Game Art & Design Ancient Games
Royal Game of Ur • One of the earliest board games • Played in Mesopotamia before 2600 BC • Discovered by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1920's near the ancient city of Ur • We do not know the game’s rules • Played with two sets of seven markers & three pyramidal dice • Race game the predates Backgammon
Senet • Popular in Ancient Egypt • The game was played on a board of 30 squares; the object being to get one's pieces on the board, then around the board in an S-shaped pattern, and finally off again at the far end. • The game required strategy as well as chance. • The most common playing pieces were 5 cones shaped pieces pitted against 5 reel shaped pieces
Senet A Senet board (above), complete with game pieces, was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. It was made of wood and ivory, inlaid with gold. A drawer held the game pieces and throwing sticks.
Mehen There is a board game of ancient Egypt depicting a coiled snake whose body is divided into rectangular spaces. Several boards have been found with different numbers of segments, without distinguishing marks or ornamentation. The variability suggests that the number of segments was of little importance to the game.
Tabula • Tabula was a race board game similar to Backgammon goes back several centuries BCE • Tabula means “Table” or “Board” • Tabula was called Alea which mean gambling • Evolved directly from Duodecim Scriptorum • Similar to Egyptian game Senet
Tabula Tabula was most likely descended from Ludus duodecium scriptorum ludus duodecim scriptorum
Rules of Tabula • Each player has 15 pieces. • All pieces enter from square 1 and travel counterclockwise. • Three dice are thrown, and the three numbers determine the moves of between 1 and 3 pieces. • Any part of a throw which could not be used was lost, but a player must use the whole value of the throw if it is possible. • If a player landed a piece on a point with one enemy piece, the enemy piece was removed from the board and had to re-enter the game on the next throw.
Rules of Tabula cont. • If a player had 2 or more men on a point, this position was closed to the enemy, and these men could not be captured. • No player may enter the second half of the board until all men have entered the board. • No player may exit the board until all pieces have entered the last quarter. This means that if a single man is hit, the remaining pieces may be frozen in the last quarter until he re-enters and catches up with them again.
Nine Men Morris • Abstract strategy game for 2 players • Morris comes from Moorish, and was the name of a square dance that the game was said to resemble. • Emerged from the Roman Empire • Each player has nine pieces, or "men", which move among the board's twenty-four intersections • The object of the game is to leave the opposing player with less than three pieces or no legal moves • http://www.osv.org/kids_zone/morris/
Caculi • This game is the familiar game of "Five in a Row," which was played on the same boards as Latrunculi. • Named Calculi, which means "stones" (or "pebbles" or "counters") in Latin. • The Romans referred to this game as ludus calculorum, "the game of stones,"
Rules of Caculi • The traditional rules of Calculi, or "Five in a Row," are as follows: • Black plays first. • First person to line up five stones in a row orthogonally or diagonally wins. • It is illegal to make a "double open-ended three" unless one is forced to do so. • If the board becomes filled, the game is a draw.
Duodecim Scripta • Duodecim Scripta means "Twelve Lines" or “Twelve Lines of the Philosophers” and was played on a board. • Two players sat across from each other and placed their 15 black or white pieces (presumably stacked) on the first square on their side of the board. • The players each tossed a set of three dice from a cup and would move their pieces according to the value of the throw.
Duodecim Scripta • The object was to get all one's pieces across the board to the final square. • If you landed on a square that had an opponent's piece already on it, that piece would return to (their) square one. • If two or more opponent's pieces were already on the square, then it could not be occupied.
Tesserae • Playing Dice was very popular game among the Romans. • The Romans called these tesserae, but they also had a type with only four marked faces called tali. • The only difference between these Roman dice and modern dice is that the numbers were arranged such that any two opposite sides would add up to seven.
Tesserae The dice shown in the photo below are made from ivory and come from Oxyrhynchus in Egypt and date from between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD, during the Roman era. These dice are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
TERNI LAPILLI • Terni Lapilli is considered to be identical to modern Tic-Tac-Toe. • Terni Lapilli boards are found throughout the Empire, scratched on walls, floors, and roofs, no X's and O's accompany the markings. • a Terni Lapilli board was recently uncovered in the British Museum which included four blue pieces and five red pieces.
Patolli or Patole • One of the oldest games of the America’s. • Played by pre-Columbian Mesoamericans • Played by commoners and nobles alike • Reports are Montezuma enjoyed watching the nobles play in a game at court. • Patolli is a race/war game with a focus on gambling on blankets, stones, or food.
Patolli - Gameplay • The object of the game is for a player to win all of the opponent's treasure • A player needs to get all of the six jade markers from the starting queue position to the ending square position on the game board before the other player. • In order to get one of the jade stone markers on the board, the player tosses five specially prepared kidney beans on the game area.
