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9 Famous Traditional Board, Dice, and Card Games

Updated on June 18, 2019
viryabo profile image

Viryabo, always a games buff for over five decades. From snakes & ladders at a young age, chess as an adult, and now to video and e-games...

Despite thousands of new-age digital games in the market, many of us still love and play traditional board, dice, and card games. Many of these games have been around for hundreds of years with a couple even way beyond that. Chess, an old game, is claimed to be about 1500 years old while backgammon is a "staggering" 5000-year-old game!

Do you remember these popular traditional games we played way before game technologies and the internet? Well, many people still play them today, preferring to stick to the traditional boards, dice, and cards we used to play them.
Do you remember these popular traditional games we played way before game technologies and the internet? Well, many people still play them today, preferring to stick to the traditional boards, dice, and cards we used to play them. | Source

Electronic Games versus Traditional Games

Do you remember how just over half a century ago we thought games like ludo, backgammon, cards, snakes & ladders, and dominos were some of the best games ever? Some of us still think they are.

Traditional games were great for our mental health, promoted skills, encouraged us to play in groups and have fun, helped us make new friends while strengthening our bonds with old friends, and best of all, traditional games were healthy games and were relatively cheaper than today’s e-games.

Many electronic games played today mostly come with noteworthy disadvantages. For instance, it is known that e-games may have a negative impact on our visual health, in the long run. Also, it is claimed that they have a bad effect on our physical health. We sit playing all day, become lazy due to lack of exercise, and become fat and obese because we munch continuously while playing.

9 Famous Traditional Games

Some of the most famous and popularly played classic board, dice and card games in the 19th and 20th century are:

  1. Ludo
  2. Snakes and Ladders
  3. Dominos
  4. Mancala
  5. Monopoly
  6. Backgammon
  7. Scrabble
  8. Chess
  9. Cards

1. Ludo - Board, Token, and Dice Game

Ludo is a simplified version of Pachisi, a medieval cross and circle board game that originated from Indian. It is one of the easiest traditional board, token, and dice games to play. It is played by a minimum of two, and a maximum of four players. Players play by racing their tokens from start to finish, and their luck depends on dice rolling and strategic placement of the tokens.

Players must throw a 6 on the dice before making a first move from the home area. They then proceed from their starting square. Each player has a different colour which determines the route of movement. Players can only move one to six steps at a time.

When a player throws a 6, he or she may bring a new token onto the starting square. The player may, however, choose to move a token already in play instead.

When a player’s token falls on an opponent's piece in the course of moving on the board, the opponent's piece is captured or 'pecked'! at this point, the opponent's captured token is sent back to the start position.

There is a doubling rule every ludo player loves to get. Here, when a token of the same colour lands on another of the same colour, the doubling becomes a barricade against all other players. He or she can decide to open up this blockade when he/she pleases or when there is no other option than to move on.

On completion of a circuit of the board, a player’s token moves up the home column of its colour. The player must throw the exact number required to advance to the home square. The winner is the first player to get all four of their tokens onto the home square.

2. Snakes and Ladders - Board and Dice Games

Snakes and Ladders is an ancient game that is known to originate from India. When the game made its way into England, it was sold as "Snakes and Ladders" while the basic concept of the game was introduced into the United States and called Chutes and Ladders. This traditional board and dice game is now regarded as a worldwide classic game played mainly by children but equally enjoyed by many adults as well.

It is played between two or more players on a gameboard made up of square grids numbered from 1 to 100. On the board are illustration of snakes and ladders with each connecting two of the square grids in no particular order. The snakes are drawn haphazardly at different positions from the ladders. The goal is to get up to the 100th square by getting around the snakes and trying to climb up the ladders to gain an advantage.

Each player must try to prevent opponents from getting to the top level first, or onto the 100th square. This can be done by using various power-ups, which can be used to an advantage, or to slow down the other players.

