Traditional Board Games

Learn About Traditional Board Games

Chess, the archetypal board game
Chess, the archetypal board game

So you want to learn to play an old board game. There are many to choose from: possibly too many. In the western world, the choice usually comes down to one of three: chess, draughts or backgammon. But the choice becomes greater when you look further afield - across the world or into the past.

This section of the web site categorises games by continent, by era and by type. The links on this page allow you to browse the games in whatever manner you please. If you know the name of the game, you can also search for it using the search box in the site's navigation.

Games of the World


The idea of board games didn't spread out from a single source. The idea of playing through miniature races, battles and hunts, using anything from pebbles to hand-carved pieces, seems to have occurred to different people at different times all over the world. Every continent apart from Antarctica has its own board games, with some regions being particularly rich in board gaming history. India is very rich as a source of board games. Chess is claimed to come from ... (read more...)

Games Throughout History


It's difficult to classify games by era from a worldwide perspective. So the classifications here are Euro-centric: antiquity or the ancient world referring to the period before about A.D. 500, the middle ages being about 500-1500, and the modern area being the years since 1500. This site deals with games before about 1900, although a few games of later date might creep in if they're in the traditional style. Some games from the ancient world have survived through to ... (read more...)

Games of All Kinds


Traditional board games are often classified by the human activities they try to portray. Three activities that are often depicted are the race, the battle, and the hunt. The most well-known race game is backgammon. Both players race to get their pieces across the board first. Nearly all race games use dice, or similar ways of randomising, though there are some exceptions. Halma-style games can be thought of as races, too, but they use pure strategy. Chess and draughts ... (read more...)

Other Collections

This page contains families of games. Some games are part of larger families, such as chess, merels and hnefatafl, each of which have many variants different enough from one another to be considered games in their own right. These differ from the genres in that there is a real relationship between the games, not just a resemblance. Also on this page are other groupings, such as games that have appeared together in a particular book, place or event. The ... (read more...)


New Comment

Yes No