ἐπὶ Ἄτυος τοῦ Μάνεω βασιλέος σιτοδείην ἰσχυρὴν ἀνὰ τὴν Λυδίην πᾶσαν γενέσθαι, καὶ τοὺς Λυδοὺς τέως μὲν διάγειν λιπαρέοντας, μετὰ δὲ ὡς οὐ παύεσθαι, ἄκεα δίζησθαι, ἄλλον δὲ ἄλλο ἐπιμηχανᾶσθαι αὐτῶν. ἐξευρεθῆναι δὴ ὦν τότε καὶ τῶν κύβων καὶ τῶν ἀστραγάλων καὶ τῆς σφαίρης καὶ τῶν ἀλλέων πασέων παιγνιέων τὰ εἴδεα, πλὴν πεσσῶν τούτων γὰρ ὦν τὴν ἐξεύρεσιν οὐκ οἰκηιοῦνται Λυδοί.
ποιέειν δὲ ὧδε πρὸς τὸν λιμὸν ἐξευρόντας, τὴν μὲν ἑτέρην τῶν ἡμερέων παίζειν πᾶσαν, ἵνα δὴ μὴ ζητέοιεν σιτία, τὴν δὲ ἑτέρην σιτέεσθαι παυομένους τῶν παιγνιέων. τοιούτῳ τρόπῳ διάγειν ἐπ᾽ ἔτεα δυῶν δέοντα εἴκοσι.
Ηροδότου, Ιστορίαι, Βιβλίο Α:94:3-4
In the reign of Atys son of Manes there was great scarcity of food in all Lydia. For a while the Lydians bore this with what patience they could; presently, when the famine did not abate, they looked for remedies, and different plans were devised by different men. Then it was that they invented the games of dice and knuckle-bones and ball and all other forms of game except draughts, which the Lydians do not claim to have discovered.
Then, using their discovery to lighten the famine, every other day they would play for the whole day, so that they would not have to look for food, and the next day they quit their play and ate. This was their way of life for eighteen years.
Herodotus, Histories, Book 1, Chapter 94, Sections 3-4. English translation by A. D. Godley, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1920.