For thousands of years, people have been planning attacks, captures, chases, and conquests–in short, they’ve been playing board games. Now, in The Oxford History of Board Games, David Parlett investigates the myriad board games that have developed through the ages and around the world.
Here are the origins and development of our favorite games, from the Egyptian and Asian ancestors of Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon, to the invention of such modern classics as Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble. Parlett groups the games in different families–such as those based on races or chases, wars or hunts, capture or blockade–and then provides a fascinating history of each family. Throughout the book, Parlett pays close–indeed, loving–attention to traditional games, the charming folk entertainments that have grown up through the centuries, and which exhibit endless local variations. Likewise, he devotes enthusiastic coverage to lesser-known and experimental games. Thus the book is no mere catalog of the familiar, but takes the reader into a world a games they have never known before. And not only does he describe the rules and strategies of the games, but Parlett also draws on 20 year’s experience as a professional games researcher, critic, and inventor, to offer many perceptive insights into the thinking involved in creating these games. And, finally, Parlett also illuminates the significance of game-playing as a central part of human experience–as vital to a culture as its music, dance, and literature.
Written with great affection and authority, and beautifully illustrated with period art and helpful diagrams that show the finer points of the games, this is a fascinating and accessible guide to a richly rewarding subject.