William and Stephen B Ives via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
William and Stephen B Ives via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

15 Centuries-Old Board Games

William and Stephen B Ives via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
William and Stephen B Ives via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Good family fun isn’t a new invention. Board games have been around since antiquity—the oldest evidence of the Egyptian game Senet dates back 5000 years. Here are 15 games people used to play before the 20th century:

1. THE NEW GAME OF HUMAN LIFE

In this 1790 game, players moved through different stages of life, from infancy onward. Players moved backward or forward on the game board according to the moral character of the square they landed on. Landing on the “drunkard” square sent a player back, while landing on “The Assiduous Youth” sent a player forward. Landing on a career like “The Romance Writer” or “The Dramatist,” per 18th century social mores, sent players backward.

2. LITTLE DICKEY BIRDS

Image Credit: Bodleian Libraries

This 1860 children’s game was played with a teetotum, a spinning top, and involved moving birds around numbered spaces. Alternative titles included “Kindness to dumb animals,” “Wrong and the right,” and “Reading to the sick.” 

3. THE MANSION OF HAPPINESS

Image Credit: William and Stephen B Ives via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In the early 1800s, this was the most popular board game in Britain. It centered around ideas of vice and virtue, as players attempted to reach the “mansion,” a heavenly reward for the pious. Think of it as Chutes and Ladders meets Sunday school. 

4. THE PANORAMA OF EUROPE

Image Credit: Bodleian Libraries


First published in 1815, players raced across European cities from Oporto, Portugal to London by spinning a teetotum. Per the rule book, landing on a capital city garnered a player a bonus spin, and the first one to land exactly on the London square won the game. 

5. CHAUPAR

Image Credit: Devidasa of Nurpur via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Chaupar, a gambling board game, has been played in India for millennia and was especially popular in royal courts. Often using a cross-shaped cloth board, it’s played with three dice and 16 pieces. The modern game Parcheesi is an adaptation of a variant of chaupar called pachisi. 

6. JOURNEY/CROSS-ROADS TO CONQUEROR'S CASTLE

Image Credit: Bodleian Libraries


In this 1835 board game, players spun a “circle of chance” that dictated whether they moved forward, backward, left, or right, journeying through a village and up to a castle on a hill, encountering impassible waterways, robberies, and other obstacles on the way. 

7. BIRD CHESS

Image Credit: Tamago915 via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0


In Tori Shogi, a Japanese variant of chess, all the pieces are types of birds, including phoenixes, cranes, and swallows. The game was invented in 1799 [PDF]. 

8. HALMA

Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain


This two-player game was invented in the 1880s by an American surgeon who named it after an ancient Greek word for “jump.” Halma declined in popularity in the 1900s with the introduction of Chinese checkers, a game with similar rules that could accommodate more players.

9. JUMBO THE CHILDREN'S FRIEND

Image Credit: Bodleian Libraries

The rulebook for this whimsical zoo game hasn’t survived, but it seems to have involved numbered animals, and it came with great artwork. Maybe it was a paint-by-numbers sort of thing? 

10. ASALTO

This game, whose name in English means “assault,” appeared in Germany as early as 1803. One corner of the board was the fortress, and it had to be defended by one of the players against attack from the other. Most of the pieces were designated foot soldiers, while just two pieces were officers that could move more freely across the board. The goal was to capture the opponent’s pieces and win the battle. 

11. DISTRICT MESSENGER BOY

 

Image Credit: ItsLassieTime via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The McLoughlin Brothers publishing house released this game in 1886. By moving pieces around a board, players competed to see who would become the president of a telegraph company. 

12. BINKO'S REGISTERED RAILWAY GAME

Image Credit: Bodleian Libraries

This two-person game was designed to teach children the geography of England, Scotland, and Wales. Players placed locomotives at a certain start point and rolled dice to determine how far they traveled.

13. NOUVEAU JEU DE L'HIMEN

Image Credit: Victoria & Albert Museum, bought out of the funds of the Bryan Bequest

A French board game that roughly translates to “new game of marriage” (though that last word also means hymen), its artwork appears on this porcelain tray from around 1725. The squares map the trajectory of a romantic relationship, with references to Ovid, the Odyssey, and other classical texts. 

14. ASTRONOMICAL TABLES

Image Credit: Alfonso X of Castile via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The game of astronomical tables—or seven-sided backgammon—was included in the Book of Games, an encyclopedia commissioned by Alfonso X of Spain in the 13th century. The seven sides were for the seven planets then known to astronomers (the moon and the sun were included, but Uranus and Neptune were not). The medieval book called the game “very noble and very strenuous and very elegant, and of great intellect for the wise,” according to one translation

15. CHECKERED GAME OF LIFE

Image Credit: George Mason University via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Board game legend Milton Bradley debuted the Checkered Game of Life during the Civil War. The game begins with infancy and ends with old age, with stops for "crime," "industry," "politics,” and “Cupid” along the way. Bradley's first game eventually morphed into the Life board game we play today.

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Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
The Covers of Jack Kerouac's Classic Titles Are Getting a Makeover
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press
Tom Etherington, Penguin Press

Readers have been enjoying classic Jack Kerouac books like The Dharma Bums and On the Road for decades, but starting this August the novels will have a new look. Several abstract covers have been unveiled as part of Penguin’s "Great Kerouac" series, according to design website It’s Nice That.

The vibrant covers, designed by Tom Etherington of Penguin Press, feature the works of abstract expressionist painter Franz Kline. The artwork is intended to capture “the experience of reading Kerouac” rather than illustrating a particular scene or character, Etherington told It’s Nice That. Indeed, abstract styles of artwork seem a fitting match for Kerouac’s “spontaneous prose”—a writing style that was influenced by improvisational jazz music.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The Dharma Bums, which was published just one year after On the Road. The Great Kerouac series will be available for purchase on August 2.

[h/t It's Nice That]

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Apple
Here's a Preview of the 70 New Emojis Coming to Your iPhone
Apple
Apple

Get ready to add a whole new set of symbols to your emoji vocabulary. As CNN reports, Apple has released a sneak peak of some of the 70 new emojis coming to iOS in late 2018.

In February 2018, the Unicode Consortium announced the latest additions to their official emoji database. Software makers have since been working on customizing the designs for their own operating systems, and now iPhone and iPad users are getting a preview of what the new emojis will look like on their devices.

One of the most highly anticipated new symbols is the redhead emoji, something people have been demanding for a while. A curly haired option, another popular request, will be added to the line-up, as will gray-hair and bald emoji choices. Each of the new hair types can be added to the classic face emoji regardless of gender, but when it comes to specific characters like the bride or the jogger emojis, users will be limited to the same hair options they had before.

If Apple users ever want to express their inner superhero, two new super characters, a man and woman, will let them do so. They will also have new "smiley" symbols to choose from, like a party emoji, a sad eyes emoji, and a frozen emoji.

In the food category you have a head of lettuce and a mango, and for dessert, a cupcake and a mooncake—a festive Chinese pastry. New animals include a peacock, a kangaroo, and a lobster. The lobster emoji stirred some controversy in February when Mainers noticed the Unicode version was missing a set of legs. The design was quickly revised, and Apple's version is also anatomically correct.

These images just show a small sample of the emojis that will be included in an iOS update planned for later in 2018. Users will have to wait to see the final designs for other the symbols on the list.

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

[h/t CNN]

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