Top 5 Ancient Board Games - the Classic Classics

These games are the classic classics -- board games that have been played for centuries. They have elegant rules, deep strategy, tactical opportunities, and they all continue to delight modern-day gamers.

  • 01 of 05
    Two older lads from Osaka play a game of go, in a cafe in the Shin-sekai area.
    Two older lads from Osaka play a game of go, in a cafe in the Shin-sekai area. Oliver Strewe / Getty Images

    First played in China more than 3000 years ago, Go is so popular in Japan today that newspapers run columns about the game. Known as Wei Ch'i in China and Baduk in Korea, Go is truly the grand-daddy of all board games.

  • 02 of 05
    16th Chess-In-The-Park Rapid Open
    nternational Master Yury Lapshun plays a round of speed chess at the 16th Chess-In-The-Park Rapid Open at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park on September 17, 2016 in New York City. Steve Mack / Getty Images

    Chess can trace its roots to a game called Chaturanga which was played in India around 600 AD. Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) and Japanese Chess (Shogi) came into existence by 800 AD. Near the end of the 1400s, the bishop and queen were added to Western Chess.

  • 03 of 05
    Brazil - Cachoeira - Men playing drafts
    Brazilian Bahian men playing draughts checkers in the street in Cachoeira, Bahia. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

    Although it appears to be a much simpler game than Chess, Checkers offers plenty of strategic considerations for those who choose to look for them.

  • 04 of 05
    Maasai men playing mankala game
    Maasai men playing mankala. Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Getty Images

    The word "Mancala" means "to transfer" in Arabic. This game, which by some estimates is 7000 years old, challenges players to move pieces from bin to bin. Many rule variations exist, and Mancala is played in some form in almost every African country.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    China - Jin Shan Island - Playing Mahjong
    Two men play Mahjong on Jin Shan Island, China. Christopher Pillitz / Getty Images

    With roots dating back to 800 AD, Mah Jongg is the youngest game on this list. Originally a card game, Mah Jongg today is played with beautifully etched tiles. The modern version of Mah Jongg probably was first played sometime in the 1800s in China.