board game

  1. A BRIEF HISTORY OF BACKGAMMON

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF BACKGAMMON

    To start with, this traditional board game, of which a new version will arrive by the end of June on our site, is known by other names around the world. In Italian we also use to call it Royal Table, but we also hear it called Tric Trac.

    Its birth dates back to 4500 years ago, thanks to the discovery of the Royal Game of Ur in the tomb of a Sumerian king in ancient Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. Other sources would like him to be even older and originally from Iran.

    It certainly managed to spread to the West as well as to the East, thanks to the various migrations of peoples and tribes; of the original Backgammon began to create different variations, different ways of playing, depending on the geographical area. Some frescoes representing a playing field very similar to today's were also discovered in ancient Egypt, inside the tomb of none other than the legendary Tutankhamen.

    Backgammon is also mentioned in the well-studied Odyssey, with the episode of suitors intent on playing with pawns in the outer atrium of Ulysses' palace. Try to take your old school textbook and have fun finding this passage.

    A game consisting of a board and three dice won its place of honor even in ancient Rome; it was known as Ludus duodecim scriptorum ("game of the twelve lines"), which subsequently took the name, probably also undergoing modifications, of Alea ("dice") or Tabula ("table"). The game was to be widespread in all social classes. Suetonius, in his Lives of twelve Caesars, thus describes the maniacal interest that the emperor Claudius had for that game: «With great passion he played dice, on which art he even put out a book; and he used to play even while traveling, having the chariot and the board adjusted so that the game would not get messed up ».

    Traces of this game are also found in Pompeii: the excavations brought to light the murals inside a tavern that depict the development of a game of tabula, which ended between mutual insults.

    Read more »
  2. THE REAL SOCIAL WEIGHT OF MAHJONG

    THE REAL SOCIAL WEIGHT OF MAHJONG

    "Mahjongg has had the power to be both a bridge and a barrier between different cultures," explains Annelise Heinz, a researcher who has dedicated an entire book to this specific board game.
    Heinz has managed to trace how the popular game of Asian origin has always found a way to be community across various cultures and countries.

    Mahjongg is a relatively modern game that developed around the mid-1880s, especially in large cities in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing. It was then in the early 1920s that he developed a truly international reputation. Exporters, shopkeepers and businessmen helped spread this new fashion all over the world, even in America.
    In the new world, everything started anew from the elite and subsequently reached the entire population, especially as a tool to facilitate the transition into a new era, more globalized and deeply connected with the Asian world.

    And this transition is also visible in women's lives.

    In its origins, Mahjonng was a game played mainly by men; nothing suggested his subsequent and decisive association with women and their femininity. American ideas about Asian culture were founded on a completely different, non-canonical, non-standard way of being women. The exoticism and femininity that revolved around the Mahjonng absolutely favored such a widespread and enthusiastic participation.

    Ironically, the times were deeply racist. The Johnson Reed Act of 1924 only cemented the restrictions on the immigration of Asians to the United States. The Americans continued to practice it with pleasure because they associated it with a mysterious and ancient Chinese past, now vanished, allowing them to distance themselves from the contemporary population.

    Asians living in America had to deal with their middle position, if we might say so.
    Although they looked at the famous board game as a way to return at least in thought to their homeland, often they could not escape its commodification in

    Read more »