On the first Saturday in June, gamers unite for International Tabletop Day, which lands on June 4 this year. We’re excited to go all-in for our favorite games! Tabletop games have been played for years and they’ve evolved over the centuries. Battleship, for example, started on paper, and in the original, it included land areas and water. As time went on, it entered the third dimension as a vertical toy, and then went on to become one of the first computer games.
History of International Tabletop Day
In 3100 B.C. the game of Senet became popular, especially with Egyptian royalty. The game board had thirty squares with symbols that were either good or bad fortune. They believed that depending on which symbols the players landed on would decide their fate outside of the game. If a player was successful it would mean that they were in the favor of their gods and it would be a determining factor in their journey through the afterlife.
The oldest tabletop game that has virtually remained the same was a game remarkably similar to backgammon. It was called Ludus duodecim scriptorum, “the game of twelve markings”, and it was played during the Roman Empire. Much like the modern version, the object is to bear off all of your checkers. The main difference was that there were three dice instead of two.
In 1903, One of America’s first board game designers, Lizzie Magie, created The Land Lord’s game where players traveled around a square game board and bought property. In 1935, she sold her patent to Parker Brothers and it has since been known as Monopoly. From then on, Parker Brothers has become synonymous with board games such as Sorry!, Risk, and Trivial Pursuit.
Fantasy tabletop gaming arose in the post-Lord of the Rings world as Dungeons & Dragons was first published in 1974 by TSR Inc. and tabletop gaming expanded into all different arenas. Games of strategy, adventure, board games, and games based on popular franchises flourished and refused to quit. In 2013, International Tabletop Day was created as a result of the web series “Tabletop” hosted by famous gamers, Will Wheaton and Felicia Day, to celebrate gamers and to play board games with thousands of gaming events held around the globe.
International Tabletop Day timeline
In the Middle East, games of chance are played where players roll dice made of bones, wood, stones, or turtle shells.
The original Backgammon is played in Ancient Rome.
Parker Brothers releases Monopoly and it sparks a wave of board games spanning many types.
Popularity for tabletop games increases so much that International Tabletop Day is created a year later to celebrate gamers and to hold gaming events.
International Tabletop Day FAQs
How do I get involved in International Tabletop Day?
Retailers and event hosts hold board game events around the globe that you can find on Tabletopday.com.
What is the most popular tabletop game of all time?
Chess is the best-selling game of all time.
Is there a way I can watch ITTD day of gaming?
Yes, there will be live streams on June 1 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm PDT on Twitch and Youtube.
International Tabletop Day Activities
Have tabletop meetups
Games are always more fun when they’re played with others. Many tabletop stores hold International Tabletop Day events around the globe where you can meet up with others to play your favorite games. Don’t worry if you’re not a hardcore gamer, there’s sure to be other casual gamers, and those with more experience can provide you with the best expertise.
Twitch it up
Meet up with your virtual friends in the virtual world on Twitch. Twitch is the world's leading platform that allows users to watch and chat with millions of fans and share in the love of tabletop gaming. Or, if you're bold enough, join the fray yourself and stream your own game. This will really help the day feel “international” as you’re able to connect to others from all around the world.
Try out a new game
There are so many options for board games and there’s nothing like venturing into the unknown. If you’ve never slain a dragon, try Dungeons & Dragons, or if you’re a fan of horror movies, give Betrayal on House at the Hill a go. There’s something for everyone and it’s a great way to bring your family and friends together in a battle of strategy and wit.
5 Surprising Facts About Games
Candy Land creator
A retired schoolteacher recovering from polio created Candy Land.
It’s a monopoly
Board games in 2012 had an annual growth rate of 40%.
Cranium was the first game to be sold at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.
Jenga is from the Swahili word which means "to build."
The never-ending game
The longest game of Monopoly lasted 70 straight days.
Why International Tabletop Day Is Important
Coming together for the sake of fun
There are so many gamers and tabletop games deserving of celebration. These games have endured for centuries and they bring people together in a real way. There’s a connectedness when people are face to face or they’re teaming up to solve a problem that you can’t dismiss. In times of such separation, it’s important to give respect to that which unites us.
Strategy and mental growth
Many tabletop games take skill and concentration to win. You’re forced to foresee someone else’s moves in order to make the best choice, which makes it a great analogy for life. While you’re playing, you’re also learning and doing so has been known to help with memory retention and analytical growth.
Imagination never dies
While the appeal of video games has seemingly taken over in the modern era, there’s something magical about the classic way. Perhaps it harkens back to ancient times when imagination ruled the day. When you play Dungeons & Dragons, it’s your mind that’s creating the images and the events as they unfold, bringing you into the story in a way that visual mediums can’t.
International Tabletop Day dates