22 of the Most Popular Board Games in the US and the History Behind Them

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Checkers
> Players: 2
> Skill(s) needed: Tactics
> Goal: To jump over and remove the opponent’s pieces from the board

Checkers has ancient roots. The earliest version of the game was discovered in Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq, during an archeological dig. It was dated back to 3000 B.C. The game started being played on a chess board in 1100. Then it was considered a women’s social game. Today’s version of Checkers originated in 1756, when an English mathematician wrote the current rules. The first Checkers championship was held in 1847.

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Chess
> Players: 2
> Skill(s) needed: Strategy, tactics
> Goal: To checkmate (capture) the opponent’s king

Chess is an ancient game with several theories about its origin. Perhaps the most widely accepted version is that the game originated in India in the fifth or sixth century A.D. One of the earliest games connected to chess was called chaturanga, which is a type of battle formation. The rules of chess, as it’s played today, were created in the 16th century. Some players began adding in clocks as a further variable some three centuries later.

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Chutes and Ladders
> Players: 5 to 7
> Skill(s) needed: Counting, observation
> Goal: To reach the top square first

Though Chutes and Ladders in its current form has been around since 1943, the concept of the game is much older. Earliest versions date back to India in the second century B.C. Then, the game symbolized the story of life where you rise due to karma, represented by ladders, but are set back by kama, or desire, represented by snakes.

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Clue
> Players: 6
> Skill(s) needed: Deduction
> Goal: To figure out the details of the murder

Clue is a murder mystery game invented between 1943 and 1945 in the U.K. during of World War II. People spent much time indoors during air-raid blackouts, so pianist Anthony Pratt and his wife designed a game to help pass the time. Pratt based the game on murder mystery party games he was part of before the war.

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Connect Four
> Players: 2
> Skill(s) needed: Tactics
> Goal: To first form a line of four of one’s own discs

Connect Four has no definite history. The earlier version of the game is thought to originate with well-known explorer Captain Cook, who used to play a similar game of four-in-a-row for hours in his cabin. The name “Connect Four” was first coined by Milton Bradley Company, now Hasbro, in 1974.

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