The Magic of Puzzles and Board Games

Set it on the table, lay down the pieces and roll the dice. Board games are one of the most enchanting games in the world since time immemorial. Kingdoms and dynasties have participated in these games of mental strategy involving only a few specialized pieces and a flat picture board. People have in fact made careers out of playing chess. A man named Charles Darrow even became a millionaire when he invented the ever-fascinating game of Monopoly! Board games are great as family entertainment and as part of tournaments. They simulate the real world and also test your mental skill and strategy.

Here’s a list of various types of board games and puzzles.

Two-Player Abstract Games

These games may either be classic or modern. The most popular classic abstract games are the Chess and Checkers.

Chess is a direct descendant of an ancient Indian game called Chaturanga. There are 64 alternate squares and 8 ranks; both players possess a set of pawns, rooks, horses, bishops, a King and a Queen. The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s King so that there is no other way to escape and the game is over. The funny thing about chess is that though there are only 64 squares in the whole expanse of the board, the number of possible outcomes out of a particular game is greater than all the atoms in this universe combined!

Draughts, also known as Checkers (with many variations such as the Russian, Brazilian and Spanish pool checkers) is played by jumping one piece over another until the opponent’s pieces have been captured out. Players can only move diagonally on the dark squares. The object of the game is to capture as many pieces belonging to the opponents until there is no more pieces left to make a move.

The Amazons is like the Go game and looks a lot like Chess but is played in a wholly different way. The outcome of the game depends on which player has the last move. It is because the object of the game is to shoot as many arrows so that the opponent’s (Amazon) queen will not be able to move and the territory will either enlarge or be confined to a small space. The player with the biggest territory usually wins the game.

Havannah is another modern strategy game that is similar to TwixT and Hex (Connection Games). It is played on a hexagonal board with stones. The object of the game here is to be able to complete shapes of winning combinations in the form of a ring, a fork or a bridge.

The Three Musketeers is a fun game invented by Haar Hoolim. Players can only move the pieces orthogonally on empty spaces. The goal of this game is that in order for the opponent to win he must force the Three Musketeers to fall on the same straight row. For the Musketeers to win they must still be able to move when there is an empty space before them unoccupied by the opponent and they are still not standing on the same row altogether.

Backgammon is a famous game of chance that was thought to be the oldest game recorded in the history of the world (then known by the ancient Romans as Tabula). Today Backgammon is being played as a gambling game, sometimes even in casinos (Chouettes). The object of Backgammon is to be the first to get the checkers or “men” off the board. Players must roll the dice and move the fifteen checkers on the 24 points (the triangles) past their enemy’s checkers. Backgammon is a simple game that entails strategy.


If you like brain teasers then puzzles are the perfect games for you. Puzzles are made to test your logic and mathematical skills. They have been enjoyed by people thousands of years ago and hundreds of variations have been invented today. Some of the most popular ones are the Jigsaw and the Whodunit.

Many find jigsaw puzzles a great hobby and a material for collection. Behind every completion of a jigsaw puzzle is a picture. Each piece of the puzzle is peculiar in shape and must interlock another piece. Although the completed pictures in most jigsaw puzzles are scenes from nature and children’s fairy tales, some have even carved porn star images out of them!

Crosswords are puzzles that can be seen anywhere. Some connoisseurs have devised the most elaborate crosswords and have published books that contain the most possible answers to the world’s most difficult crossword clues. The object of a crossword puzzle is to fill in the empty squares with a designated clue number and the words may either be spelled Across or Down.

Whodunits were popularized by many British mystery writers such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Nicholas Blake but had their equivalent in the Unites States in the form of crime fiction and film noirs. A Whodunit is a mystery/detective story in which the author provides clues for the reader to figure out who the perpetrator of the crime is in the end. Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) is a popular Whodunit figure in literary history.

One of my favorites is the puzzle of the Rubik’s Cube. This is an utterly simple game but can be very deceitful. It may be prearranged as a block made of 26 sub-cubes of different colors that can be rotated on from a kernel (axis) inside of the cube. The goal is to keep on rotating the cubes until each facet which is comprised of nine sub-cubes is of the same color. Because of the fascination of many people on it the Rubik’s Cube is considered to be the biggest-selling puzzle toy in the world.

The benefits of playing puzzles and board games are countless. Whatever kind of game you wish to play, it’s a sure sign that you’re not only enjoying, but you’re honing your mental strategy and logical skills as well.

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