To celebrate National Inventors Month we are taking a look at the inventions which lead the way to modern PC gaming. This week we are looking at the history of board games, and what a better time than GenCon's opening day to talk board games!
Wikipedia: Board games have been played in most cultures and societies throughout history; some even pre-date literacy skill development in the earliest civilizations. A number of important historical sites, artifacts and documents exist which shed light on early board games. Early board games often represented a battle between two armies, and most current board games are still based on defeating opposing players in terms of counters, winning position or accrual of points (often expressed as in-game currency).
Many old games have been found in tombs. Rich grieving parents often buried their children with their favourite toys and games. The early Egyptians used mud gaming boards (3000BC). A board and peg game found in an Egyptian tomb of about 2800BC shows 2 players with pegs headed with either dogs or wolfs. Dice were used with this game, so both luck and skill were involved. It had a drawer underneath for storing the pieces.
Palamedes of Greece was said to have invented the dice in about 1400BC. Cubical stones and clay die from this period have been found with numbers pitted or inlaid on their faces. On ‘modern’ dice, the sum of each pair of opposite faces add upto seven. This was suggested by Eastanthius, Archbishop of Thessalonica, Greece in 1193BC to stop cheats who made dice with two number ‘ones’. Dice have not always been made in the shape of a cube. Stone dice used in Egypt in about 250BC were 10 sided. A tubular dice made from Ivory has been found with marks of the numbers one, two, and three on the sides, spaced apart with ornamental lines. Prior to the use of dice, flat sticks were used marked with numbers. Sometimes the dice were marked with symbols or colours.
Senet has been found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt, c. 3500 BC and 3100 BC respectively.Senet is the oldest board game known to have existed, and was pictured in a fresco found in Merknera's tomb (3300–2700 BC). Senet has been featured on such shows as ABC's "Lost".
Board games through history:
c.3500 BC: Senet is played in Predynastic Egypt as evidenced by its inclusion in burial sites; also depicted in the tomb of Merknera. c.3000 BC: The Mehen board game from Predynastic Egypt, was played with lion-shaped game pieces and marbles. c.3000 BC: Ancient backgammon set, found in the Burnt City in Iran. c.2560 BC: Board of the Royal Game of Ur (found at Ur Tombs) c.2500 BC: Paintings of Senet and Han being played depicted in the tomb of Rashepes c.1500 BC: Painting of board game at Knossos. c.500 BC: The Buddha games list mentions board games played on 8 or 10 rows. c.500 BC: The earliest reference to Pachisi in the Mahabharata, the Indian epic. c.400 BC: Two ornately decorated liubo gameboards from a royal tomb of the State of Zhongshan in China. c.400 BC: The earliest written reference to go (weiqi) in the historical annal Zuo Zhuan. Go is also mentioned in the Analects of Confucius (c. 5th century BC). 116–27 BC: Marcus Terentius Varro's Lingua Latina X (II, par. 20) contains earliest known reference to Latrunculi (often confused with Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, Ovid's game mentioned below). 1 BC–8 AD: Ovid's Ars Amatoria contains earliest known reference to Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum. 1 BC–8 AD: The Roman Game of kings is a game of which little is known, and which is more or less contemporary with the Latrunculi. c.43 AD: The Stanway Game is buried with the Druid of Colchester. c.200 AD: A stone go board with a 17×17 grid from a tomb at Wangdu County in Hebei, China. 220–265: Backgammon enters China under the name t'shu-p'u (Source: Hun Tsun Sii) c.400 onwards: Tafl games played in Northern Europe. c.600 The earliest references to chaturanga written in Subandhu's Vasavadatta and Banabhatta's Harsha Charitha early Indian books. c.600: The earliest reference to shatranj written in Karnamak-i-Artakhshatr-i-Papakan. c.1283: Alfonso X of Castile in Spain commissioned Libro de ajedrez, dados, y tablas (Libro de los Juegos (The Book of Games)) translated into Castilian from Arabic and added illustrations with the goal of perfecting the work. 1759 A Journey Through Europe published by John Jefferys, the earliest board game with a designer whose name is known.
c.1930: Monopoly stabilises into the version that is currently popular.
1957: Risk is released.
1984: BattleTech launched by FASA Corporation
Wikipedia: Chicago-based FASA Corporation's original, 1984 BattleTech game focuses on enormous robotic, semi-humanoid battle machines called BattleDroids. The name of the game was changed to BattleTech in the second edition because George Lucas and Lucasfilm claimed the rights to the term "droid"; the machines themselves were renamed BattleMechs from the second edition onwards. The visual design of the earliest line of BattleMechs were taken from Macross and other anime, including many signature images. In later years FASA abandoned these images, and it was common speculation by fans that the decision was the result of a lawsuit brought against them by Playmates and Harmony Gold [USA] over the use of said images.
No official broke the silence until 2007, after FASA had sold the BattleTech intellectual property to WizKids Games. Under license from them, the Classic BattleTech line developer for Fantasy Productions, Randall N. Bills explained that FASA had sued Playmates over the use of images owned by FASA, but received no compensation, even though Playmates was ordered to stop using the images in question. After realizing how the use of licensed images made them vulnerable to lawsuits and afraid that such a suit would bankrupt the company, FASA made the decision to only use images owned by them and them alone.
The BattleMechs taken from the various anime sources were then considered "Unseen". When Fantasy Productions licensed the property, these "Unseen" images were expanded to include all art produced "out-of-house" – that is, whose copyrights resided with the creators, not the company. Catalyst Game Labs has continued this practice. On 24 June 2009, Catalyst Game Labs announced that they had secured the rights to the "unseen"; as a result, art depicting the original 'Mechs absent from publications for over a decade, can be legally used again. An update on 11 Aug. 2009 has placed the unseen restriction on several designs once again. This update affects only the designs whose images originated from Macross. Designs whose images originated from other anime such as Dougram and Crusher Joe are unaffected by this change and are still no longer considered unseen. By August 2011, the remaining images that were considered to be unseen were returned to unseen status due to continuing problems with license agreements.
At its most basic, the game of BattleTech is played on a map sheet composed of hexagon-shaped terrain tiles. The combat units are 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) humanoid armored combat units called BattleMechs, powered by fusion reactors, armed with lasers, particle projection cannons, autocannons, and both short and long range missiles. Typically these are represented on the game board by two-inch-tall miniature figurines that the players can paint to their own specifications, although older publications such as the 1st edition included small scale plastic models originally created for the Macross TV series, and the 2nd edition boxed set included small cardboard pictures (front and back images) that were set in rubber bases to represent the units.
The game is played in turns, with each turn composed of multiple stages. During each stage players alternate back and forth playing the game. The stages are initiative, movement, attack declaration, attacks, physical attacks, and end phase. Winning initiative actually means the winning player moves second, advantageous because the player can react to the movements and attack declarations of the losing player.
Heat buildup is a major limiting factor of the game, and overheating a unit can have many negative affects such as penalties to weapon accuracy, slower movement, or even detonation of any ammunition carried by the Mech.
Heck just wish that someone would just buy the rights.. heck in this day and age toss enough money at some people and they will sell their own mother.. LOL... Maybe one day we call all just be one big gameing/old tv shows and we will once agian see all the mechs agian.
yes. the good old time ^^. i play this game since over twenty year´s. in all this year´s i collect 87 mech- models and a big arsenal of infantry/tank/vtol and aerospace-fighter- models from the original design. bt is a part of my life