Competitive board games started as a pastime for the elite, spreading to Europe during Roman conquest, according to a new study published in Antiquity.
Board games likely originated in Egypt around 3500 B.C., spreading around the Mediterranean before reaching the Roman Empire. It was Rome that brought games, along with literacy and wine, to the rest of Europe.
"Many of the first board games appear to have been diplomatic gifts to signify status," study co-author Mark Hall told Discovery News. "We have early examples of quite splendid playing pieces belonging to elite, privileged people."
And other kids used to mock me for playing D&D. I always knew I was privileged.
BOARD GAMES ORIGINATED AS ELITE PASTIME [Discovery News]