hist-games: FW: Senet

SEDWilkins at aol.com SEDWilkins at aol.com
Mon Oct 31 03:20:04 PST 2005


An additional caution in weighing claims for the "oldest board game" would be 
that the lack of evidence from some cultures doesn't mean they didn't play 
board games, only that they didn't construct them in stone. Circuit games 
(patolli, nyout), alignment games (merrels, naughts-and-crosses), and 
count-and-capture/mancala-type games can all be played on "boards" scratched in the dirt, 
and even "permanant" boards made on skins, rolls of bark and other organic 
materials are sadly unable to argue their own cases for us.

While the observation that board games require abstract thinking and some 
math skills is accurate, I would hesitate to link that very firmly to the 
development of writing. There are some quite complex board games and "dice" games 
which were played in cultures without any written language even up to colonial 
times (konane in the South Pacific, for example, or some of the North American 
stick games).

Sally Wilkins
Sports and Games of Medieval Cultures
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