Good old-fashioned board games have been entertaining us for years – as kids and even as adults. From classic board games to the hottest new releases, business is booming, too.
Thanks to the popularity of “game nights,” friends can get together and not have to rely on small talk. Instead, they can partake in various parlor games – board games, card games, role-playing games, you name it.
While there are new games coming out all the time, we thought we’d take a look at the true classics. Some of these classic board games are even so established and pervasive they’ve been played for centuries.
Chess is potentially the most classic, well known classic board game of all time. It’s also one of the few on this list that is played competitively. Chess has been around for centuries; most believe it to have originated in India where it was known as chaturanga.
The game has evolved a lot since then and a survey taken in 2012 found that the game has over 605 million regular players.
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An all-time family favorite, we’d be surprised if there wasn’t a copy of Monopoly sitting in your closet or a family member’s attic. While there are hundreds of different spin-offs and versions of the game, the win condition is generally the same: acquire all the properties and starve your opponents.
What many might not know is the game was inspired by an economical demonstration by the name of “The Landlord’s Game.” The creator, Elizabeth Magie thought that explaining the concepts involved would be easier in the form of a game.
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Beloved game of logophiles everywhere, Scrabble is won by spelling out words, crossword style, on the game board. Players earn points based on the letters used to spell words. Point values are increased by placing tiles on special spaces. There’s even an official dictionary for the game.
Of course, that’s so people playing can’t make up words just to use up their letters. No dad, “smeat” is not a real word.
Checkers has likely been around even longer than Chess. Also known as draughts or dames, the game is heavily influenced by a Middle Eastern game called alquerque. The goal is to get your pieces to the other side while capturing your opponent’s pieces. The 8×8 version of the game was actually solved by a computer scientist team led by Jonathan Schaeffer.
Both players can force a draw, however, this requires perfect play so is unlikely to happen to casual players.
Like Monopoly, Risk has tons of different spin-offs and versions such as Risk Europe or the Star Wars Edition. However, spin-offs of Risk can get quite elaborate such as Risk Legacy. In Legacy, players shape the story of the game itself, each game affecting future games you play.
For the original version, the goal is to capture territories to eventually eliminate your opponents. It originated in 1957 and has since become one of the most popular classic board games in existence.
Backgammon is also an oldie and can be traced as far as 5,000 years back. The objective of backgammon is to “bear off” or remove all your pieces from the board before your opponent. It has a unique combination of luck and skill by requiring the rolling of dice.
This has made it an interesting subject for computer scientists. Because of this, there’s been software developed that can beat even top-tier players. In fact, some programs were so good at it that online backgammon sites had to implement counter-measures to detect them.
Go is an ancient Chinese board game, dating back prior to the Zhou dynasty (1046-265 BC). It is an abstract strategy game where the goal is to surround more territory than your opponent. Centuries ago, Chinese aristocrats considered Go one of four essential arts.
This eventually increased the popularity and level of play. Some believe it made be the oldest game that has been played continuously to the current day.
Snakes and Ladders
Also known as Chutes and Ladders in the U.S., this classic board game originated in ancient India. One of two games on this list with no strategy involved at all, the outcome is decided entirely by chance. The classic game involves rolling dice to navigate the board. Certain spaces contain either snakes or ladders which either help or hinder one’s progression.
The game is meant to represent a life’s journey and many versions include lessons in morality.
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Originally a pencil and paper game, the guessing game that is Battleship got its iconic plastic game board in 1967. The game itself dates back to World War I. Two players’ ships are arranged on labeled grids, their positions concealed from each other.
Players take turns taking “shots” at each other’s fleets, with the objective being to sink the opposing player’s ships.
Like chutes and ladders, Candy Land does not require any decision making. Once the cards are shuffled, the players’ fates are all sealed. Suitable for young children, the game requires no reading and only minimal counting skills.
Would you like to see even more? Then continue reading our next set of classic nostalgic games from your childhood!