Traditional Board Games

Games Around the World

Games Around the World is a series of blog posts that imagines a voyage around the world, moving backward and forward in time to see the interesting games played in each of the stops in the journey.

Starting in Ancient Egypt, the journey travels east, taking in India, China and Korea, before crossing the Pacific Ocean to the Americas, returning across the Atlantic to take in North Africa, mediaeval Spain, ancient Rome and Greece, and early modern Lapland.

Games Around the World: Lapland


23 Jan: On my virtual journey around the world, we have seen a number of civilisations that were inventive in the sphere of board games. Most people know that chess and other famous games come from India, and China and Korea have also been a rich source of games. The final stop in the tour may be surprising to some people: Lapland. Lapland is home to the Sámi people, and occupies parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The Sámi are ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Ancient Greece and Rome


26 Dec: The previous stop in my armchair journey around the world was mediaeval Spain. Now I travel a little further around the Mediterranean Sea, and back in time to classical antiquity. It is time to visit Greece and Rome, to see what board games they played. The games of these civilisations all have an air of mystery about them. Despite being two highly literate cultures, very little information has been left to us of the games that they played, so ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Mediaeval Spain


28 Aug: The North African games I reviewed two months ago have been so much fun that it's taken me two months to cross the Straits of Gibraltar for this next article in my armchair journey around the world. But I'm finally here in mediaeval Spain, and there's a magnificent array of games to play. In fact there's even a book about them, published in 1283! It's from this book that much of our information about mediaeval Spanish gaming comes. The ... (read more...)

Games Round the World: North Africa


20 Jun: I picked up a copy of Edward Lane's "Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" a couple of weeks ago, a timely purchase given that I was headed for North Africa in my armchair journey. Lane's book, published in 1836, covers three of the games I will be looking at today. You may remember that I started this world tour in ancient Egypt, but the games of early modern Egypt are somewhat different to their ancient counterparts, and yet ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Pre-Columbian America


16 May: After Europeans settled in North America, they introduced the games that had been popular in Europe, many of which flourished. But board games were not new to the area: the native peoples of North America had their own board games. In this month's instalment of my armchair journey around the world, I want to look at the games played in North America before the coming of the Europeans. One of the better known games is Puluc, sometimes known as ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Korea


11 Apr: For a few months now, I've been taking an armchair journey around the world, visiting various countries and looking at the games that they have invented. Last month I looked at China. This month I move on to Korea, a small country that has produced a number of interesting games. One of the most well known games from Korea is Nyout, also called Yut or Yut Nori. This game is still played today, traditionally at New Year. It is ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Historical China


14 Mar: Last month we took a tour of the games of India, and there were a great many of them. This month we have travelled further eastwards, and arrive in China. Sometimes it's easy to imagine that China invented everything. The compass, spectacles, gunpowder and fireworks, and a whole host of technological advancements used by people around the world came from China. And in the field of board games, China has been equally inventive. There is a very ancient game ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: India Through the Ages


14 Feb: Last month I started an armchair journey around the world and its historical eras. If you weren't with me then, do check the link for "Games Around the World: Ancient Egypt". This month, our armchair has arrived in India, a land richly inventive in our chosen subject. Since India has been inventing good games for a very long time, I don't propose to restrict ourselves to any particular time period. I've noticed four interesting groups of board games that ... (read more...)

Games Around the World: Ancient Egypt


10 Jan: As you have probably noticed, this site has gathered games from all over the world. Some pages on this site gather them together by geographically by continent. But few cultures spanned an entire continent. This fact, and the beginning of a new year, has inspired me to begin a new project: a virtual world cruise of board games. This will be an occasional series, posted as and when I can get the information together. It will focus on those ... (read more...)


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