The Origins of the Most Popular Board Games

The definition of what counts as fun has always changed and fluctuated over the centuries. If collecting ferns was the hobby of choice in one century, binge-watching cat videos is the preferred choice a century later. However, irrespective of cultural trends gripping the globe, there’s one form of entertainment that has persisted for centuries.

Board games originated in ancient Egypt, but they are just as popular in this digital age. In fact, there has been something of a resurgence for board games recently, and if you’ve wondered how some of the most popular board games today came into being you came to the right place. We’re going to be sharing some insightful and fascinating origin stories about how some of the most iconic board games came into being and why they were loved so much universally.

1.    Monopoly

Most modern players view ‘Monopoly’ as the glorification of cutthroat capitalism. After its origins, it was banned in the Soviet Union and communist China while Fidel Castro wasn’t a big fan of it either. However, that wasn’t the intention of its creator Elizabeth Magie who was a vocal supporter of the single tax movement in the late 19th century.

Monopoly came into existence in 1902 and was known as The Landlords Game, with players in the game having to focus on snatching up as much land as possible and when the available properties on the board grew scarce it led to the rent rising higher, and fortunes of the landlords would multiply, while other players would spiral towards bankruptcy. The winner would be the remaining land baron who owned everything in play.

The game managed to attract a small base of fans after its release, but people started revising and improving upon the game with their own versions. One of the newer versions was called Monopoly, which came into being in 1934, and Magie sold the Parker Brothers her patent for $500 on the condition that a copy of her original Landlord’s Game would be released as well.

2.    Life

There’s no modern-day board game simpler than Life, but when the game was released in 1860 by Milton Bradley it revolutionized the medium. Bradley had grown up believing games were a sinful distraction, but he reconciled with his cultural belief at 23 when he designed a board game. It was known as the Checkered Game of Life, where participants would lose and collect points by progressing through different stages of life represented on the white squares.

Some squares were positive, while the vice spaces weren’t desired, and to move across the board, players would spin a numbered ‘teetotum’ as dice, and the first player to reach 100 points was rewarded with the gift of ‘Happy Old Age’. Because of the heavy-handed message of the game, Bradley was concerned that audiences would reject the game in New England, so he took it to New York City, which proved to be the right decision.

He managed to sell out all the copies he brought with him and The Checkered Game of Life would sell more than 40,000 copies in its first year.

4 Tips for Improving Your Defense Strategy in Chess

Being on the defensive side during a game is the most difficult task that a chess player must complete successfully. Everyone likes chess for a reason, some players love to attack, while others prefer having a proper strategy, but it’s safe that defending doesn’t rank highly on the list of reasons why you love chess. However, it’s an important skill that must be developed, because finding strong defensive moves is as important as mastering the tactical or strategic motifs.

The good news is that defense is something that can be easily improved with training, like other aspects of the game. Seeing many games and solving properly selected exercises will help develop your ability to find the most uncomfortable and resilient defensive ideas and give you a greater sense for danger. If you feel like your defensive strategy is weak, it’s something that you must work to improve because without a proper defense you’ll find it hard to beat your opponents at chess. So, here are some practical tips you can use in games to improve your defense and make life difficult for your opponent.

1.    Be Practical

Being practical means finding moves that puts your opponent in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes the best defensive move isn’t the most practical one, but you need to set traps and try to get your opponent playing defensively.Get them concerned about their game, so that they think getting defensive instead of attacking your pieces.

2.    Look for Active Moves

The waiting strategy is an important one, but it doesn’t work most of the time, and you know that attack is the best form of defense. However, in certain situations it can complicate matters to the point where the position can turn into your favor. So, if you see a powerful attack coming your way, try to find a way to strike back at your opponent to mess up their strategy.

3.    Keep Your Cool

It’s easy to get flustered when you’re under attack and your opponent has you under siege. Many players can’t handle extreme pressure, when their backs are pressed against the wall and they end up making silly mistakes that corners them. It’s important to remain calm and keep your objectively, even if you’re losing badly, because you can still win if you keep your cool.

