Enjoyed by the Ancient Romans, Tabula is the ancestor of the modern game backgammon. Both games involve 15 pieces, 2 opponents, 2 dice, moving the pieces separately per the numbers on the dice, sending opponents pieces that are landed on back to the start and safe spaces created when more than one piece occupies the same space. Some versions of the rules incorporate 3 dice.
When we studied Mesopotamia we played Royal Game of Ur which is believed to be an earlier ancestor to the game backgammon. The game Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum was played sometime after the Royal Game of Ur and before Tabula. The board game Sorry is a modern game that shares these common ancestors.
Playing these different games is not only fun, but lets us see the commonalities between the various games. The commonalities between games somewhat parallel the commonalities between people. Therefore, knowing the locations the games were played gives us a glimpse into how information traveled through various civilizations.
Here's a link to the rules.
To see our other Roman Unit Study activities please visit our History Page.
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