board games as time machines

Board Games as Time Machines

It’s fairly obvious that I’m very much into historic and vintage board games. My game collection and YouTube video series all attest to that. And you may also be aware that I’m an advocate of games in the classroom, for a number of reasons.

Recently, I was invited to contribute an article to the Wandering Educators website on the subject. (The link to the full article is near the end of this page.) In that article I spoke about games as “time machines” - a way to experience a bit of a bygone era or a foreign culture. I have been a participant in living history events for most of my life, from medieval recreation through the 1920s, lately focused on the latter half of the 19th century.

The best way to learn about a historical subject is to immerse yourself in the trappings of that culture. Wearing the clothes, experiencing period surroundings, using the tools and utensils of the period—and playing their games. Thus, in the hands of a skilled interpreter, games serve as a sort of time machine, and a window into different cultures.

Games have been a part of human society since the very roots of civilization. Playing an ancient or vintage game can be a connection to those distant cultures. From the 5,000-year-old Royal Game of Ur to a vintage game from the middle of the 20th century, the values and attitudes of a society are reflected in how they play. Many of these games are included in our Peg Pastimes series.

The Royal Game of Ur

You can read the complete article here: “TimeTravelGameTable”.

Back to blog