Assess your position and calculate where you’re going wrong, and it’s at this time that you need to turn on your defensive mode, so you can buy yourself some time. Most times the position on the board will be a difficult one but panicking and making unnecessary defensive moves will make the situation worse and put you further in trouble.

4.    Be Calculating

When you’re facing off against a strong opponent, you must calculate until the end and ensure that your opponent hasn’t missed anything or bluffed. Anything can happen in a game of chess and everybody can make a mistake, but it’s important that you identify them and work to turn it into your advantage.

4 Ways to Deal with Lack of Motivation in Chess

It may seem straightforward and easy to some people, but a chess career comes with its own unique set of challenges that all players must overcome. One of the main problems that occurs to players is a lack of motivation once they reach a certain level and nothing magical happens after that. What happens is that after a chess player achieves their expectations and performs well, they tend to ask themselves the all-important question, “Now What?” Should it become easier for them to win games now that they have developed their chess game and seen their ratings rise?

When players start thinking like that, it’s when the rot sets in and the inevitable downfall begins, and you must recompose from the beginning again. Most chess players have been through this problem, and even Grandmasters find it difficult to keep motivating themselves. Chess is difficult, and if you’re not passionate about the game, you’ll experience moments of doubts about the amount of time you’re spending in the game. It’s something normal that happens to all chess players, but it’s important that you overcome that stage and not let it affect your training routine or your game.

So, if you find yourself in the same boat and are lacking motivation to further develop your chess game, here are 4 ways you can overcome that problem.

1.    Split Your Goals into Small Pieces

There are several things you must do in developing your chess game and that will involve studying tactics, positioning chess, and openings. There is no shortage of things to work on when developing your game, but it can easily get overwhelming. All that starts taking a toll on you, making you feel as if there’s too much work to do, and that this pattern will repeat itself every day.

You need to start compartmentalizing different aspects of your training so that it doesn’t overwhelm, because once you start focusing on individual aspects, you’ll be motivated to get it done.

2.    Surround Yourself with Positivity

One of the best things you could do to maintain your motivation in chess is to ensure that you don’t lose the energy, positivity and fun around the game. The environment plays a major role in developing the skills of a chess player, so avoid negativity and surrounding yourself with positive people.

3.    Don’t be Ultra-Critical of Yourself

You need to let things slide and not be too harsh on yourself if you end up making silly mistakes or not living up to the high standards you’ve set for yourself. Passion and training are close, but there are a lot of great chess players who never managed to become a Grandmaster. There are no inferior players in chess, so enjoy the learning process and don’t set deadlines for your goals.

4.    Remember Your Frustrations

Every chess player has become frustrated at some point during a chess game and cursed themselves under their breath about how they should have studied this line, analyzed their game or read that book, It’s important that you remember those moments, and harness that to work on what you know you’re going to need to develop your chess game further.

Reasons to Download a Chess App on Your Smartphone

Having been invented more than 1500 years ago, we can safely assert that chess has been around for a very long time. The smartphone is a recent technology whose introduction goes back about only 20 years. When you combine the two, you get an ingenious combination— a chess set that you can carry in your pocket. It’s amazing that something like that is even possible today. If you’re a chess enthusiast and love playing chess on the go, the best option for you would be to download a chess app on your phone.

Here are some of the main reasons why it would be a good idea to download a chess app on your smartphone:

1.    Play Against the Engine

Some players may find playing against a 2600 rated chess engine stressful, and the results are also pre-determined. However, most chess apps allow you to adjust the difficulty level so that even amateur chess players and beginners can play.

A lot of chess players complain that they don’t have the time to play chess due to busy schedules. However, having a chess app on your smartphone lets you enjoy chess anytime and anywhere. It will also help iron out your flaws and perfect your chess strategy with practice.

2.    Solve Tactics

Another reason to download a chess app on your smartphone is that so you have time to build new tactics and strategies for your chess game. Rather than spending time playing Candy Crush or Angry Birds, you can invest time in chess and turn your boring 10-15 minutes into a chess training session.

It may not seem like much, but if you play chess regularly for 15 minutes on your smartphone 10 days in a row; that’s around 2-and-a-half hours of practice for perfecting your tactics.