3. Domino – Board and Tile-Based Game

What we know as dominoes today is a game that first appeared in Italy around the 1700s. Before this time, it was unknown to Europe. The game is very popular in Latin America and is considered the national game of most Caribbean countries.

Domino games consist of white tiles with black dots (or black tiles with white dots) called building blocks. The game’s objective is to assemble these tiles in many ways to create a large variety of games that require great skill and strategy.

The game is played by four people divided into two teams. To play the game, the dominoes are shuffled face down with the flat of the hand. Each player gets seven tiles and the remaining dominoes are placed in the “boneyard” to be drawn from by any player unable to play a tile from his or her hand.

The first player to go is the one holding the double-six tile. If no one has that, then it will have to be the first player with a double-five, and so on. The tile played must be the double tile that permits the player to take the first turn and if none of the players holds a double, then the tiles are reshuffled and drawn again.

Each player must conceal their tiles value from the other players.

The objective of the game is to be the first team to reach 7 points. The game consists of a number of hands, each of which is worth one or more points, depending on the bid. After the game, remaining dominoes are referred to as the 'sleeping tiles'.

4. Mancala Board and Seed Games

Mancala is a group of games that originated from Africa and similar to Dominoes and Card games in that it is also a group of games which falls under one heading. Also called Ayo, Oware, or Awele, this game is played on a board with carved out holes and consists of two rows (or ranks) of twelve holes, six-a-side, and two store pits at each end used as a hold for the winnings.

Before the advent of carved boards, mancala games were played with holes dug in the earth or carved out of stone.

There are variations in the playing board with some having more holes on either side, or more rows to create four rank Mancala boards. Traditional mancala has 48 seeds used for the game with four in each hole at the start.

The game is played by two people. The playing pieces can be small stones, seeds or beans which are moved from hole to hole during play. The objective is to capture more seeds than the opponent, leave the opponent with no legal move, or have your row empty first, in order to win.

5. Monopoly Board Games

The monopoly game, one of the best selling board games in the world, is one game where you have the chance to wheel and deal your way to the top any way you choose. It offers the thrill of getting rich quick and acquiring various properties along the way.

Named after the economic concept of the domination of the market by a single entity, it involves a bit of luck, with the rolling of the dice. This is a determining factor of the dice throw result, as it can allow a player to own key properties or lands on squares with high rents.

Also, the initial misfortune of going last is a significant disadvantage because one is more likely to land on a property which has already been bought and therefore be forced to pay rent to the owner, instead of having the opportunity to purchase his own property.

The players are represented by tiny metal pieces moved around the perimeter of the board, depending on the throw of the 2 dice.

They are a Wheelbarrow, Battleship, and Horse with a rider, a Train, a thimble, Cannon, Boot, a Dog, a Top hat and an Iron.

The board has 40 spaces with 28 properties, 4 'go to jail' spaces at the corners of the board, a luxury tax space, an income tax space, 3 community chest spaces, and 1 free parking space.

When the game 'monopoly' emerged, it became immensely popular and I was one of the "monopoly mania" set and enjoyed it for many years. It was so exciting "buying and selling properties” and my passion for this game fuelled my interest in the Real Estate and building industries.

6. Backgammon Game

Backgammon is a board game with an aspect of a little luck, but with a large scope of strategy.

A game for 2 people and a member of the tables’ game family, backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world.

There are many variations of the game but they all share similar traits.

With each roll of the dice, a player must choose from numerous options for moving his checkers and anticipate possible counter-moves by the opponent

The objective of the backgammon game is to be the first to get your checkers off the board before your opponent does. Players may raise the stakes during the game. There is an established repertory of common tactics and occurrences.

Backgammon has joined the class of computerized games where the software that has been developed is capable of beating human players.

7. Scrabble - Traditional Board Game

Scrabble was, and still is a game that will help any child develop their spelling skills, as the players can make deft spelling moves to score very high marks. Plus it helps you discover words you've never heard of, let alone know their meanings.

