Day 19

Day 19

The Games we play

Humans love to play. Though there’s no evidence of games played earlier than 7,000 years ago, I imagine we’ve been playing them since we’ve been around.

The oldest game known is “The royal game of Ur”, a board game invented by the Assyrians over 5,000 years ago. A cuneiform tablet with its rules is on display at the British Museum.

This cuneiform tablet contains the world’s oldest known rules for a board game, recorded by a Babylonian astronomer in 177 BC. The front of the tablet (pictured right) shows how the central squares were also used for fortune-telling.

To win, players raced their opponent to the opposite end of the board, moving pieces according to knucklebone dice rolls. Per the Met, squares inlaid with floral rosettes were “lucky fields,” preventing pieces from being captured or giving players an extra turn.,The%20royal%20game%20of%20Ur”.~

Photos courtesy of the British Museum

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