Scientists research rules of ancient board games

Humans are playing games for centuries. Even in 3100 BCE people were into board games. In that time Egyptians played a game called Senet. Until this day the rules for that game are not clear, but now researchers are trying to figure out how it works.


One of them, Cameron Browne, tells platform Vice how they do that: “The rules have never been recorded, so our knowledge is largely based on historian’s reconstructions.” Browne is working on the Digital Ludeme Project at the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands with computational techniques to discover the rules of the game. The system with which they are working is called Ludii, and those who are interested can follow the project. There is even an app that allow you to test out the reconstructions of acient games like the Viking chess Hnefatafl.

“With our system, we can put in the equipment, we can look for rules from the date [of the board’s creation], rules from the area, rules from the cultural context”, says Browne about the research. ” Then we can piece together likely rule sets that might have occurred.” Eventually the researchers want to put all the information about ancient board games in a database, so possible connections between board games over time cna be made.

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