Games are a part of our everyday life. From board games to video games, humans love entertainment. Some people even train to become better gamers, just so they can see if they have what it takes. 

It’s been well documented that games are as old as the human race itself. For millennia, people around the world have found ways to entertain and educate themselves with play. In fact, the earliest recorded games stretch all the way back to Predynastic Egypt in 3100 BC. It just goes to show that across time, people will always love games. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the role the country has played in progressing dice, board and card games.  

Dice Games 

Hundreds of years before US lands were colonised, Native Americans were playing dice games as part of tribal celebrations and official ceremonies. 

One of the most common was a game that used fruit stones or small bones as dice – what the Cheyenne named monshimout. Different markings were carved into the objects that were then thrown into a bowl or basket. Wagers were placed before proceedings began and scores were tallied based on the combinations that were thrown.  

A similar game was played by other tribes across the land. The Arapaho in modern-day Colorado and Wyoming and the numerous New England tribes named their versions hubbub.  


Blackjack may have had a distinctly European heritage, but it was quickly adopted by Americans when it first hit our shores in the early 1800s. However, the blackjack we know now wasn’t the game that was played all those centuries ago.  

Today, the game is vast and features online variants as well as side bets like 21+3 blackjack, but when it was first introduced by European travelers, we still played blackjack using the old English rules – and even called it by a different name.  

Vingt-Un, as it was still known then, underwent a transformation after it gained popularity in the states during the Gold Rush. With American rules being established in 1899, it was time to give the game a suitable name. While legend has it that blackjack got its name due to a special bonus involving the ace of spades and a ‘black’ jack card, historian Thierry Depaulis assigns the origins of the name to prospectors in the Klondike period. 


Like blackjack, the game we know today as poker had its origins in Europe. Poque was in fact a French game that first appeared in the 1400s and was played with a 52-card deck. According to legend, its name became Americanized when French colonists brought it with them to the North American region.  

Once again, we have the Frontier of the Old West to thank for many of the developments that have made the game what it is today. Infamous saloon gamers like Poker Alice and Wild Bill Hickok ensured that poker remained the most popular game around. Wild Bill even went down in poker history – literally – thanks to his ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ of two black aces and two black eights. Then, of course, we can trace the introduction of the now globally popular Texas Hold’em variant to a small state town called Robstown.  

Even during modern times, America has played a significant role in transforming poker from a niche pastime to mainstream entertainment. The legendary World Series of Poker championships have taken place in Las Vegas since the 1970s and 2003’s ‘online poker boom’ had its origins at this very event.  

Board Games 


According to archaeologists, board games are as old as the written word – some have even been discovered that date all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Although their rules may have been lost to the annals of time, they nevertheless remain a testament to the importance of play in the development of civilizations.  

It was the invention of the printing press, however, that had the biggest impact on board game creation. In the 17th century, British bookbinders began to branch out into card games and board games and, by the early 1800s, America had followed suit. The earliest known board game released in America was 1822’s The Traveler’s Tour. US-based manufacturers even made their mark on more exotic games, basing games like Trouble and Sorry! on the 16tj century Indian game Parchisi.  

As industry and entrepreneurialism swept the New World, games like Monopoly and The Checkered Game of Life became household staples. Over time, some of the world’s most popular games were first created in America. We can lay claim to designing the likes of Mouse Trap, Connect Four, Trivial Pursuit and even Dungeons & Dragons.