3.    Play with Your Friends on the Go

You don’t need to be in the same room or even in the same city to play chess with your friends with a chess app, thanks to the internet. That’s something that chess apps allow as all you need is a solid internet connection. You can even connect a game though Bluetooth. This means you can create your own chess tournaments and play with your friends without even having to meet in person.

Top Gift Ideas for Chess Players

Shopping for gifts can be stressful especially if you’re a perfectionist and can’t ever seem to get your hands on the perfect gift for your friends. Getting a gift for a chess player can be difficult as well since you’re never sure about what gift would be the ideal choice for them. Do you get them classic chess pieces set or a chess book? Those would be pretty basics gifts for them, and one they probably already have if they’ve been playing chess for some time.

If you want to get them something unique, stylish, and clever, you’ve come to the right place, as we’re going to be sharing the top gift ideas for chess players.

1.    Chess Watch

The first gift idea on our list is a chess watch, and the Premium Citizen 2030 Quartz watch is the one that you should choose. It has been designed for chess players and is going to provide you with insight on how to solve tactics whenever you check the time.

2.    Ice Chess Maker

You can get the silicone ice chess maker for a unique chess match, where the pieces will be really nice. The goal of the game is to play fast, as the ice chess pieces are going to be melting and the player whose pieces melts first is going to be the loser. You can make the game interesting by using liquids of different colors to have an invigorating and fast-paced chess match.

3.    Pawn and Roof Cufflinks

Another great gift idea for a chess aficionado is to gift them pawn and roof cufflinks that are going to delight anyone who wears them. It is going to act as a great piece of art for every chess lover as well.

4.    Chess Knight Jigsaw Puzzle

Learn to reassemble the wooden pieces if you’re a puzzle collector or chess aficionado and take part in wooden brainteaser challenges. Every elegant puzzle is going to be finely crafted and is going to be a work of art created from Chinese rosewood. You can choose different chess pieces and create the entire set of chess pieces jigsaw puzzles.

5.    Wooden Chess Memory Stick

You can gift this chess piece USB flash drive to a chess player and give them a great solution for storing their chess games, tactics trainers, chess eBooks, etc. It is made from real wood and has snap-in magnets at the base, which makes it an extremely original gift that any chess player is going to appreciate. The best part is that they come in different sizes as well.

4 Tips for Dominating Chess Tournaments

A lot of chess players a serious amount of time practicing and perfecting their chess game, but when it comes to crunch time in tournaments they lose all their focus and ability. It’s not only frustrating but downright demoralizing for any chess player who has spent hours honing their skills and perfecting their strategy only to struggle in tournament mode. How is it then that after spending so much time studying, you still perform so poorly in chess tournaments?

It’s a conundrum but one that isn’t rare, and since chess is an incredibly complex game with victory defined by various factors, you’ll need to develop a mature mindset to attain success in tournaments. One of the most important parts of winning a game of chess is your psychology in the chess battle, and not being in right mind frame is one of the main reasons why most players struggle to replicate their training and success in tournaments.

The best competitors can solve difficult problems and don’t get distressed when cornered, but that’s easier said than done in the heat of the competition. To help struggling chess players, we’re going to share some of the best tips for dominating your opponents in chess tournaments.

1.    Play the Opponent

You need to be flexible in your approach towards the game and in your thinking to win at chess. The key is to study your opponent thoroughly and adapt to their strategy by exploiting their weaknesses. That may mean not playing your favorite opening but reacting to the moves of the challenger.

2.    Confidence

You won’t win many games of chess if you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to beat your opponent. Confidence plays a big role in winning tournaments, and you must trust your instincts and challenge yourself to beat better and more experienced players.

3.    Don’t Be Predictable

If you keep on using the same opening strategy in every round, the good players are going to pick up on it and will exploit holes in your opening. The best chess players tend to use the same opening in every round, but they are also prepared to switch it up when necessary.

4.    Recompose Yourself after a Tough Loss

The most important thing after you lose a close match or to an inferior opponent is not to lose your composure. Take the loss on the chin and learn from it, instead of adopting a negative mindset and being afraid of another loss. Start afresh because what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. !

