Although other members of the population would not suspect it, locals know that Birmingham is never shy of throwing up surprises, whether it is one of the city’s favourite sons or daughters achieving greatness or a historical factoid that just blows your mind.
This is a list of some of the world’s most famous games and where they were invented, including one particularly well-known board game whose origins are firmly rooted in Brum.
Which of these games have you mastered?
We didn’t want to keep you waiting too long to find out the game from Birmingham, so here it is. This guessing game was first patented by Anthony Ernest Pratt in 1944 and was originally known simply as murder. It was only when the inventor and musician sold the rights to games company Waddingtons that the game was given its notorious name.
The rights to the game have since been acquired by American firm Hasbro, but no one can ever take away the fact that this ever-popular board game was born and bred in Balsall Heath, with Pratt thinking up the game while doing monotonous work in a tank-building factory.
Some games are steeped in centuries of history and legend
Of course, it would be wrong of us to suggest that all popular games have always come to life on UK shores, with players of all shapes and sizes playing to their own rules in every corner of the world.
Tarneed is a game that UK players may recognize aspects of from popular card games Whist or Spades, but is very much rooted in the culture of the Persian Gulf and specifically Iran. The great thing about this game is that it requires players to work in pairs, bringing a particularly social aspect to the way it’s played, although the odd argument has been known to flare during a game.
Long before Dominoes was synonymous with overpriced pizza, the Chinese were becoming fanatical about the game of Dominoes, inventing everything from ivory carved boards and tiles as well as multiple variables of the original.
It was Italian missionaries who first imported the game to Europe, and it is contested as to whether Europeans adapted their own version of the game having seen that of the Chinese or whether they came up with the game of their own accord. It sounds unlikely to us. One thing that is for sure is that the Chinese original is one of the world’s oldest games, dating back to as early as 1120 AD.
It pains us to admit it, but the first incarnations of what is known today as Texas Hold’em poker were found in France. However, it was only when the French brought the game to New Orleans that it was revised from being called Poque to poker. The game was also influenced by another card game called Brag.
When New Orleans was sold by Napoleon to the US, so he could keep his head above water in Europe, the game spread right across North America, sowing the seeds for it being the game it has become today.
The McDaddy of board games. A game so complex that it’s impossible to master and yet accessible enough that it makes brain cogs whir on every continent on earth. Chess was first devised in India.
Since its inception in 600 AD, the game has been used to educate Persian royalty and military generals as well as keeping Tolstoy entertained when he wasn’t penning masterpieces.
Since the dawning of the internet age the game has adapted seamlessly, with online forums and tournaments still doing a roaring trade, and the likes of players such as Magnus Carlsen becoming crossover stars.
Taking things to the next level are a Dutch events company who even meld chess with boxing, to create a bizarre spectacle. Who knows how all these famous games will be further developed and adapted.