An incredibly well-preserved 5000-year-old board game has been discovered in Turkey.
But nobody knows the rules.
Some of the pieces depict dogs and pigs. Others are pyramids, are round or are shaped like bullets.
The cache of pieces also included dice and circular tokens painted black, blue, white, red and green.
They find was made at a 820- by 492-foot site named Başur Höyük, which is thought to be a bronze-age burial plot.
Discovery reports that the strategy and rules for the game is unknown - but there may be clues. Similar pieces have been found before in Syria and Iraq, and their make-up suggests the number four might be crucial in how the game was played. The tokens were also found with some badly preserved sticks and wooden pieces, indicating another possible direction for future research into the game.
"Our gaming pieces were found all together in the same cluster. It's a unique finding, a rather complete set of a chess like game. We are puzzling over its strategy," Sağlamtimur told Discovery.
Board games from ancient Mesopotamia have been discovered before. Previous finds, including that of a carved game board by British archaeologist Leonard Wooley, have been made at the ancient city of Ur, though none are thought to be as intricate or well-preserved.
Game of the Telegraph Boy (1888)
"Game of the Telegraph Boy was one of many games from the 1880s that depicted the American capitalist dream of Horatio Alger’s novels. In many of his novels, young men rise from rags-to-riches and are rewarded in the workplace based on merit, regardless of their humble backgrounds. The goal of this game is for each player to work one’s way up from low-level employee to company president." - Nicole Mullen <em>(McLoughlin Brothers, New York, New York / Collection of David Galt, New York, New York)</em>
The Game of the Sociable Snake (c. 1890)
"The Game of the Sociable Snake is another version of The Game of Goose, an early race game that was played in seventeenth-century Europe and may possibly be traced back to Ancient Egypt. It inspired many other games such as The Mansion of Happiness. Like The Game of Goose, The Game of the Sociable Snake has spaces marked for good behaviors that allow players to advance, while landing on spaces marked for bad behaviors cause players to move backwards." - Nicole Mullen <em>(McLoughlin Brothers, New York, New York / Collection of The Strong, Rochester, NY)</em>
Lost in the Woods (c. 1890)
"The New York-based McLoughlin Brothers was one of the largest American game manufacturers in the nineteenth century. During the 1880s and 1890s, game makers employed the newly introduced chromolithography printing process to produce vibrant board game packaging for games such as Lost in the Woods. "To attract young children, many nineteenth-century games were based on classic fairy tales, characters from popular children’s stories, and nursery rhymes. Most of these board games were simple race games and have little relation to the actual stories." - Nicole Mullen <em>(McLoughlin Brothers, New York, New York / Collection of David Galt, New York, New York)</em>
The Yale-Princeton Foot Ball Game (1895)
"Organized and spectator sports became common in the second half of the 1800s, when Americans had more time to pursue leisurely activities. With its origins in rugby, football began sweeping college campuses in the late 1800s. Despite the game’s growing popularity, many colleges and universities banned football from their campuses for several decades due to its rough play and high rate of injury." - Nicole Mullen (McLoughlin Brothers, New York, New York / Collection of David Galt, New York, New York)
The Game of the Spider and the Bee (1912)
"Although the game play has nothing to do with prizefighting, the game maker depicted an image of a spider and a bee boxing on the cover of this game due to the popularity of the ringside sport at the time of the game’s manufacture. In this game, the bees moving from the hives attempt to travel around the web without being caught by the spinning spider. The player whose bee first travels completely around the web and arrives back in his hive wins the game." - Nicole Mullen <em>(Chicago Game Co., Chicago, Illinois / Collection of David Galt, New York, New York)</em>
Pa-chee-zee: The Game of India (c. 1935)
"One of the most widely played games of all time, The Game of India, also known as Pachisi, is the forerunner of Parcheesi and the English game Ludo. Pachisi is the national game of India. England printed its own version of the game in the 1860s, and by the 1870s, it was also produced in the United States. Parcheesi was one of the highest selling games in America, until Parker Brothers released Monopoly in 1935. The Indian version of this game is cross-shaped and is played by four players acting as two teams, unlike Parcheesi, in which each participant plays independently." - Nicole Mullen <em>(All-Fair, Inc., Rochester, New York / Collection of The Strong, Rochester, New York)</em>
Ration Board Game (1943)
"This game promoted the rationing of goods during World War II. During the war, rations of common goods were available through the use of government issued cards and booklets, controlled by the ration board. The game board illustration depicts a road winding through the countryside and suburbs into a city where the ration boards are stationed. The first player who returns home with five ration cards for butter, gas, sugar, coffee and meat wins." - Nicole Mullen <em>(Jay-line Mfg. Co. Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Collection of David Galt, New York, New York)</em>
The Nancy Drew Mystery Game (1957)
"Mysteries have continuously enthralled a variety of audiences, from detective fiction to television and films. Mystery and detective games first began to appear in the late 1800s and enjoyed a golden era in the 1930s. The teen-sleuth Nancy Drew first appeared in a series of books during this decade. The object of this game is to be the first player to discover Nancy Drew’s whereabouts." - Nicole Mullen <em>(Parker Brothers, Salem, Massachusetts / Courtesy of Mickey McGowan, San Rafael, California)</em>
Candy Land (1968)
"While recuperating from polio, Eleanor Abbott invented the game Candy Land in 1945. She envisioned the game for polio-stricken children to play as they recovered. The game required no reading or mathematical skills so young children could easily play it. Players simply draw a color card or a sweet and advance to that square on the board." - Nicole Mullen <em>(Milton Bradley, Springfield, Massachusetts / Courtesy of Mickey McGowan, San Rafael, California)</em>