Man has been board gaming for longer than most people would believe. Indeed, board games have existed since the Bronze Age. The designs of board games have evolved since. Board games played during each period have distinct characteristics and reflect the cultural developments of each society.
Before Birth of Christ (-3500 – 0)
The oldest known game is Senet, from ancient Egypt. Other games that dominated this period include Go from ancient China, backgammon from Shahr-e Sukhteh and The Royal Game of Ur from ancient Mesopotamia.
The games played during this period are usually for two players. They involve bringing one’s pawns to a fixed location before the opponent or claiming more territory than the opponent. These games reflect the violent nature of the era, when civilisations survived by outwitting their opponents, or via military force. It is also interesting to note that such games were often enjoyed by the upper classes.
Trivia: Childhood games such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Snakes and Ladders were also created during this period.
1 AD – 999 AD
Games invented during this period include Xiang Qi, Mancala, Go-moku, Hnefatafl and Pachisi. A number of these games’ developments were based on expanding existing ideas of older games. For example, Go-moku was an upgraded version of Tic-Tac-Toe, and Pachisi, which moved pawns by dice throws in a similar manner to Snakes and Ladders, allowed for up to six players instead of two.
Many of these games continued to be based on military settings, which reflect the continued emphasis of the military during that period.
1000 AD – 1599 AD
This period was dominated by games such as Chess, Checkers, Shogi, Dominoes and Bingo. Different versions of each game, e.g. Italian Checkers, Spanish Checkers, emerged as each region adapted the game with their own rules. Card games such as Tarot and Tarock also came to the fore during this period.
There was also a surge in games that cater to more than two players.
1600 AD – 1899 AD
Card games using the standard poker card deck were prominent during this period. Examples include Cribbage, Blackjack, Skat, Poker and Hearts.
A wider variety of games also became available. Examples include Solitaire, which allowed solo play, and Crokinole, which required dexterity skills.
The 1800s saw the rise of consumer games. This was due largely to the setting up of the Milton Bradley Company and Parker Brothers. The two companies were to adopt different approaches to their business. The former focused on using board games to promote moral virtue whilst the latter believed that board games should be played for enjoyment.
1900 AD – Current
Many genres of games have been developed over the last century or so. In particular, Eurogames gained traction in the 1990s and has since enjoyed much popularity. During a typical Eurogame, players have to make strategic decisions and these have a direct impact on their chances of winning. The design of Eurogames are such that a theme is interwoven into the game.
The first and better known examples of these strategy based games were developed in Germany, hence the term Eurogame. Playtime may be as little as half an hour or as long as a few hours. Some classic examples include Settlers of Catan, Acquire and Ticket to Ride.
Eurogames is also the genre of board games that our company is focusing on. Please explore our website for more information about our board games.