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Games - Discover and Play 5 Famous Ancient Games

For the individual discovering the beauty of ancient games, Games - Discover and Play 5 Famous Ancient Games by Irving Finkel is a great gentle introduction into that world. It is originally a children’s activity book published by the British Museum. It takes a child (and the child at heart) through 5 different ancient race games: Duodecim Scripta, Royal Game of Ur, Ancient Egyptian Senet, Pachisi, & Snakes and Ladders. At just 36 pages, it is filled with interesting history and great pictures of ancient gaming artifacts.

What makes this book unique is the inclusion of colorful fold-out boards, punch-out pieces and rules for each game. So not only do you get a great historical introduction, but the opportunity to actually play the games! Pachisi

This is definitely a nice aspect since most of these games are a bit hard to come by and it is a great way to try out each game before investing in nicer sets. The boards and the rules are really the gems.


The punch-out pieces are not as compelling (Though to be fair, this is true for almost any print and play game). It would probably be better to use tokens or coins instead.

Punch out

Nonetheless, it’s still a book worth picking up. At the time of this writing, I picked up the book on Amazon for $1.99 plus shipping. The last time I looked, there were quite a few still available. For a few dollars, it’s a steal for an evening of history and fun wrapped up in a compact book.