Remember When …

Photo provided

Photo provided

Board games like Monopoly, checkers, chess or dice have a wonderful history. Do you know which is the oldest? There is also a company that makes custom board games like Burton-opoly? I received one on my birthday a few weeks ago that is all about our city here in Burton.

Most Americans have a Monopoly game and now we have our own personalist board game from our Walmart, and has many of our local city businesses. I love it, we should all play it together!

Dice are the oldest game since archeologists have found them in tombs in Egypt, about 5,000 BCE in all shapes like sticks, stones or bones with numbers carved in them. Dice could be played many ways as the rules of the games changed throughout history and they used three die not just two like today.

Tabletop games got starting with backgammon, being the oldest board game still being played since around 4,000 BCE. Backgammon started out as a royal game and shows us the way that the older ancient Egyptian civilizations lived and was played with their hand carved boards and dice. Have ever you played dominos started in 1200s? Hounds and Jackals was a board game with 58 holes, being played by the elite during the Middle Kingdom about 4,000 years ago in Egypt, sort of like chutes and ladders, the children’s game played now. And Hopscotch started out in Rome around 500 BC – who would have ever known? Chess (or Tafl) and Checkers started out to show ways of strategies for war, started in ancient times, about 400 AD.



Card games started about 15th century in France. Other types of cards games may be older, but we will start here. The Americanized Euchre introduced the joker to modern deck of cards making it 52 cards, around 1860, related to the earlier card games of Europe. This is one my family’s favorite games at our annual Christmas Eve party.

Jigsaw puzzles started around 1760 when European map makers made the first out of cardboard. The Logic Puzzles were made in 1886 by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who also wrote our beloved story of, Alice Adventures in Wonderland. Puzzles have been fun during the lockdowns.

Marbles have been found in ancient times but became popular during the Second World War, when the rations were given out. It really mattered if you were playing for “keeps”. Mass production of marbles started around 1915, so the kids and adults loved it.

What is your favorite family game? Board games, puzzles, cards or even a cross word game? I hope you had a great St Patrick’s Day and you can play the game of Horseshoes that was started by a blacksmith which was a lucky trade in Ireland.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email History.