Tips on How to Design a Board Game

Tired of playing the same old games every game night? You can spice things up by designing your own board game and to impress everyone. The best part about designing your own board game is that you have complete control over what type of game it’s going to be since you’ll be making all the rules, the goals, and the basics of the game. After that’s done, you can create a mock-up prototype for testing your design, which will allow you to identify the kinks and iron them out from the game.

Once all of that is finished, you can go about creating your polished finished product and you can surprise your friends with a brand-new game on game night. So, here is how you should go about designing your own board game.

1.      Create a List of Ideas

The first step in board game design is coming up with a unique idea for your board game. You have complete control over the creative aspects of the game, meaning that you can combine different ideas to create a new game concept. Create a list of ideas for your board game by writing them down when you’re playing different games since you never know when inspiration may hit you.

2.      Develop a Theme

One of the most crucial aspects of any board game is its theme, as the entire game will be based on this theme. You’ll need to come up with a unique theme that will help make your board game standout. You can either go with a simple board theme or a complex one that has player politics, conflicts, and strategy in placement for game pieces.

3.      Use Mechanics to Develop the Game

The game mechanics will determine how players are going to interact with one another and the game. For instance, the mechanics in Monopoly are based on making money, dice-rolling, and selling/buying property. You need to come up with similar mechanics to allow players to get involved in the game.

4.      Decide the Rules of the Game

Now that you’ve developed the mechanics of the game, you must come up with the rules of the game. This will include how many players will be playing the game at a time, how they will manage to win the game, and the different ways to win the game. Your basic rules may change over time as you develop the game further, as you start testing the game mechanics.

5.      Create a Prototype

You’ll need to create a prototype for the game before you finish work on it so that you can test the game first by playing it. Since it will only be a test model, you don’t need to worry about how it looks because the goal here is to test how it plays. Your prototype will allow you to properly envision how the game will play when multiple players are playing it. So, there you have it, all the essentials that you need to know about when it comes to designing a board game that you can play and enjoy with your friends and family on game night.

Fun Board Games that Make You Smarter and Exercise Your Brain

It won’t be wrong to say that board games took a backseat with the emergence of console and computer gaming. You would hardly see anyone taking out a board game to relax and unwind with some friends. However, in recent years, board games have been making a comeback of sorts and there’s now a demand for interactive and fun board games that challenge you.

If you’ve been searching for fun board games that make you smarter and exercise your brain, here are some of our top picks.

1.    Risk

This game is designed for 2 to 5 players with an approximate playing time of between 120 to 180 minutes. Players must take turns to use their army units for attacking other players with the goal of fortifying their territories and taking over others. Players will need to make alliances or dissolve them to strategize and improve their chances of occupying territories to win the game.

This fun game gives your brain a good workout since it’s all about strategy. With Risk, it’s difficult to predict the winner until the very end of the game. It’s great for building your decision-making and logical thinking skills since every action you take has a consequence.

2.    Ticket to Ride

This game is designed for 2 to 5 players and has an approximate playing time between 30 to 60 minutes. Plays must collect train car cards in the game to take over railway routes all over the map. The more routes you have, the more points you’ll earn. There are different editions of the game with maps of different countries and continents.

It has simple game rules allowing you to play with it your friends or family. It’s an exciting game where you must use your sharp wits and strategy to take over routes on the map.

3.    Pandemic

This game is designed for 2 to 4 players and has an approximate playing time of about 60 minutes. It’s different from other board games because here you must be cooperative instead of competitive with other players. Every player will need to play the role of an operations expert, researcher, scientist, medic, and dispatcher with the goal being finding cures before the world ends from an outbreak of 4 deadly diseases.

This is a difficult game where players need to use their strategic and problem-solving skills to find out the cures successfully. It is intellectually challenging and teaches you about cooperation and teamwork, as you need to work together to win the game.