A classic board game of half luck and half skill; Scrabble is a word game in which 2 or 4 players form words from individual letters placing them on a board with a 15 x 15 grid.

Words are formed in crossword fashion, across this grid, and the words spelled out on the boards must be found in a standard dictionary. However, there are permissible words for the game which can be found in "The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary". There is also the "Collins Scrabble Checker which can also be used to check if a word is acceptable.

There are 100 tiles, marked with a letter and a number, with the numbers ranging from 1 to 10. Common letters, especially vowels, are usually worth just a few points. Less common letters such as Q, Z and X carry higher points and so give higher scores if used to form any word. There are 2 blank tiles that carry no point, but can be used to substitute any letter. Once placed on the board, the choice remains fixed.

Within the grid are colours such as dark red, pink, and dark blue and light blue. These coloured squares are premium spots where scores are multiplied and can be doubled or tripled, letter or numbers.

The middle square is marked with a logo and counts as a double-word square.

8. Chess

Chess is one of the oldest games of skill known to man and has become the true game of the brain.

Chess games enhance the power of thought in people who play regularly and is known to enhance and sharpen the intellect of young players.

Some historians date it as early as the 2nd century, but many believe playing a form of chess started as early as the 7th century. There is documented evidence to prove this.

The games' boards can be made from many diverse materials, ranging from exotic natural woods to granite slabs, glass, and fine marble, to produce exquisite works of art.

The board's grid is divided into 64 squares, arranged in an 8 by 8 fashion, which traditionally, has black and white as the most popular colours.

The chess pieces, 16 white and 16 black, range from basic plastic pieces with magnetic bottoms on the base so that they stick to the board, to intricately hand carved works of art.

The pieces, arranged on the 2 ends for the 2 players, with 16 pieces per player, consist of 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights and 8 pawns.

Each piece has its own different moves:

  • The King can only move 1 square at a time, in any direction
  • The Queen can move diagonally and in a straight line as well
  • The Knights can only move in an L-shaped fashion
  • The Bishops can only move diagonally
  • The Rook can only move in a straight line
  • The pawn can move in a straight line, but can only capture a piece diagonally forward, and only a square away.

The objective of the game is to checkmate your opponent's king, whereby the king is under direct attack, with no way to prevent it from an attack on any further move.

Today, chess has come a long way since 1945, when Alan Turing used chess playing as an example of what a computer could do.

In 1950 the first chess computers were born, and now the most popular chess games are either played individually against a hand held chess computer or played on-line either against a computer or across the internet with unseen opponents.

Short Chess Game Presented by Serguei Vorojtsov

9. Traditional Card Games

When it comes to playing cards, countless games exist, including families of related games. Some games have formally standardized rules, while rules for others can vary by region, culture, and person.

Cards are the main thing to play in any card game and winning a card game primarily rests on mother luck.

At the beginning of a game, cards are distributed to each player by one chosen player. This act is referred to as dealing. This distribution could be clockwise, or anti-clockwise, depending on which part of the world you come from.

Before dealing out the cards, the player shuffles the cards, to put the cards into a random order. During the shuffle, the dealer holds the cards so that he or she and the other players cannot see any of the card faces.

Some card games revolve around waging of money. These games are played mainly in casinos, or at gambling card games.

An example is Poker, where players bet against each other. Other classic card games like Blackjack have players play and bet against the house. Poker is one of the most universally-known card games in existence.

Some games can be played alone (1 player) and an example of this is Solitaire. Most Solitaire games begin with a specific layout of cards, called a tableau, and the object is then either to construct a more elaborate final layout, or, to clear the tableau and the draw pile, or stock, by moving all cards to one or more "discard" or "foundation" piles.

There are "trick-taking" games, based on playing multiple rounds, or tricks. Here, each player plays a single card from their hand and based on certain values, one player wins or "takes" the trick.

