Board game

A board game is any game played on a board (that is, a premarked surface) with counters or pieces that are moved across the board. Simple board games are often seen as ideal "family entertainment" as they can provide entertainment for all ages. Some board games, such as Chess, Oware, or Go, have intense strategic value and have become lasting classics.

There are many different types and classifications of board games. Some games are simplified simulations of real life. These are popular for they can intermingle make-believe and role playing along with the game. Popular games of this type include Monopoly, which is a rough simulation of the real estate market; Cluedo/Clue, which is based upon a murder mystery; and Risk, which is one of the best known of thousands of games attempting to simulate warfare and geo-politics.

Other games only loosely, or do not at all, attempt to imitate reality. These include abstract strategy games like chess and checkers, word games, such as Scrabble, and trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit.

History

Board games have a long history and have been played in most cultures and societies; some even pre-date literacy skill development in the earliest civilizations. A number of important historical sites, artifacts and documents exist which shed light on early board games. The most of important of these include:

  • Senet has been found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt, c. 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively [1]. Senet is the oldest board game known to have existed. Also see Okno do svita deskovych her for a photo of the actual fresco found in Merknera's tomb (3300-2700 BC).
  • Mehen is another ancient board game from Predynastic Egypt.
  • The Royal Tombs of Ur contained, among others, the Royal Game of Ur. They were excavated by C. Leonard Woolley, but his books document little on the games found. Most of the games he excavated are now housed in the British Museum in London.
  • Buddha games list is the earliest known list of games.

Timeline

  • 3500 BC - Senet found in Predynastic Egyptian burials [2]; also depicted in the tomb of Merknera.
  • 3000 BC - Mehen, board game from Predynastic Egypt, played with lion-shaped game pieces and marbles.
  • 2560 BC - Board of the Royal Game of Ur (found at Ur Tombs)
  • 2500 BC - Paintings of Senet and Han being played made in the tomb of Rashepes
  • 2000 BC - Drawing in a tomb at Benihassan depicting two unknown board games being played (depicted in Falkner). It has been suggested that the second of these is Tau.
  • 1500 BC - Liubo carved on slab of blue stone. Also painting of Board Game of Knossos.
  • 1400 BC - Game boards including Alquerque, Three Men's Morris, Nine Men's Morris, and a possible Mancala board etched on the roof of the Kurna Temple. (Source: Fiske, and Bell)
  • 200 BC - A Go board pre-dating 200 BC was found in 1954 in Wangdu County. This board is now in Beijing Historical Museum. (Source: John Fairbairn's Go in Ancient China).
  • 116 - 27 BC - Marcus Terentius Varro's Lingua Latina X (II, par. 20) contains earliest known reference to latrunculi (often confused with Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, Ovid's game mentioned below).
  • 79 - 8 BC - Liu Xiang's (劉向) Shuo yuan, contains earliest known reference to Xiangqi.
  • 1 BC-8 AD Ovid's Ars Amatoria contains earliest known reference to Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum and the smaller merels.
  • 220-265 Nard enters China under the name t'shu-p'u (Source: Hun Tsun Sii)

Board games first became widely popular among the general population early in the 20th century when the rise of the middle class with disposable income and leisure time made them a receptive audience to such games. This popularity expanded after the Second World War, a period from which many classic board games date. Computer games are closely related to board games, and many acclaimed computer games such as Civilization are based upon board games.

Many board games are now available as computer games, including the option to have the computer act as an opponent. The rise of computers has also led to a relative decline in the most complicated board games, as they require less space, and are easier to set up and clear away. With the Internet, many board games can now be played online against computer or other players in real time (like to classics board games available on Yahoo, Lycos and other big Internet sites) or during your spare time, every time it's your turn (see the links at the end of this article).

The modern board game industry is rife with corporate mergers and acquisitions, with large companies such as Hasbro owning many subsidiaries and selling products under a variety of brand names. It is difficult to successfully market a new board game to the mass market. Retailers tend to be conservative about stocking games of untested popularity, and most large board game companies have established criteria that a game must meet in order to be produced. If, for instance, Monopoly were introduced as a new game today, it would not meet the criteria for production.

