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History of board games

The history of board games is a complicated one, as many games date from early times when literacy was a scarce skill. This has meant that for many games we have three dates, the oldest known board, the earliest mention in literature and the earliest written rule set. For some games like the Royal Game of Ur[?] we only have one of those three.

A number of important historical sites, artifacts and documents exist which shed light on early board games. The most of important of these include,

Also known as the Libro de los juegos it is a text commissioned by Alfonso translating a large number of arabic documents on games into Spanish. Many of these original arabic documents have been lost to us, so Alfonso's book is the first known codification of many classical games.
Earliest known list of games.
These tombs contain the oldest board games known to have existed. They were excavated by C. Leonard Woolley[?] and his books contain limited information on the games found. Most of the games found here are now on public view at the British Museum in London.
The temple itself isn't important, however it's roof is, dating from around 1400 BC it has seven board games etched into it. Many of these boards are the earliest of their type known.

A few books are most prominent in their coverage of the history of board games they are,

Note that these works although prominent suffered from cultural bias, in particular Murray's work, which despite being the standard reference in this area tends to assume a superiority of western cultures.

For easies reference these books will be referred to by author name throughout the rest of this article.

Chronology of Board Games



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