Early 20th Century excavations of the Mesopotamian Royal Ceremony unearthed some intriguing artifacts, according to one article in the Clever Games blog. What later became known as the Royal Game of Ur is made up of all the gaming accouterment a gamer would instantly recognize today: a cute game board with colorful talismanic symbols, curious pyramidal dice, and an assortment of small tokens your cat would happily ingest in a heartbeat. The game is credited as being among several precursors to checkers, last-resort of bored family vacationers for, oh, going on five millennia now.
Illustrations of daily life regularly depict families sitting down to a board game, Ancient History Encyclopedia reports. It was likely one of many available evening distractions, alongside music and story-telling, but historians posit that the game also acted as a subtle metaphor for life, affording players a new and refreshing way to welcome the inevitability of their eventual demise... so it may also have been a bit like Monopoly.
From beer to bling to board games, once you get past the dragon worship and criminal poetry, the things Mesopotamians couldn't do without run strikingly parallel to the fixations that keep many of us sane today.