Luck, strategy and diplomacy

One way of defining board games are between those based upon luck and strategy. Some games, such as chess, have no luck involved. Children's games tend to be very luck based with games such as Sorry! having virtually no decisions to be made. Most board games have both luck and strategy. A player may be hampered by a few poor rolls of the dice in Risk or Monopoly, but over many games a player with a superior strategy will win more often. While some purists consider luck to not be a desirable component of a game, others counter that elements of luck can make for far more complex and multi-faceted strategies as concepts such as expected value and risk management must be considered. Still most adult game players prefer to make some decisions during play, and find purely luck based games such as Top Trumps quite boring.

The third important factor in a game is diplomacy, or players making deals with each other. A game of solitaire, for obvious reasons, has no player interaction. Two player games usually don't have diplomacy, as cooporation between the two players does not occur. Thus, this generally applies only to games played with three or more people. An important facet of Settlers of Catan, for example, is convincing people to trade with you rather than with other players. In Risk, one example of diplomacy's effectiveness is when two or more players team up against another. Easy diplomacy consists of convincing other players that someone else is winning and should therefore be teamed up against. Difficult diplomacy (such as in the aptly named game Diplomacy) consists of making elaborate plans together, with possibility of betrayal.

Luck is introduced to a game by a number of methods. The most popular is using dice, generally six sided. These can determine everything from how many steps a player moves their token, as in Monopoly, how their forces fare in battle, such as in Risk, or which resources a player gains, such as in Settlers of Catan. Other games such as Sorry! use a deck of special cards that when shuffled create randomness. Scrabble does something similar with randomly picked letters. Other games use spinners, timers of random length, or other sources of randomness. Trivia games have a great deal of randomness based on which question a person gets. German-style board games are notable for often having rather less luck factor than in many North American board games.

Common terminology

Carcassonne tokens, or meeples

Although many board games have a jargon all their own, there is a generalized terminology to describe concepts applicable to basic game mechanics and attributes common to nearly all board games.

  • Gameboard (or board) — the (usually quadrilateral) surface on which one plays a board game; the namesake of the board game, gameboards are a necessary and sufficient condition of the genre
  • Game Piece (or token or bit) — a player's representative on the game board. Each player may control one or more game pieces. In some games that involve commanding multiple game pieces, such as chess, certain pieces have unique designations and capabilities within the parameters of the game; in others, such as Go, all pieces controlled by a player have the same essential capabilities.
  • Jump — to bypass one or more game pieces and/or spaces. Depending on the context, jumping may also involve capturing or conquering an opponent's game piece. (See also: Game mechanic: Capture)
  • Space (or square) — a physical unit of progress on a gameboard delimited by a distinct border (See also: Game mechanic: Movement)

References

  • Fiske, Willard. Chess in Iceland and in Icelandic Literature—with historical notes on other table-games). Florentine Typographical Society, 1905.
  • Falkener, Edward. Games Ancient and Oriental, and How To Play Them. Longmans, Green and Co., 1892.
  • Austin, Roland G. "Greek Board Games." Antiquity 14. September 1940: 257–271
  • Murray, Harold James Ruthven. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Gardners Books, 1969.
  • Bell, Robert Charles. The Boardgame Book. London: Bookthrift Company, 1979.
  • Bell, Robert Charles. Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1980. ISBN 0486238555
    • Reprint: New York: Exeter Books, 1983.
  • Sackson, Sid. A Gamut of Games. Arrow Books, 1983. ISBN 0091533406
    • Reprint: Dover Publications, 1992. ISBN 0-486-27347-4
  • Schmittberger, R. Wayne. New Rules for Classic Games. John Wiley & Sons, 1992. ISBN 0-471-53621-0
    • Reprint: Random House Value Publishing, 1994. ISBN 0517129558
  • Parlett, David. Oxford History of Board Games. Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0192129988

Note that some these works may suffer from cultural bias—especially Murray's work which, despite being the standard reference, tends to assume Western cultural superiority.