How to Select the Right Chess Pieces for Your Chess Board

Chessmen or chess pieces come in all materials, sizes, shapes, and designs you can think of and that makes it difficult to select the right chess piece for your chess set. There are chess pieces designed for competitive and serious play, and then there are chess pieces that are ornate and decorative. The most popular chess pieces are the traditional Staunton wooden chess pieces, while the clubs and schools prefer using plastic pieces since they want pieces that are durable and can withstand frequent use.

If you’re looking for luxurious chess pieces, the best option are the luxury metal pieces from Italy, which are rich looking and elegant. They are commonly used for décor in homes, but you can also use them to play serious chess games. There are also chess sets available in different themes, which allow you to own a unique chess set that is unique. Since chess pieces vary a lot in terms of function, feel, size, and appearance, most players end up owning several types of chess sets.

Things to Keep in Mind

When buying chess pieces for your chess board, it’s important that you keep some vital things in mind, so you can make the right choice. That includes knowing that when you’re starting as a chess player, your best option would be to select inexpensive plastic pieces. However, if you want visually appealing and long-lasting chess pieces, you should opt for wooden pieces.

There are also chess pieces in alabaster, stone, or marble, which look stunning when they are placed on display and are ideal for a slow game. If you want your chess game to be imaginative, you can select theme chess pieces which will make for a colorful and fun game.

Getting Pieces of the Right Size

The most important rule you must remember when buying chess pieces is to only purchase chess pieces that match the board you’re going to be playing on. How do you match a chess piece to the board? You must check to see whether the chess piece covers more than 75% of the square on the board. This will allow you to gauge the right size of the chess piece. In most instances, you won’t need to check because the base diameter will be mentioned on the cover of the chess board.

Selecting Chess Pieces for Your Needs

When it comes to selecting chess pieces, you should think about your needs when making the choice. This means that if you’re a beginner, you should focus on buying club and tournament chess pieces. These pieces are ideal for schools and chess clubs where children are instructed in a group about playing the beautiful game of chess.

If you want handcrafted and exquisite chess pieces, the best choice is going with the wooden pieces for your chess board. Finally, plastic chess pieces are the best option for competitive and casual chess play and they come with more details and weigh heavily as well, which is something that most chess players prefer.

5 Fun Board Games You Can DIY and Play with Your Family

Have you grown tired of playing the same board games with your family? They can get a bit monotonous, which is why you end up losing interest in them and stop playing board games entirely. But did you know that you can also make your own board games? Yes, there you can be creative and build your own clever DIY games by taking stuff lying around the house.

You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on creating these games since you can make them from items that are lying around your house. All you need is a template and you’re all set to create a board game that everyone is going to love playing. So, here are some of the 5 fun board games you can make using DIY methods and play with your family:

1.    Checkers

You’ll struggle to find a more classic board game than checkers, and you can easily create this masterful game by making your own pieces and board. You’ll need to use paint, fabric, and lids of milk jugs as the core ingredients, and then make a grid and color all alternating boxes. You should then use permanent markers to decorate the milk jugs, and you’re all set to play your own game of checkers.

2.    Family Memories Game

It can be difficult to come up with a personalized and inexpensive gift for your family, but one way to do that is by crafting a family memories game. All you’ll need is an old board game covered in cardstock and then you draw a path on it, and then decorate the board with photos of your family. You should then create a deck of questions with the cardstock. Be creative with the questions and ask anything from personal jokes, anniversaries, and birthdays.

3.    Tic Tac Toe

One of the best ways to get your kids involved in games and keep them occupied for a length of time is with DIY Tic Tac Toe. You should visit the craft store to purchase an inexpensive chalkboard and find at least 8 smooth rocks. The theme of the game can be anything you want, and you can paint the rocks in any color that you want.

4.    Guess Who

Another great DIY game that you can play with your family is Guess Who, which is sure to have everyone in your family involved and having fun. All you’ll need to do is collect 25 photos of your closest friends and your family and print 3 copies of them. You should then cut them up into little squares and use glue to attach them to the plywood squares. You can then create hinges by drilling little holes into the base, which will be attached to the block on the board for every person.

5.    Create Your Own Game

If you really want to stand out and play something unique then get your family involved in creating your own unique board game. You can take clues and ideas from other board games and get creative in designing all the pieces and rules of the game.