53+ Impressive Board Game Facts That Will Amaze You!

Aryan Khanna
Mar 20, 2023 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Mar 20, 2023
Fact-checked by Dolly Chhatwani
Assortment of various board game pieces

Board games are an integral part of human history, with some going back more than a thousand years.

While all board games are different from each other, they often include elements of role-playing, table, card, and some other miniature games. Board games are also recognized as table-top games that generally use pieces as one of the key elements in conducting the game.

Generally, people of all age groups play board games ranging from children of age five to adults in their ’70s or ’80s. Some of the most common board games worldwide include the game of monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Candy Land, Scrabble, Pandemic, and others.

A board game is typically played by two or more people, but the game's result depends on the kind of game it is.

For instance, in the checkered game, one player emerges as the winner when he captures all the opponent's pieces.

At the same time, in German-style board games or Eurogames, a player is declared as a winner upon calculation of final scores, and the person with the highest score wins. But at the same time, there are some exceptions to this as well.

The renowned board game peg solitaire can be played by one person only, it is a puzzle-type game. On the other hand, the famous cooperative game Pandemic does not declare one person as the winner; either all the players lose the game as a team, or all of them emerge victorious.

Scroll down to learn some fantastic board game facts.

History Of Board Games

Board games are believed to be one of the most ancient forms of entertainment, with people spending a considerable chunk of their time playing them during the earlier days. Some of the board games we play today are believed to have been first invented thousands of years ago.

  • Over the years, archeological studies conducted at places worldwide have found evidence of board games being a popular form of entertainment during the earlier days.
  • Historical documents and artifacts have found the use of board games by the Jiroft civilization.
  • When it comes to the ancient history of board games, the first game ever to have been played is believed to be Senet.
  • The board game Senet was found in Egypt and was believed to date back to 3500 BC.
  • While monopoly is one of the most entertaining board games till date, it became an integral part of history during World War II when it helped British prisoners escape the clutches of Nazis.
  • During World War II, the game of monopoly was one of the items that British prisoners received as part of their care package from humanitarians.
  • The British secret service saw this as an opportunity to rescue their soldiers and conspired with the manufacturers of the monopoly game to hide tools within the board game.
  • These tools were hidden inside compartments and included a map, a compass, and a few others items required to escape from the prison.
  • While Candy Land is one of the most popular board games in the world, it was created by a school teacher in 1949 to cheer up the children staying at the San Diego polio ward.
  • The children would play this game in between breaks of receiving treatment.
  • In 1997, the Chess great Garry Kasparov lost a game of Chess to an IBM Computer named Deep Blue, but some time later, it was discovered that Kasparov lost the match owing to a masterful move from the computer that was the result of a programming bug.
  • While board games are meant to relax people and be fun, there is a pretty complex and detailed board game called 'Campaign for North Africa: The Desert War 1940-43' that can take 1200 hours to finish if ten people play it.

Types Of Board Games

There are multiple types of board games found across the globe. These board games are generally divided based on their geographical location of origin, but at the same time, classical board games are divided into four other categories.

  • Classical board games are broadly categorized into four types, namely, chase games, race games, games of displacement, and space games.
  • On the basis of the geographical area of origin, board games are generally divided into categories like European board games, Chinese, Arabic, and Indian board games, American board games, and modern board games.
  • One can also categorize board games on the basis of whether they require player skill or completely depend on the roll of a dice.
  • For instance, games such as Snakes and Ladders and Candy Land require no skill, and their results are determined purely by luck.
  • But at the same time, board games like Chess require intense focus and solely depend on the player's skill.

Popular Board Games

While there are numerous board games all across the world, and some are found in particular regions of the world only, there are a few board games that are known to be the most popular of all.

