It is believed that popular game of Ludo is very old, but is it? It was patented in 1986, but it was a modern variant of really old game called Pachisi. And I must tell you this older game is more strategic and has a unique, ancient nature.
Is there really any timeless game? Some people say chess or checkers are timeless, but these games are not as old as they seem. Others talk about “timeless” computer games like Pac-Man or timeless tabletop games like Monopoly. But they are are still young. In my opinion there is one special game that deserves to be called “timeless”. It is Nine Men’s Morris also known as Mill. It is still popular, it can surprise next generations of players and many people have no idea how old this game really is!
It fits in your pocket, it costs a few dollars (pounds), you can buy it everywhere and immediately play hundreds of games with it. It does not require any power source. This is of course a deck of cards. Most versatile and comfortable gaming platform in the world! If you want to fully appreciate its charms, if you want to really understand it, you have to learn something about its history and all possible uses in games!
I described many different types of draughts (checkers) stressing that draughts is not one game. It’s a family of games with common features! In compare to draughts Chess seem to be a single, complete and polished game. But… it only seems to be. In fact there are many chess games which grown in parallel with the so-called classical chess. Understanding the common characteristics of chess games will be easy if you look at the ancestor of these games – the Indian game of Chaturanga.
If you like old American movies you could see people playing Gin Rummy. Why exactly this game? There are few reasons! First, this is a game for smart people. Secondly, this is a game with dramatic ending. Thirdly… Gin Rummy has unique taste of the risk mixed with a cool strategy.
When i wrote about Halatafl I mentioned that in different countries and on different continents there are similar games (though played on different boards). It’s amazing how the same game concepts pop out in different cultures. Today I describe few games known in India that are clearly relatives of Halatafl, but also Alquerque (ancestor of draughts). Interestingly all of these games use the same board.
In my country (Poland) chess is called a “royal game” while the Checkers are known as “Chess of proletariat”. Such terms clearly classify first game as noble and worthwhile and the second as silly or worse. Many people think they sound like experts when they speak about the superiority of the Chess over the Checkers (Draughts). In fact, such people show only their ignorance. Chess is not harder than Checkers … and vice versa. In the case of non-trivial games you should generally avoid speaking about a superiority of one game over another.