I love trick-taking card games in which you have to win certain cards to earn points. They are popular in my part of Europe – Thousand in Poland and Ukraine, and 66 (or Schnapsen) in Germany and Austria. Both games have a common ancestor, an old game called Mariage (in Polish: Mariasz).
There are games that seem to have been created for a world fame, but they have never become popular. One of them is a game of Castle. Its rules are relatively simple, but its strategic complexity can be seen from the start. What’s more, the game takes place on a huge board with 361 fields, but players have to be smart in using relatively few pieces.
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!
Many people know simplest domino games (like Block Game) and appreciates them as social and funny. However each domino fan can come to a point when you have a partners to play and you want to try something different. Something new. Perhaps something more complex. Well… you can always try one of the lesser known but funny domino games like Instant Domino, Blind Domino, Jubilee, Bergen or Sebastopol.
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.
When I wrote about Halatafl I mentioned that there are many similar games in different countries and on different continents, 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.