  • The famous American board game Chutes and Ladders is believed to be a modern-day bastardization of Moksha Patam, an ancient Indian game.
  • Contrary to several beliefs, the popular board game 'Yahtzee' was first played on a yacht. Before being called Yahtzee, it was recognized as the Yacht game.
  • The popular board game 'Risk' or as it was earlier known, 'La Conquête du Monde' was created by the oscar winner Albert Lamorisse.
  • The popular board game Pictionary was invented by a waiter from Seattle during the early ’80s.
  • The waiter would pick a random word from a dictionary and then draw it for others to guess. He later developed it into a full-on board game.
  • Scrabble is one of the most popular board games in the world. On one occasion, two skydivers played a game of Scrabble while skydiving from 13,000 ft (3962 m) to celebrate the 60th birthday of Scrabble.
  • While a family may often complain about their children spending hours playing the popular board game monopoly, it is technically possible to win a game of monopoly in merely 21 seconds.
  • While monopoly is undoubtedly one of the most popular board games in the world, there is a board game called 'Anti-Monopoly' that shows how monopolies can hurt a free enterprise system.
  • The game operates in the reverse manner of a normal game of monopoly. As the game begins, the board is set in such a manner that it seems as if a game of monopoly has just been completed, but the goal is to revert the board to a free market system.
  • Jenga is one of the most popular board games to exist. While we believe that all its pieces are of the same size, some blocks are known to be gradually smaller than other ones.
  • While there are some board games that are quite popular worldwide, there are some that haven't gained much recognition, one of them is a board game called 'Train'.
  • This game requires the players to load tiny figures into boxcars and race. Interestingly, once the player reaches the end line, they are horrified at the discovery that the destination is Auschwitz.
  • Diplomacy, one of the most famous board games in the world, was the favorite board game of two American greats, Henry Kissinger and John F. Kennedy.
  • The game had a backdrop of the World War I era and allowed each player to control a major European force. As the name suggests, the players would then develop their own strategies, forming alliances and at times betraying their allies.
  • Connect Four, one of the most popular board games, is, in fact, an already solved game and can be won by the player who starts the game if they play the correct moves.
  • Dungeons and Dragons, a famous board game, was created by Gary Gygax. He was a devout Christian and did not celebrate Christmas as he believed it to be a pagan holiday.
  • The original version of the game 'Dungeons and Dragons' included references to hobbits, but these were later removed as J.R.R. Tolkien’s team later complained that he alone held the copyright for these creatures.
  • Following this issue, the hobbits were renamed to halflings in Dungeons and Dragons.
  • While we are all familiar with the board game Chess, there is another board game called 'Tamerlane chess' that seems pretty similar to the former but has some striking differences as well.
  • Tamerlane chess is played on a different kind of board, and while it includes camels and elephants just like Chess, it also includes war machines and 11 different types of pawns.
  • While the board game Carrom might not be popularly recognized in all parts of the world, it is one of the most famous board games in South Asia and has an annual World Cup Tournament as well.
Wooden Chess board with chess pieces.

Old Board Games

Throughout history, board games have been an indispensable form of entertainment and have been played by various societies and civilizations over the years. Interestingly, some of those board games have evolved over the years and are played today as well.

  • The ancient Indian board game Moksha Patam is believed to have been introduced 2000 years ago.
  • People believe that the theme of this game revolves around the belief of the arduous path of a Hindu soul to liberation from the cycle of reincarnation.
  • While Senet is regarded as the oldest board game in the world, Hounds and Jackals is another ancient board game whose origins lie in Egypt. This board game first appeared in 2000 BC.
  • Archeological studies found the first-ever complete set of this ancient board game from a Theban tomb that dated back to the 13th Egyptian dynasty.
  • The multiplayer board game, Backgammon, is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia around 5000 years ago.
  • Asian countries like China and India have given birth to some of the oldest board games in the world, including the likes of Chess, Chaupar, Liubo, Go, Pachisi, and Ashtapada.
  • As the name suggests, the ancient board game 'The Royal Game of Ur' was believed to have originated in the Royal Tombs of Ur around 4600 years ago in the Mesopotamian region.
  • In 1860, Milton Bradley made a board game whose original version was called 'The Game of Life'. This board game had ruin, suicide, and poverty as possible outcomes.
  • The famed board game Stratego was invented during the World War II era by a Dutch Jew for his two children.
  • The ancient Egyptians often played a board game called 'Mehen', which was supposedly played with marbles and a few other pieces shaped like lions and lionesses.

Did you know?

  • The famous dice game Yahtzee is known to have gotten its name from the place it was first played at, a yacht.
  • While the ancient board game Hounds and Jackals is believed to have originated from Egypt, studies state that it was quite popular in Caucasus and Mesopotamia as well.
  • Board games are often considered a gym for the brain. They help a person reduce overall stress, teach patience, and release happiness hormones.
  • Studies have found that there are over 4 trillion combinations to win the 'Connect Four' board game. At the same time, there are around 700 million ways to tie a game of Connect Four.
  • Over the years, making luxe versions of popular board games has become a common thing, but this was taken to the next level when a San Fransisco-based jeweler made a monopoly set worth $2 million.
  • This expensive monopoly included diamond-encrusted dice, sapphire-embellished houses and hotels, and the board itself made of gold.
  • Whenever you play the game of monopoly with your friends, arguments are bound to take place despite rules being laid down pretty clearly already. One of them is whenever a player refuses to buy a property after landing upon it, it is immediately put up for auction.
  • The board game, Pandemic Legacy is known to be the longest board game of all in terms of time taken to finish. The game takes approximately a year to complete and can only be played once as the equipment is heavily damaged by then.
  • Despite being named 'Chinese Checkers', this board game is known to be a German variation of an American game. It was, in fact, the Japanese who introduced this board game to the Chinese.
  • While Ouija boards are closely related to spooky activities, they are believed to have been originally invented as a fortune-telling game. When it was first invented, Ouija boards were advertised as an activity during a fun date.

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Aryan Khanna picture

Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Dolly Chhatwani

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Literature

Dolly Chhatwani picture

Dolly ChhatwaniBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in English Literature

A skilled professional-client manager, Dolly brings a wealth of experience to any team. Holding a Master's in English Literature, she has worked in various customer relations and operations management roles throughout her career. With a degree in both English and Psychology, she is passionate about promoting mental health. Dolly is an avid reader, particularly of classic literature, and enjoys writing book reviews. Additionally, she maintains a food blog and is active on social media.

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