Games of the past

Games of the past

In getting ready for each year’s convention, we do a lot of research into the new hotness to see what our gamers will want to be playing. We keep bringing back old favorites too, but there are plenty of other games that don’t fit either category. While there’s plenty of interesting trivia about the history of games (my favorite is Little Wars, the 1913 guide to miniature wargaming written by the author of War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, H. G. Wells), this year I found a couple of interesting tidbits that I thought I’d share in case you hadn’t seen them yet. As this year draws to a close, this seems like a great time to share πŸ™‚

The first was a story from Vice on how scientists are using AI to re-construct ancient games whose rules have been lost for centuries. 

The next was a slightly older piece from Hyperallergic, and showcases some of the amazing artwork of British board games from the 1800s. If you’re looking for a gift for a gamer friend who already has everything, the coffee table source for the article, Georgian and Victorian Board Games: The Liman Collection​, may be right up your alley.

If traditional British games aren’t your thing, you can always check out hnefatafl, the chess alternative referenced in the Icelandic Sagas, although evidence has been found as far back as the seventh century. You can take a page from the Viking book, and be buried with your board games to give future historians a glimpse into modern life.

Finally, The Atlantic ran a story on the oft-maligned (and rightly so) Candyland. While it doesn’t make me like the game any more, understanding how it may have helped children suffering from polio find some semblance of freedom at least made me appreciate it a little more.

Hope you learned something new today!


Nick runs U-Con's social media. He got re-involved with board gaming when he found a mostly intact copy of HeroQuest at a garage sale. He started volunteering at U-Con in 2015. His current favorites are Bunny Kingdom, Viticulture, and Star Realms, but he's always looking for the next great game.