Oldest Games In The World (With Pictures): Top 12

Oldest Games In The World: Games are playful or competitive activities usually guided by set of rules for the purpose of entertainment. Being competitive, it has to be such tricks or designs that can entertain being played by more than one person. Games are mental exercises mixed with fun and competition.

There has been evolution and revolution of games in the world. Historically, numerous designs of games have existed and some still in existence and being played today, while there are ones that have been metamorphosed into better designs although without altering the original substance. It is quite interesting that games can be inherited, for all these while, all they do is to pass from generations to generations.

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Top 12 Oldest Games In The World

See the highlights of the oldest games in the world below:

1. The Royal Game of Ur: This is the considered the oldest known board game in the world. The origin of The Royal Game of Ur is traceable to about 5,000 years back from the ancient Mesopotamia, the modern-day Iraq.

How have board games changed over time
How have board games changed over time

It is also called Asseb or the Game of Twenty Squares, because it is designed in 20 boxes where the players in complying with the rules compete to get to the end of the box. It has also been ascribed other names. Royal Game of Ur was created between c. 2600 -2400 BCE. It is designed to have two numbers of players. Not only that it is the oldest game, it is still being played till today.

Thus, it has stood the test of time. The game has been refurbished anyway although not materially. It is still the game of twenty squares but the rules have been modified, there has been an online version of the game.

2. The Lewis Chessmen: The Lewis Chessman got its name from the place it was first discovered which is Lewis in Scotland. Lewis Chessman is one of the oldest games in the world. It was created in the 12th century and its material was from walrus ivory and whales’ teeth used to represent the game in a very appealing sculpture.

Is chess the oldest game
Is chess the oldest game

There has been varies of historical stories surrounding the discovery of the game in Scotland. The pieces of the game are presently in the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland while many other pieces cannot be found.

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3. Wei Qi: Wei Qi means encircling game. It is a board game and a mind game that employs abstract strategy. Elementary arithmetic and tactics is minimally needed to process the game interestingly. Wei Qui also known as Go, Igo, Paduk and Baduk, is an invention of China and one of the oldest games in the world. Its origin is traceable as far back as over 3,500 years ago.

First game in the world
First game in the world

It is a board game where two players compete to secure a win. The struggle between the players is to surround more territories than the opponent. The game has continuously been played and it attained international recognition and gained dominion beyond China. The game takes 20 to 90 minutes to play, but takes hours and even sprint days for the professional level.

4. Senet (Senat or Sen’t): Senet is a board game that requires two players. The game was created on c.3500 BCE. Its origin is traceable to the ancient Egypt. The game is played on a board designed in 30 squares.

historical board games
historical board games

The game is similar to the popular Ludo game, although it does not make use of dices. Players rather use sticks to cast and move their pieces across the boxes accordingly until it gets to the finishing point. Regions are now deviating from the original rules of the game.

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5. Checkers: Checkers which is also known as chequers, draughts or draft is a popular board game represented by two players. The game is designed for the players to move their game pieces diagonally to capture that of the opponent.

Oldest Board Games in the World
Oldest Board Games in the World

It is a mind sport that requires strategic move. The game is still popular and in existence today and is now being represented as video game. The game time lasts between 10 minutes and 60 minutes and even up to 3 hours, depending. Checkers game was created in c. 3000 BCE and originated from ancient Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. Checkers is a game known all round the world even to the extent of hosting international tournaments.

6. The game of the Goose: Also known as the Goose game is a European board game that involves from two players and above. The game is designed for the players to roll a dice and then move their pieces accordingly. The pictorial designed game is spiced up by obstacles which the players do strive to avoid while striving to get to the middle of the board by scoring the 63 figure.

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The game does not give room for tricks or strategies. It is squarely a free and fair game where players rely on luck to win. The game has no defined history, as the origin is uncertain and surrounded by controversies.

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7. Mehen: This is a board game of ancient Egypt origin. The name Mehen represents snake-god of the ancient Egyptian religion and its board has a snake-like design. Mehen game has been in existence from about 3000 BC up till 2300 BC. The historical game was played beyond Egypt.

What are the oldest games in the world
What are the oldest games in the world

The game is no longer being played today. The memories of the game is faded and only left with the traces of its initial and actual existence. Even the rules of the game are not known today. The game is played by 2-6 players.

8. Chess: The very popular chess is also one of the oldest games in the world. It is one of the most popular games in the world. It is a board game and a tactical and mind sport of abstract strategy designed to be played between two players. The chess board has a design of 64 squares. It has sophisticated and interesting rules that makes the game appealing.

The game has become so popular that international tournaments are organized today. The game is no longer in its originally invented form as in the Indian chaturanga game. It has undergone favourable modifications. The game has been from the 600s AD until in the 16th when it metamorphosed into the chess we know today.

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9. Pachisi: Pachisi (twenty-five) is a board game and a mind sport designed in a symmetrical cross style. The origin of the game is traceable to the ancient India. The game is played by rolling cowrie shells in order to move the piece according to the rules.

The number of players for the game is between 2-4, and its play time ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. The game involves tactics, counting, strategy and probability. The rules of the game can be relaxed or modified out of the player’s choice as to the highest number of score than can be thrown. The game has elements similar to that of Ludo game, and the Ludo game was said to be modeled from it.

10. Backgammon: Backgammon is a board game of two players. The game was created on c. 3000 BCE. Its origin is traceable to the ancient Perisa, modern-day Iran.

Backgammon is known by other names such as: Nard, Tapa, Bara and Gul. The game its till being played till today. The rules of the game have partly been modified as the rules now vary according to countries.

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11. Mancala: The age-old board game mancala, which has its roots in Africa, is proof of the ongoing appeal of classic games. Mancala’s history, which may go back more than 7,000 years, belies its depth as a strategic player. Usually, a wooden board or holes excavated in the ground are used for the game, and the playing components are seeds, stones, or beads.

Oldest Board Games in the World
Oldest Board Games in the World

The variety of Mancala variations seen in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa attests to its importance in the area and its capacity for cultural adaptation. Mancala frequently fulfils cultural objectives beyond its function as a form of entertainment, such as promoting social interaction, teaching mathematical ideas, and emulating conventional knowledge.

12. Go: The ancient Chinese board game go is more than just a way to pass the time; it’s also a very strategic and philosophical endeavour. Played on a gridded board with black and white stones, the game’s complicated rules date back over 2,500 years and represent the intricacies of life itself. Controlling territory is Go’s main goal, which emphasises balance, instinct, and long-term strategy.

The number of potential board places is so great that it exceeds the number of atoms in the known cosmos, which contributes to the game’s eternal attraction. Beyond its Chinese origins, go has evolved into a worldwide emblem of intelligence and strategic acumen, with a rich cultural legacy spanning centuries and countries.

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The list of the oldest games in the world is comprised mostly of board games. Probably that is why they have survived the history. One is that they were designed in a permanent form, and the other is that they are portable enough. Some of these games are no longer being played today, and for those that are still being played, it is evident that the rules may have slightly been modified but their substances have remained the same.