Here we take a look at the history of three of our most beloved table games and explore what options are available for online play in our increasingly connected world. Let’s see 3 new ways to play the classic game.
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The oldest game on this list is Backgammon, which has been played in various forms in the region of Mesopotamia since the time of the Sumerians, 5000 years ago. If you’ve ever played you’ll know why its popularity has endured for millennia. It manages to strike an artful balance in having a simple rule-set that belies hidden depths of play. The game is played on a characteristic board composed of 24 triangular segments. As each player takes their turn they roll the dice and move their counters the number of places indicated by the value of the dice. Players have the opportunity to advance their pieces along the sequence of triangles, with the ultimate aim to reach the end of the board first. This is complicated by an offensive component to the game, wherein you can block or counter your opponent as they likewise attempt to reach the end. It is this dynamic that creates the interesting and engaging quality of backgammon.
The game’s name derives from Middle English, and means simply “black game”. Elsewhere, in the Arabic world, the game is referred to as “tawle”, meaning “table”. The oldest version of the game, deriving from Sumeria, is commonly referred to as the “Royal Game of Ur”.
Android gamers can try out the popular app Backgammon Online – Lord of the Board to get their backgammon fix in a digital form.
The game we have come to know as Blackjack has been around since at least the renaissance in one form or another. The family of games it belongs to are most frequently referred to in their regional variants by some permutation of the name “21”, as in the French Vingt-et-Un or the earlier Castilian Ventiuno. Blackjack’s modern name comes by way of the Klondike gold rush that saw the game massively grow in popularity among some of the first European settlers to North America.
Blackjack is now the most popular variant of this classic card game worldwide, and is especially popular in casinos where 75% of all games take place around a blackjack table. It’s straightforward to access the game on-demand thanks to digital platforms that offer versions that can be played both online with a web-browser, and in app form on your smartphone.
Chess is a game with an enduring historical and cultural legacy. Its earliest form derives from the Indian subcontinent during the time of the Gupta Empire in the 7th century CE, and is known as Chataranga. This variant is still played in that region today. Chess found its way to Europe along the trade-routes through Persia and has been played in the region since at least the 10th century. Chess became increasingly popular in the medieval period and began to be considered an aristocratic game of tactics and strategy. This reputation endures today, and chess is widely seen as a means of improving or perfecting one’s ability to think and enact strategic operations.
The game is played on an iconic checkerboard of 64 squares and utilizes a diverse set of pieces, each with their own abilities and move-sets. For example, the most common piece, the Pawn, may only move one square forward each round. To contrast, the Knight can jump several places in an L shaped pattern that opens up unique opportunities. Learning and mastering the different dynamics of each piece is but one step along the way to proficiency in Chess. This is not to say the game is hard to play necessarily, but if one wishes to play at a high level one must be prepared to dedicate a lifetime to the task.
Chess can be enjoyed in numerous ways online, with the website Chess.com offering the best of the online chess community alongside comprehensive tutorials for both novices and improvers.