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Note that some these works may suffer from cultural bias—especially Murray's work which, despite being the standard reference, tends to assume Western cultural superiority. Backpackers use special lightweight and highly portable equipment. Although many board games have a jargon all their own, there is a generalized terminology to describe concepts applicable to basic game mechanics and attributes common to nearly all board games. Many people opt not to use their home items but equipment better tailored to camping, such as heavy plastic tableware and salt and pepper shakers with tops that close to keep out rain. German-style board games are notable for often having rather less luck factor than in many North American board games. Lists of what to take are available in many camping books and websites. Trivia games have a great deal of randomness based on which question a person gets. Much of the remaining needed camping equipment is commonly available in the home, like dishes, pots and pans.

Other games use spinners, timers of random length, or other sources of randomness. Some campers may prepare food by cooking on a campfire, sometimes using such equipment as a Dutch oven. Scrabble does something similar with randomly picked letters. Common tent camping equipment includes:. Other games such as Sorry! use a deck of special cards that when shuffled create randomness. It does not, however, apply to cultures whose technology does not include sophisticated dwellings. These can determine everything from how many steps a player moves their token, as in Monopoly, how their forces fare in battle, such as in Risk, or which resources a player gains, such as in Settlers of Catan. The term camping may also be applied to those who live outdoors out of necessity (as in the case of the homeless) or for people waiting overnight in very long lines (queues).

The most popular is using dice, generally six sided. Methods of survival when winter camping include building snow shelters (called "quin-zhees"), dressing in "layers," staying dry, using low-temperature sleeping bags, and continuing to fuel the body with appropriate food and nutrition. Luck is introduced to a game by a number of methods. Campers and outdoorspeople have adapted their forms of camping and survival to suit extremely cold nights and limited mobility or evacuation. Difficult diplomacy (such as in the aptly named game Diplomacy) consists of making elaborate plans together, with possibility of betrayal. Several campers enjoy the challenge this form of recreation brings. Easy diplomacy consists of convincing other players that someone else is winning and should therefore be teamed up against. "Winter camping" refers to the experience of camping outside when there is sufficient snow on the ground.

In Risk, one example of diplomacy's effectiveness is when two or more players team up against another. Workamping allows campers to trade their labor for a free campsite, and sometimes for utilities and additional pay. An important facet of Settlers of Catan, for example, is convincing people to trade with you rather than with other players. Hunting camps are common in some regions, among both subsistence cultures and some developed ones. Thus, this generally applies only to games played with three or more people. Some camps have a traditional woodsy orientation, some are operated by religious institutions, and children's camps may be specifically educational. Two player games usually don't have diplomacy, as cooporation between the two players does not occur. Many children are sent to camp for periods during the summer.

A game of solitaire, for obvious reasons, has no player interaction. There are also people who vacation in established camps with cabins and other facilities. The third important factor in a game is diplomacy, or players making deals with each other. This activity may require skills in obtaining food from the wild, emergency medical treatments, orienteering, and pioneering. Still most adult game players prefer to make some decisions during play, and find purely luck based games such as Top Trumps quite boring. Survivalist campers learn the skills needed to survive out-of-doors in any situation. While some purists consider luck to not be a desirable component of a game, others counter that elements of luck can make for far more complex and multi-faceted strategies as concepts such as expected value and risk management must be considered. Canoe camping is common in eastern North America.

A player may be hampered by a few poor rolls of the dice in Risk or Monopoly, but over many games a player with a superior strategy will win more often. Canoe camping is similar to backpacking, but uses canoes for transportation; much more weight and bulk can be carried in a canoe or kayak than in a backpack. Most board games have both luck and strategy. Backpacking equipment typically costs more than that for car camping, but still far less than a trailer or motorhome, and backpacking campsites are generally free. Children's games tend to be very luck based with games such as Sorry! having virtually no decisions to be made. They hike across the land, camping at remote spots, often selecting campsites at will if resource protection rules allow. Some games, such as chess, have no luck involved. Backpackers use lightweight equipment that can be carried long distances on foot.

One way of defining board games are between those based upon luck and strategy. Backpacking is a mobile variety of tent camping. If, for instance, Monopoly were introduced as a new game today, it would not meet the criteria for production. Some "walk-in" sites lie a short walk away from the nearest road, but do not require full backpacking equipment. Retailers tend to be conservative about stocking games of untested popularity, and most large board game companies have established criteria that a game must meet in order to be produced. Tent camping sites often cost less than campsites with full amenities, and most allow direct access by car. It is difficult to successfully market a new board game to the mass market. Tent camping attracts young families because the children tend to enjoy it, and because gear is inexpensive and rugged.