Aztec Ball Game The Aztec ball game was actually a revision of an ancient Mesoamerican game that was played by many peoples including the Mayans. It may have originated with the ancient Olmec civilization. It became a very important part of the Aztec Empire, not just as entertainment, but for political and religious reasons as well.
Aztec Ball Game When the Aztecs started a new settlement, there were two things they would do. First, build a shrine to the god Huitzilopochtli, and then build a ball court next to it. In Tenochtitlan it was surrounded by the palace and temple. The Aztec ball game, known as Ullamaliztli, was a priority.
Aztec Ball Game The object of Ullamaliztli was to get the ball through a stone hoop.
Aztec Ball Game The term "sudden death" could become more dangerous, literally. The coach of the losing team, by the fate of the gods, was chosen to die; In the tradition carried from the Olmecs, the loser is decapitated in sacrifice. The Maya, Aztecs and the Huaxtecs (the latter producing this stela to the right) all performed a ritual decapitation of losing coaches. (Other interpretations argue that the winners were in fact the ones worthy of this highly esteemed ritual death.) The streams of blood emerge from the severed neck as serpents. This is an interesting metaphor because the serpent has a profound association with its embrace with the life-giving earth, and here the serpent is also compared to the streams of life-blood that return from Man to the earth.
Felix Sex • This game was played all across the Roman Empire, in taverns, brothels, private homes, and frontier forts. • This game is called Lucky Sixes -- in Latin, Felix Sex. • Many experts believe this game is actually a modified version of Duodecim Scripta, with an extra line down the middle.
Felix Sex The board on the left was found at Qustul in Egypt, along with 15 black pieces, 15 white pieces, 5 dice and a fritillis. It dates no later than the 5th century AD. The similarity to the Felix Sex board is striking. The circles in the center and proportions seem almost identical. The board on the right was found in Britain, and belonged to a soldier of the 20th Legion in the 2nd century. The resemblance to the above board is striking. Along with this board were found three dice, which would seem to confirm our understanding that three dice, not two or five, were used in this game.
Mancala • Family of board games played around the world, sometimes called sowing games or count and capture games. • Mancala games play a role in many African and some Asian societies comparable to that of chess in the West. • The word mancala comes from the Arabic word naqala meaning literally "to move".
Mancala Gameplay • Mancala games share a general gameplay sequence of picking up all seeds from a hole, then sowing seeds one at a time from a hole, and capturing based on the state of board. • The object of mancala games is usually to capture more stones than the opponent; sometimes, one seeks to leave the opponent with no legal move or to have your side empty first in order to win.
Mancala Gebeta (Mancala) holes from the Late Antiquity or early Medieval period in Aksum, Ethiopia.
Shatranj • Is an old form of Chess popular in Persia for almost a 1000 years. • The word shatranj is derived from the Sanskrit chaturanga (chatuH=four, anga= arm). • The game came to Persia from India, in the early centuries of the Christian Era.
Tafl • Family of ancient Germanic and Celtic board games played on a checkered or latticed board with two teams of uneven strength. • The size of the board and the number of pieces varied, but all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece which started in the center. • The King’s objective was to escape while the opponent’s job was to capture him. • Tafl spread everywhere the Vikings traveled
Liubo • Liubo is a ancient Chinese board-game whose rules are forgotten. • The name comes from the Chinese word for sticks.
Chaturanga • Chaturanga is an ancient Indian game which is presumed to be the common ancestor of chess. • Chaturanga has been played since the 6th century or earlier, hence Chaturanga is most commonly believed to be the oldest version of chess. • In Sanskrit, "Chatur-anga-bala" literally means "an army comprising 4 parts” (elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry).
Go • A strategic game for 2 players. • Go originated in China at least 2,000 years ago. • Go is played by two players alternately placing black and white stones on the vacant intersections of a 19 × 19 grid board. • The object of the game is to control a larger part of the board than the opponent. • Players strive to place their stones in such a way that they cannot be captured, while mapping out territories the opponent cannot invade without being captured.
Seega • The ancient game of Seega has been played for centuries throughout Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. • Seega is a simple game in terms of materials and rules, but it involves plenty of strategy and thinking once you are playing. • In Egypt, 5x5 game boards were common, while 7 x 7 or 9 x 9 board do exist. • The larger boards are more complex, and created a greater challenge for the players.
Seega’s Gameplay • Similar to checkers, you are try to capture your opponent's pieces. The game ends when a player (the looser) has only one piece left. • To start, the first player lays down two of his or her pieces in the squares marked "X." The other player lays down two pieces in the squares marked "O."