Early Board Game?
Mesopotamia, 4,000 BCE
8 cm ~ Sun-baked clay, pigments


This is believed to be the earliest known board game, although the instructions for playing it have, of course, been lost forever. According to the cuneiform markings, it somehow involved a journey around the perimeter and the acquisition of residences or inns. A prison is depicted in one corner, and there are community resources, taxation and transportation mentioned here and there.

One can almost see a group of Mesopotamian children gathered around the "board," casting sheep's knuckles each in his or her turn, the winner perhaps awarded a laurel wreath and the losers sacrificed to the Mesopotamian god of chance, N'tighu.



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