The modern board game industry is rife with corporate mergers and acquisitions, with large companies such as Hasbro owning many subsidiaries and selling products under a variety of brand names. Other vehicles used for camping include touring bicycles, boats, and even bush planes, although backpacking and using pack animals are popular alternatives. With the Internet, many board games can now be played online against computer or other players in real time (like to classics board games available on Yahoo, Lycos and other big Internet sites) or during your spare time, every time it's your turn (see the links at the end of this article). Tent camping commonly employs an automobile to transport equipment to an established campground (this practice is called "car camping"). The rise of computers has also led to a relative decline in the most complicated board games, as they require less space, and are easier to set up and clear away. Other people favor camping with tents because they feel that a trailer or motor home detracts from the experience of being out-of-doors. Many board games are now available as computer games, including the option to have the computer act as an opponent. Some retirees and self-employed people sell their homes and live nomadically in their RVs, often moving with the seasons.

Computer games are closely related to board games, and many acclaimed computer games such as Civilization are based upon board games. In the United States, many campgrounds offer "full hookups" where motorhomes are supplied with electricity, water and sewer services. This popularity expanded after the Second World War, a period from which many classic board games date. RV campers often choose these devices because they consider tent camping uncomfortable and inconvenient. Board games first became widely popular among the general population early in the 20th century when the rise of the middle class with disposable income and leisure time made them a receptive audience to such games. Some RVs are outright luxurious, featuring air conditioning, bathrooms, kitchens, showers, satellite TV and even Internet connections. The most of important of these include:. The most comfortable form of camping uses recreational vehicles, essentially wheeled houses.

A number of important historical sites, artifacts and documents exist which shed light on early board games. For more on facilities, see the campsite article. Board games have a long history and have been played in most cultures and societies; some even pre-date literacy skill development in the earliest civilizations. These latter are often designated for the use of handicapped campers. . Campsites can range from a bare piece of grass to a level paved pad with sewer and electricity. These include abstract strategy games like chess and checkers, word games, such as Scrabble, and trivia games, such as Trivial Pursuit. Most campers prefer to use sites with special facilities such as fire rings, bathrooms and utilities, but not all campsites offer similar levels of development.

Other games only loosely, or do not at all, attempt to imitate reality. Campers span a broad range of ability and ruggedness, and campsites are designed accordingly. Popular games of this type include Monopoly, which is a rough simulation of the real estate market; Cluedo/Clue, which is based upon a murder mystery; and Risk, which is one of the best known of thousands of games attempting to simulate warfare and geo-politics. Camping is often restricted by law to designated sites in order to prevent campers from damaging the environment. These are popular for they can intermingle make-believe and role playing along with the game. National parks and other publicly owned natural areas are popular venues for camping. Some games are simplified simulations of real life. It may be combined with hiking either as backpacking or as a series of day hikes from a central location.

There are many different types and classifications of board games. Camping may be an end unto itself, but often it is done in conjunction with other activities, such as hiking, swimming or fishing. Some board games, such as Chess, Oware, or Go, have intense strategic value and have become lasting classics. Camping may be referred to colloquially as roughing it. Simple board games are often seen as ideal "family entertainment" as they can provide entertainment for all ages. It simultaneously evokes images of 'oneness with nature' and 'man against nature' - independence and self-sufficiency. A board game is any game played on a board (that is, a premarked surface) with counters or pieces that are moved across the board. Camping is often associated with a sense of nostalgia or of romanticism for 'the times of our fathers'.

ISBN 0192129988. It continues to be a response to the increasing urbanization and isolation of Western society. Oxford University Press, 1999. Camping as a recreational activity did not become popular until the early 20th century. Oxford History of Board Games. Camping describes a whole range of activities, from survivalist campers who set off with little more than their boots to those who arrive in large recreational vehicles equipped with their own electricity, heat, and patio furniture. Parlett, David. Camping is an outdoor recreational activity involving the spending of one or more nights in a tent, primitive structure, a travel trailer or recreational vehicle at a campsite with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature.

