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Date: 12 July, 2007
Suzanne Elvidge searches out ten online board games for your entertainment
All games are free downloads or free to play.
To play a game, simply click on its name. If you are a parent, we advise you to try the game and the site it's on first before letting your kids play them, to make sure you're happy. (And, don't forget, you can also find great games for kids in our own Global Gang area)
Also known as chutes and ladders, snakes and ladders was invented in Victorian England. You climb the ladders and slide down the snakes, and see who gets to the end first. There’s even a version you can play as a one-player game, or one where you can learn about electrical safety.
The aim of Ludo (from the Latin for ‘I play’) is to get to the finish first! Download and extract the files, click on the file called ‘Ludo’ to start and you are away! F2 starts a new game, and you can play against people or the computer. Sorry!, from Hasbro, and Ludo, are based on the ancient Indian game pachisi.
Go is a strategic board game for two players, originally from ancient China. In turn, the two players put black and white stones on a 19 × 19 line grid, to capture opponent’s stones. Though Go is a very simple game to learn, its combinations and permutations make it very hard to create a computer program to play it with you. So you’ll have to play it online with real people, or make your own board.
Backgammon is a game of skill, with the aim of getting all your 15 pieces home and off the board before your opponent, travelling via ‘points’.
Originally developed in the 1880s, Reversi (sold as Othello by Mattel) is played with two-sided pieces. The aim is to turn as many pieces as possible to your colour, by trapping a straight line of the opposition’s pieces with your pieces. It’s a game of strategy that is easy to learn and hard to win, and I’m hopeless at it!
Chinese checkers is, oddly enough, neither Chinese nor checkers. Using a star-shaped board, the aim is to get all your marbles from one point of the star to the opposite point by hopping over your opponent’s marbles, and you can play the computer and people in this version. Chinese checkers is a game for two to six players, and is similar to the game halma, which is played on a square board.
Another ancient game, draughts has an aim of taking all the opposition’s pieces by jumping over them. I’ve beaten the computer once so far – hopefully you will do better.
This may look like another trading game that involves buying hotels and houses and roads, but it’s not quite the same… still fun though!
In marble or peg solitaire (sometimes incorrectly called Chinese checkers), the aim is to clear the marbles off the board by jumping one over another, horizontally or vertically, until you only have one (or as few as possible) left. There are a number of different layouts. I had the peg version of this when I was little – kept me quiet on summer holidays in the rain.
And for a huge list of board games, go to Wikipedia.