The specific object varies with each game and can include taking as many tricks as possible, taking as many scoring cards within the tricks won as possible, taking as few tricks as possible, or taking an exact number of tricks. Bridge, Tarot card games, Spades, and Hearts are popular examples of trick-taking card games.

Simple to learn, fun to play!

WHICH GAMES WOULD YOU SAY CONTRIBUTES POSITIVELY TO HUMAN MENTAL DEVELOPMENT

See results

© 2009 viryabo

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    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      3 years ago

      Me too @RITA

      Traditional games do still have their own unique place in the games industry, with many wonderful variations of the classics.

      Thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      RITA SHARMA 

      3 years ago

      I like old game

    • profile image

      Wrimecrewmeva 

      3 years ago

      It is in reality a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Nice nostalgic list of board games. I never heard of ludo or mancala. But I've heard of parchesi and the others. I never did chess either. Nice hub. Voted up!

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 

      7 years ago from India

      I used to play online only.. Not offline..

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      Hi Jerrykeyz. I believe it is called 'draft' locally, and is a real favourite of the locals.

      Its really the same good old draught game and the playing board is the same as the chess board. Its name is draught.

      You could DIY. Just get a chess board and you can buy your own seeds using chips, or what we call counters - you know, those disc shaped game chips. Just the 2 different colours, and voila! you have a 'draft' game set.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks for the visit jerrykeyz.

      Cheers

    • profile image

      jerrykeyz 

      9 years ago

      I was actually looking for a Nigerian board game locally called "draft". its board is the same chess except that it has 100 tiles and 20 seeds to each player. all seed has an equal movements (single step diagonal) until it gets to the opposite side of the board, then it is crowned king and can move giant steps diagonally. I played it once but I've forgotten its name and I really feel like playing it.

      pls if you know how I can get it, I will really appreciate cos its my fa4ryt game. I don't know it's refined name. and that's the major problem.

      I'm positive I'll get help here. tnx in anticipation!

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      Hi Bonniejjones, nice to see you again. How's it going?

      I'm definitely off to view the site. I'm sure i'll get a lot of info there on Party games. You just opened up an idea for a new hub. Party games. LOL!!

      Thank you so much for your visit bonnie and thank you for the info.

      Cheers and GodBless.

    • profile image

      bonniejjones 

      9 years ago

      I just found out that GAMES MAGAZINE ranked Triviathon no. 1 in the U.S. and no. 2 in the world in the Party Games category. Go to www.triviathon.com to see all of the awards that Triviathon has been awarded in the last year.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      Hello Bonniejjones, thank you for your visit. Board games do encourage interaction as you rightly said. With the new video game age, kids tend to enjoy the solo aspect, playing with or against an unknown player. IMO, they dont really mind losing a game to that unseen opponent. Not to be encouraged. There should be a mix.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Cheers

    • profile image

      bonniejjones 

      9 years ago

      Board games are a great alternative to video games because they get kids (big and small) interacting with real people. Our new favorite is Triviathon. My grandkids and I had so much fun playing it that even our teenager asked to join in the game.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      I have never played black jack or roulette yet. Always wanted to learn how to play blackjack but never got round to it. Will try out the site you mentioned sometime.

      Thank you for your visit arindam.

      Cheers

    • arindam1234 profile image

      arindam1234 

      9 years ago

      u r so enthusiasts on board game, ludo, card game, chess. Have u ever played blackjack or roulette? thing these r more interesting than u already experienced. If u know more, then u can download and play casino games to earn big bucks and to feel the real heat. casinostoplayat.com is a site which i have experienced those and i really big guy by that. u may try ur luck.

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR

      viryabo 

      9 years ago

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the visit. The traditional games are still very much around us today, and luckily some of them, if not most, is now electronic.

      Glad you love your new game.

      Cheers.

    • profile image

      Giant Ludo 

      9 years ago

      Hi,

      I've just bought one of these games whil;st visting the US, I love it, really worth the money.

      Thanks

      Paul

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