In 2021, there were an estimated 3.24 billion people that played video games across computers, consoles, smartphones, and tablets. This includes everything from basic puzzle games like Wordle to AAA first-person shooters like Call of Duty.
This figure doesn’t include traditional card and board games. Calculating this number is a little trickier because the same digital tracking tools don’t exist as they do for video gaming. However, a study found that 57% of households own at least one board game, while 22% have between 26 and 50.
And when you consider that you’d have to try really hard to find someone that hasn’t at least played a game like Monopoly or Scrabble once, it seems reasonable to estimate that the vast majority of people on the planet have played at least one game.
Games are fun, they provide a challenge while also helping us to relax, and they’re often great for facilitating socializing.
While many new games get released every year, we often fall back to our trusty favorites. Many of these traditional games are older than we are, dating back centuries. But have you ever wondered which one is the oldest of them all?
Card, table, and slot games are widely enjoyed by players right across the world. They’ve all been around for at least a century, yet they continue to be played by millions of people every year. Part of their popularity can also be credited to online casinos that have added a modern spin to these classics, creating special features known as races and developing variants like quantum and lightning roulette.
But of all the casino games offered through these websites, blackjack is by far the oldest. It is a little difficult to pinpoint its exact origins as it appears to have been developed independently in different parts of the world.
Some references to a game called baraja exist in a Spanish short story written around 1602 by Miguel de Cervantes, while French and British games appear around the 1770s. Therefore, we can say that blackjack is around 3-400 years old.
Chess is one of the board games that many people are likely to have in their homes as it’s been around for quite some time and has been spread right around the world.
It’s a strategy game that requires players to move their pieces in different ways to capture their opponent’s ones while simultaneously defending against attacks from the other side of the board.
Like casino games, you can play chess online through a computer or mobile device, either against another person or a computer.
However, chess is much older. Most historians link it to an Indian game from around 1,500 years ago. Known as chaturanga, players competed on a checkerboard to move pieces of different values as they tried to outmaneuver each other.
The pieces themselves were a little different from a modern chess game though and were designed to represent the four divisions of the Indian army at the time. This is actually where its name is derived from as, from Sanskrit, chaturanga roughly translates to “four limbs”.
To the untrained eye, checkers and chess can look very similar. After all, they’re both played on checkered boards and involve moving pieces across it. However, checkers is much simpler than chess as each piece is worth exactly the same and has the same moving abilities.
Historians believe a version of the game existed around 3,000 BC, making it around 3,500 years older than chess. The earliest checkers board was unearthed by archeologists in the Iraqi city of Ur, while a very similar game known as alquerque that dated back to 1,400 BC was discovered in Egypt.
These games look somewhat different, for example, the alquerque board didn’t use different colors to denote the positions for each piece. Instead, players moved their pieces on the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines that intersected across the board.