ISBN 0517129558. Rope. Reprint: Random House Value Publishing, 1994. A hatchet, axe or saw for cutting firewood (where allowed; see campfire) or constructing camp gadgets. ISBN 0-471-53621-0

    . A lantern or flashlight. John Wiley & Sons, 1992. A portable stove to prepare hot meals and/or drinks where campfires are forbidden or impractical.

    New Rules for Classic Games. A sleeping pad or air mattress is often placed underneath the sleeping bag for cushioning from stones and twigs as well as for insulation from the ground. Wayne. A sleeping bag for warmth. Schmittberger, R. A tent, lean-to or other shelter device. ISBN 0-486-27347-4.

    Reprint: Dover Publications, 1992. ISBN 0091533406

      . Arrow Books, 1983. A Gamut of Games.

      Sackson, Sid. Reprint: New York: Exeter Books, 1983. ISBN 0486238555

        . Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1980.

        Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations. Bell, Robert Charles. London: Bookthrift Company, 1979. The Boardgame Book.

        Bell, Robert Charles. Gardners Books, 1969. A History of Board-Games Other Than Chess. Murray, Harold James Ruthven.

        September 1940: 257–271. "Greek Board Games." Antiquity 14. Austin, Roland G. Longmans, Green and Co., 1892.

        Games Ancient and Oriental, and How To Play Them. Falkener, Edward. Florentine Typographical Society, 1905. Chess in Iceland and in Icelandic Literature—with historical notes on other table-games).

        Fiske, Willard. Space (or square) — a physical unit of progress on a gameboard delimited by a distinct border (See also: Game mechanic: Movement). (See also: Game mechanic: Capture). Depending on the context, jumping may also involve capturing or conquering an opponent's game piece.

        Jump — to bypass one or more game pieces and/or spaces. In some games that involve commanding multiple game pieces, such as chess, certain pieces have unique designations and capabilities within the parameters of the game; in others, such as Go, all pieces controlled by a player have the same essential capabilities. Each player may control one or more game pieces. Game Piece (or token or bit) — a player's representative on the game board.

        Gameboard (or board) — the (usually quadrilateral) surface on which one plays a board game; the namesake of the board game, gameboards are a necessary and sufficient condition of the genre. 220-265 Nard enters China under the name t'shu-p'u (Source: Hun Tsun Sii). 1 BC-8 AD Ovid's Ars Amatoria contains earliest known reference to Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum and the smaller merels. 79 - 8 BC - Liu Xiang's (劉向) Shuo yuan, contains earliest known reference to Xiangqi.

        20) contains earliest known reference to latrunculi (often confused with Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, Ovid's game mentioned below). 116 - 27 BC - Marcus Terentius Varro's Lingua Latina X (II, par. (Source: John Fairbairn's Go in Ancient China). This board is now in Beijing Historical Museum.

        200 BC - A Go board pre-dating 200 BC was found in 1954 in Wangdu County. (Source: Fiske, and Bell). 1400 BC - Game boards including Alquerque, Three Men's Morris, Nine Men's Morris, and a possible Mancala board etched on the roof of the Kurna Temple. Also painting of Board Game of Knossos.

        1500 BC - Liubo carved on slab of blue stone. It has been suggested that the second of these is Tau. 2000 BC - Drawing in a tomb at Benihassan depicting two unknown board games being played (depicted in Falkner). 2500 BC - Paintings of Senet and Han being played made in the tomb of Rashepes.

        2560 BC - Board of the Royal Game of Ur (found at Ur Tombs). 3000 BC - Mehen, board game from Predynastic Egypt, played with lion-shaped game pieces and marbles. 3500 BC - Senet found in Predynastic Egyptian burials [2]; also depicted in the tomb of Merknera. Buddha games list is the earliest known list of games.

        Most of the games he excavated are now housed in the British Museum in London. Leonard Woolley, but his books document little on the games found. They were excavated by C. The Royal Tombs of Ur contained, among others, the Royal Game of Ur.

        Mehen is another ancient board game from Predynastic Egypt. Also see Okno do svita deskovych her for a photo of the actual fresco found in Merknera's tomb (3300-2700 BC). Senet is the oldest board game known to have existed. 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively [1].

        Senet has been found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt, c.

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