Gambling has been around since the dawn of human civilization, way before you could play in an online casino for real money. It will not go anywhere, as it is a pastime that allows people to multiply their money. Our ancestors played many types of board and dice games in the past, some of which became the basis of the modern dice and board games we play today. Below are some of the fascinating ones.
1. Viking Chess
It was in August 2018 when archaeologists found a game board in Scotland. They thought that the place was a medieval monastery. The game board was in the archaeological dig. It was scratched into a circular stone. According to experts, the artefact is at least seven or eight centuries old.
Historians believe that it was a game that the Norse folks played called hnefatafl—a strategy game that has similarities with modern chess but is not related to it. In this game, there are 12 defenders in the centre of the board, and one player has to fight 24 attackers from the edges of the board.
2. Lewis Chessmen
Chess has been around for hundreds of years, especially in Europe. The most famous chess set is called the Lewis Chessmen. These pieces were found on an island beside the beach. The island is Lewis Island, and the discovery was made in 1831.
Nobody knows how the chess pieces wound up by the beach. Some archaeologists think that these pieces came from the 12th or 13th centuries. At that time, Lewis Island belonged to the Kingdom of Norway. Some surmise that somebody buried it for safekeeping.
In this game, there were 93 pieces. The consensus is that the artefact was for four sets of chessboards. The pieces were made of walrus tusks and the teeth of whales. The largest pieces were kings, and there were also the usual pieces like pawns, rooks, and bishops.
3. Norwegian Knight
The Norwegian Knight is a variant of chess. While people think that chess came to Europe in the 10th century, the Norwegian Knight further proves that chess is a really old game. The archaeological find is comprised of an 800-year-old chess piece that was found in Norway. It was found in 2017 when experts were digging through a 13th-century house. It was a piece that resembled a knight on the modern chess board.
At that time, chess was called Shatranj, a Persian name for the game. Archaeologists say that the carving is made of an antler. They also said that the design seemed Arabic, but they also believe that the actual work for the carving was done in Europe.
4. Medieval Mill Game
It was in July 2018 when archaeologists found a secret chamber somewhere in the Vyborg Castle. This castle is situated near the border of Russia and Finland, and it is an old castle that dates back to the 13th century. One thing they found in the secret chamber was a game board that was inscribed in clay brick. Experts believe that it was an earlier version of the game called “nine-man morris” or “mill.”
The game is old, and there are other documents showing that it had a variant that Romans used to play. The variant was a popular game where two players set up the pieces in intersections of lines. If a player manages to put three of his pieces in a row, he gets to “eat” one of his opponent’s pieces.
5. Greek and Roman Dice
The Romans got their idea of dice games from the Greeks. The British Museum has many of these artefacts. Ancient dice are made from many types of materials like stone, bone, ivory, deer antlers, and even crystals. The thing was, back then, not all dice were cubical in shape. Some were, but not all.
Some dice took the shape of a polyhedral thing. Some dice like this can also be traced back to the Ptolemaic era of Egypt. Some archaeologists say that these dice were used either in games or divination or fortune telling.
Divination was a huge part of society back then. There were priests and shamans who facilitated these sessions. In some of these dice, the creators carved names of gods instead of numbers.
6. Chinese Dice
Ancient China had lots of games, including dice. There is one piece of historical artefact that baffles experts. It is a die with 14 sides. The die was found in a tomb that is 2,300 years old.
The die was made from animal teeth, but the specific animal is not known. With the die are 21 rectangular items with numbers painted on them. There was also a broken tile that was apparently a game board where the players threw the die and manipulated the other pieces.
Some experts believe that it was an ancient form of a game that we know today as “bo,” but not Sic Bo. Some call it “liubo,”. The game was a popular pastime in China more than 1,500 years ago. Unfortunately, no one knows today how to play the game.