyptian empire. The small parts that are found are also stuck in the grooves which adds another intriguing feature to the mysterious game.
The games, as mentioned above, are the top three ancient games that are known to have lost the human touch. There is proof for the existence of many other games as well, like chess, which is still followed and placed bets on.