The history of games goes back to ancient times.  Games are an integral part all cultures and one of the oldest forms human social interaction. Formalized expressions of play allow people to move beyond their immediate imagination and physical activity. Games have common features such as uncertainty about the outcome, agreement on rules, competition and separate place and/or time.
The ideas and worldviews of cultures are captured in games and passed on to the next generation. As social and cultural bonding activities, teaching tools, and markers of social status, games were vital. Some games were enjoyed by royalty and elite as pastimes and were often given as gifts. Many games, such as Senet or the Mesoamerican game of basketball, were imbued in mythic and ritual religious meanings. Games such as Gyan Chauper and The Mansion of Happiness were used for spiritual and ethical lessons, while Shatranj (Go) was used by the political-military elite to improve strategic thinking and mental skills.
Johan Huizinga, a Dutch cultural historian, argued that games were the primary condition for the development of human cultures in his 1938 book Homo Ludens. Huizinga believed that the play of games was older than culture because culture, no matter how poorly defined, always presupposes a human society. Animals have never waited for man's teaching to learn their game. Huizinga saw games a way to start complex human activities like language, law and war, philosophy, art, and war.
Pre-historic and ancient games tools that were most popular were made from bone, particularly the Talus bone. These bones have been discovered all over the world and are the ancestors both of knucklebones and dice games. These bones could also be used for divinatory and oracular functions. Shells, stones, and sticks could also have been used as implements.
Durkheim says that ancient civilizations did not distinguish between the sacred and profane. Games were created in a religious setting, and are a cornerstone for social bonding
Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean world. A series of 49 small carved and painted stones discovered at the Basur Hoyuk burial site in southeast Turkey (5,000 years old) could be the oldest known gaming pieces. Similar pieces were found in Syria and Iraq, which suggests that board games originated in the Fertile Crescent. The first board games were a pastime of the elite, and they were often given as diplomatic gifts. The Royal Game of Ur or Game of Twenty Squares, which was played with a group of pawns on an elaborately decorated board, dates back to 3000 BCE. It was a race game that used a set of Knucklebone dice. The game was also played in Egypt. Babylonian writings on clay tablets about the game show that it had astronomical meaning and could be used to predict one's future. Senet is one of the earliest examples ever found on a board game. It was discovered in Egypt in the Predynastic (circa 3500 BCE) and First Dynasty (circa 3100 BCE), and in hieroglyphs that date back to 3100 BCE.  The game involved moving draughtsmen across a board consisting of 30 squares, each with ten squares. Based on throwing bones or sticks, the players strategically moved their pieces. The objective was to get to the edge of the board before the others. Slowly, Senet evolved to reflect the religious beliefs and practices of the Egyptians. Each piece represented a human soul and was linked to the journey of the soul after death. Each square was associated with a specific religious meaning, with Re-Horakhty being the last square. [14 Senet could also have been used in a religious ritual context.
Another example of an ancient Egyptian board game is "Hounds and Jackals", also known under the 58 holes name. The Middle Kingdom was the main market for Hounds and Jackals, which first appeared in Egypt in 2000 BC. 16 The game spread to Mesopotamia during the third millennium BC. It was still popular in Mesopotamia until the first millennium BC. [15 There have been more than 68 Hounds and Jackals gameboards found in archaeological excavations across various countries, including Syria (Tell Ajlun), Ras el-Ain and Khafaje), Israel, Turkey (Tappeh Sialk), Turkey (Tappeh Sialk), Susa and Luristan), Azerbaijan, Gobustan, and Egypt (Buhen El-Lahun and Sedment). 15 This was a race game that could be played by two people. There were two sets of 29 holes on the gaming board. For playing, ten small pegs were used with either jackal heads or dog heads.  It is believed that the goal of the game was for all figures to be at the same point as the beginning. [19
Popular games in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire included dice games (Tesserae), ball games (Episkyros), Harpastum and Expulsim Ludere, a type of handball), and knucklebones and Bear games. Plato and Homer both mention board games called "petteia" (games played using pessoi), i.e. "Pieces" or "men". Plato says they all have Egyptian origins. "Petteia" is a generic term that refers to a variety of board games. Poleis (or city states) was one such game. It was a game that involved battles on a checkered board. [20
Romans used a derivative of 'petteia,' called latrunculin' (the soldiers' or bandits' game). Varro mentions it first (116-27 BCE), and Ovid and Martial also allude to it. The Romans spread this game throughout Europe. The boards have been discovered as far as Roman Britain. It was a wargame for two players. The custodian captures were made by capturing one of the enemy's pieces and moving around counters to represent soldiers.