Board games aren't just popular today; they have a far-reaching, vibrant history. Image Credit: Stock photo/Pexels

The perfect recipe for a night in with family or friends: good food, delicious dessert, a karak chai or cup of coffee, and a board game!

Click start to play today’s Crossword and guess the names of the most popular board games from around the world.

Not surprisingly, even thousands of years ago, people looked for ways to beat boredom with a fun game. The oldest playable board game, according to UK-based British Museum’s website, is the royal game of Ur, which originated around 4,600 years ago in Mesopotamia.

In 177 BC, a Babylonian astronomer inscribed the game’s rules on a cuneiform tablet, which is how historians today are able to recreate and play the game. The concept is, two players compete to race their pieces from one end of the board to the other, with the central squares also used for fortune telling.

Another early board game dates to around 3100 BC and was beloved by Egyptian queen Nefertari and the pharoah Tutankhamun. It was called senet and involved two players competing to place all their pieces at the end of the board using casting sticks or bones rather than dice. Even ancient art depicts senet – a papyrus dating to around 1250 BC was found in Egypt, portraying a lion playing senet with a gazelle.

An ancient game that dates back to around 1644 from the Qing dynasty in China, is still played today: mahjong. A strategy-based game, it uses tiles decorated with Chinese characters, bamboo branches, winds, dragons, flowers and seasons, and is similar in practice to the card game rummy.

Today, there are thousands of games out there, for people of all ages. Play today’s Crossword and see if you can name them all!

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