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History of game concepts

Warning: all information here is unverified and not to be used for scientific research or publication!!!! I did not do extensive research on this subject, but i thought i need to mention some history. Please refer to the origanl links for better information.Information on this page is far from complete.



I guess these pages are not complete without some history. As mentioned above, please check google and other pages mentioned below for more accurate information.

Some nice links about history of games are:

bullet Wikepedia
bullet Ebay
bulletand Google for History and [name of game]

Gaming appears to take off during the 20th century. Well, that's not true I guess, what is true though, is that media / production / distribution channels/ marketing made more easier to distribute games easier during the last century. What I mean is, suppose a 5th century guy would have designed THE ULTIMATE GAME, if he would have sold off a 100 copies he would be top, as writing / marketing / world-wide distribution were not yet invented. However, some great concepts were invented, that carried for 1000's of years:

bulletdice games: gambling based on dices have been around for thousands of years 
bulletcard games, based on the ancient Mah Jong game, have been around for thousands of years
bulletstrategy games, based on the ancient GO games, have around for hundreds to thousands of years of history.

But games really took off when civilizations became rich and educated and more efficient production/distribution channels became available (early 1900's).

Nowaday, if you take a close game at game concept, you see that boardbames always carry some of those ancient concepts.

Just to give you a birdsview, here are some highlights of history of boardgaming and their impact...

History table

[as mentioned above, info has not been verified. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND http://www.tradgames.org.uk FOR DETAILED HISTORY].

3300BC The one board game that was found and dated 'oldest' is called Senet (Egypt, 3300BC). If you look at the board and rulings, you will find that this game is the mother of many many boardgames today. 
3000BC Marbles and stuff is dated 3000BC. In addition, a board game called Mehen is found in Egypt and is dated 3000BC. If you look close you see a very familiar boardgame-layout...
2600BC A game called "Royal Game of Ur" was found in 1920 near Iraq. Both Senet and Royal game of Ur are considered to be the predecessors of Back Gammon.
2200BC First mentioning of Wei-Ch'i, predecessor of Go. Surprisingly GO as we know it today is dated 200BC (though my other other sources it should be older, but then again, 200BC is pretty old too). With all respect to all other games, i really believe this the mother of all strategy games. The rules of this games are extreme easy, the goal is obvious, but nevertheless the game is not to master. Even in comparance to chess, there are no good Go computer games around that i'm aware of. This game is known as an allmost perfect game.
2000BC Mah Jong is considered to be some kind of invented around this time. As with all old games, it evoluted over the centuries, so the first versions were more less card games. Mah Jong as we know it today was created around 1800. It was however not until the 1920's before this game came to Europe.  Major reason why there is only little known about this game is that this game was player in the upper ranks of chinese society and they kept this game to themselves. It should be noted the year 2000BC is highly disputable, 1000 AD seems to be more accurate (that's only 3000 years difference, but who cares)  
1400BC Tic Tac Toe and alike games, Egypt  (1400 BC) and China (500BC).
1500BC The oldest dices were found dated 1500BC in Egypt. Dices were made out of bone and ivory. Interesting fact: the first 'loaded' dice were found in Pompeii. As a matter of facts, dices were to be used for gambling and gambling for houses, wifes, etc. was quite common in the early years of civilization. It should be noted that randomizing in games was already used in the game Senet, but by other means.
1400BC First mentioning of Mancala. Mancala is still a very popular game, esp. in Africa. The main reason maybe that you can the game in any circumstances, you just needs some holes and some stones. Mancala is played in many variations, most obvious are two, three and four rows versions of Mancala.
600BC Alquerque, ancestor of Draughts traced in Egypt
400AD Fist sithting of Tafl, Denmark.  
400AD First sightings of Parcheesi.  
400AD Hnefatafl ("King's Table") game set with "bone" game pieces was inspired by a surviving English bone game piece found in Woodperry, Oxfordshire. These games were played by Norse cultures as early as 400 A.D.and were imported by the Vikings to Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and Wales. They seem to have been the primary strategy games in Northern Europe until the introduction of Chess. Unlike Chess, or Checkers which are fought by armies from opposite sides of the board, Tafl games involve a single king and his defenders in the center of the board surrounded by an army of attackers twice their number.
550AD Shaturange, the oldest form of Chess was mentioned. Over the centuries, chess evolved in a may ways in many countries (games with dice, played as a gambling game, forbidden / unforbidden in many countries, etc.). Via Inda, China, Japan and other Eastern countries it arrived in 1000AD in Europe (first mentioning in Europe).  
700 Chess ancestors arive in Europe  
1120 First appearence of Domino. Since Domino is considered to be the mother of Mah Jong it's highly unlike that Mah Jong was played before that time.  
1130 First mentioning of Checkers / Draughts in France  
1400 Playing cards were introduced in Europe by Arabs. Interesting point: for making cards, the need for printing is required (Gutenberg, 1440). After some experiments over the centuries, the french suit system (clubs, harts, daimonds and spades) was adopted. Interesting fact (and copied many times in the 2000 years) was that the prints on the cards were used for all kind of prints, like satire, heraldery, education, etc. Reminds me of the many prints currenctly around of for instance Monopoly, Risk, etc.  Interesting side info: evolution of Tarot was fist mentioned around 1450.
1850 First reference of Poker was 1834  
1900 First commercial introduction of Snakes & Ladders  


Some Classic games

Just a grab bag of some publications of modern classic games, to give you an idea of the evolution:

1935: A year to notice, the year that Monopoly was published by

1948: Scrabble was published

1949: Clue was published

1956: Yathzee was published

1959: The mother of modern board strategy games was published: Risk.

1960: "Game of Life" was published

1965: Operation / Dr. Bibber (NL) was published

1966: Twister was published

1967: Battleship was published

1982: Trivial Pursuit was published

1986: Jenga was published

1990: Taboo was published. This game was one of the first worldwide published 'adult' games.

198x: Warhammer (Games Workshop) was published

1993: Magic The Gathering, Alpha version was published

199x: The 'German' games become popular