Have you ever thought about how important board and card games are for entertainment? Ever realize how long they’ve been around? Ever think what the world would be like today without them? Board games like chess, checkers, or even solitaire, have been around for a very long time.

Some games like chess or checkers are the most popular and famous games in the world. Chess, otherwise known as the game of kings, has been around for over 1500 years and is my favorite game. I like the logic of the rules and the strategy involved in winning, where all players have an equal chance to strategize, with no limits except the sharpness of your mind. Checkers is similar but less complicated. Both of these games are also educational, but you are having so much fun playing, you don’t even know it.

Before video games and movies and Broadway shows, games were the best form of entertainment, strategy, and fair challenges. The first card game originated in the ninth century! Chess was played by kings and upper class people in India in the year 6 A.D…6 A.D.! That says a lot since the first video game was invented in 1947 and was named the “Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device.” That’s a long way from Mario Brothers and Pacman, and all the simulated games of today, like Call of Duty and Starcraft.

Probably the oldest game in the world (and the most interesting) is Senet, which was introduced to the world anywhere from 3500 B.C. to 3100 B.C. Senet was an ancient Egyptian game which, like chess, was played by kings and upper class people. This game later became more than just a board game; it became symbolic of their beliefs. The Egyptian word for the game means “the game of passing.”

The game represented their belief in the afterlife since this game was symbolic of a soul going through the Netherworld. It came to be used in their religion to determine if their gods had liked them or not, based on who won. This game is believed to be the beginning of backgammon, a similar game. I had first found out about this game from one of my favorite shows, Lost, where it seemed it was a simple game that could be played on a lost island because of the simple stones used, black and white, and a simple board. As I read more about the game, it took on new meaning even as it applied to the show and its theme. It became more than just two colored rocks!

So, when you have some free time, or if you just want to challenge your brain now that Lost is not on TV anymore, find out more about these wonderful games, try them yourselves, and enjoy playing them like their founders intended