Daily Archives: February 6, 2020

Gaming | Definition of Gaming by Merriam-Webster

Posted: February 6, 2020 at 5:49 pm

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1 : the practice of gambling

2a : the playing of games that simulate actual conditions (as of business or war) especially for training or testing purposes

b : the playing of video games

He does a lot of gaming online.

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gaming.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Cite this Entry

Gaming. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gaming. Accessed 6 Feb. 2020.

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gaming | g-mi

: the practice of gambling

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Gaming: The latest Thai addiction – The ASEAN Post

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We Are Social Inc in partnership with social media solutions provider Hootsuite, recently released its Digital 2020 Report which looks at digital, mobile and social media trends around the world. The reports findings revealed that Thais spent an average of 1.43 hours a day using games consoles. This average time spent statistic made Thailand the number one country in the world for this category.

In some ways, this could be looked at in a positive light. E-sports is growing at an exceptional rate and is today seen as a serious sport, with many e-sports events being organised on the international stage the most recent being the December 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Manila, Philippines.

Six different games were contested in e-sports. Thailand brought home two gold and two silver medals.

In 2018, Newzoo, a market intelligence firm covering global games and e-sports, predicted that by 2021, the annual growth rate of e-sports viewership will be approximately 14 percent. It also predicted that the number of casual viewers will grow to 307 million, and that there will be 250 million e-sports enthusiasts, making the total audience 557 million.

But while gaming has become increasingly lucrative and has presented viable career options today, there is still a dark side that is often overlooked by those pushing for the adoption and promotion of e-sports.

Gaming addiction

From September to October last year, the Radio and Media Association for Children and Youth (RMACY) studied 3,056 Thais aged between 15 and 18 and found that a number of young people spent considerable time playing online games.

During weekends and holidays, 32.6 percent of respondents spent three to five hours a day playing online games. Adolescents in Bangkok played the longest more than eight hours a day on weekends.

Whats more, thanks to the popularity of mobile games, Thais are now able to play games anywhere, anytime. Around 70 percent of respondents played games at home or in dormitories while almost 18 percent played games at school, in bathrooms and bedrooms.

Tipawan Buranasin, a psychiatrist at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Rajanagarindra Institute a government organisation supported by Thailands Department of Mental Health under Thailands Ministry of Public Health was recently quoted by local media as having explained how game addictionsaffect the lives of teenagers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognised gaming disorder or gaming addiction as a disease. Young people who are addicted to games have other mental conditions such as anxiety, impulsivity and attention deficit disorder. Addicted gamers who spend time on screens and don't have proper meals have lower than average weight and height. These gamers are short and not intelligent. I met young addicted gamers who spent lots of money to top up games. A recent case spent 100,000 baht (US$3,231) for a game," Tipawan was quoted as saying.

Cyberbullyinghas also been found to be a serious issue when it comes to online gaming.

In a separate study, the Internet Foundation for the Development of Thailand found that one-third of child gamers experienced some form of cyberbullying, while another third of the victims bullied others. The study also revealed that around 40 percent of cyberbullying victims remained silent and that more victims tend to be girls from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community than boys.

Finding a solution

Yongyud Wongpiromsarn from Thailands Department of Mental Health blamed the official recognition of e-sports for the 100 percent rise in the number of children addicted to online gaming in 2018. Thailands Institute of Child and Adolescent Mental Health also warned in September 2018 that as many as 60 children sought treatment for game addiction in a matter of months.

Regardless of where the blame should fall, finding a solution to the issue is where the focus should be.

According to an article from the New York Times, South Korea has taken measures to combat gaming addiction among its youth. Measures include blocking children from accessing online gaming portals late at night, and providing funding for clinics offering gaming addiction treatment.

Srida Tanthaatipanich, a researcher at Thailand Science Research and Innovation has been quoted as saying that this is unlike the case in Thailand.

"South Korea is a leading country in the gaming industry, but they don't allow minors to attend e-sport competitions. Unlike Thailand, they aim to make money from programme development not e-sport competitions. They have regulations that prevent children from becoming addicted to games. If gamers are younger than 16, they must receive permission from parents to play. These young gamers can't access online games from midnight to 6am every day," Srida was quoted as saying.

While embracing e-sports in an increasingly technologically advanced world is important, Thailand must ensure that its children do not become victims. Perhaps, looking at some of the policies South Korea has implemented would do the gaming-crazed Southeast Asian country some good.

Related articles:

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Suicide in Thailand: Children at risk too

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Penn National Gaming Reports Fourth Quarter Revenues of $1.34 Billion, Net Loss of $92.9 Million, Adjusted EBITDA of $304.0 Million, and Adjusted…

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Penn National Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN) (Penn National or the Company) today reported financial results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2019 and initiated 2020 full year guidance.

2019 Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights:

Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: This past year has been transformational for Penn National, our team members and our shareholders and we are proud of what our team has accomplished in 2019. We completed the integration of Pinnacle Entertainment, which added 12 new gaming properties and three new states to our portfolio and over 10,000 new team members to the Penn National family. We accomplished this while achieving record Adjusted EBITDAR, increasing margins, reducing debt, and just as importantly, coming together as one team under one company culture. We were honored to be named the casino industrys Employer of Choice by Bristol Associates and Spectrum Gaming Group in its most recent survey, ranking ahead of 30 other prominent gaming companies. This demonstrates our ongoing dedication to fostering a service-focused culture that attracts and retains top talent. This is critical to our ability to provide unparalleled gaming entertainment experiences for our guests, which is highlighted in our fourth quarter results.

Our quarterly Adjusted EBITDAR of $399.4 million exceeded our guidance of $394.5 million, which demonstrates the size and strength of our regional gaming footprint and our focus on execution. Despite new competition in the Northeast, all our segments generated year over year Adjusted EBITDAR growth and margin expansion. We are also starting to see the positive impact of Penn Interactive on the Other segment. Having fully integrated our loyalty program, my choice, this past year, we are happy to report that we had the highest market share and best margins ever at our properties in Kansas City and St. Louis. This speaks to the power of operating a unified player loyalty program. In addition, our sports betting business has helped drive outsized table games volume and increased food and beverage business revenues. We are very excited about our growth prospects and the recent developments that set us up well for 2020 and beyond.

Sports Betting / Barstool Sports and iCasino

Mr. Snowden continued: As previously announced, we entered into an agreement to acquire an approximately 36% equity interest in Barstool Sports, Inc. (Barstool Sports), becoming its exclusive gaming partner for a period of up to 40 years. This investment creates a unique opportunity, allowing us to execute on our strategy to evolve from the nations largest regional gaming operator to a best-in-class omni-channel provider of retail and online gaming and sports betting entertainment. Barstool Sports is an ideal partner as it will allow us to attract a younger demographic that is complementary to our existing customer base. Barstool Sports 66 million monthly unique visitors, its significant reach and the loyalty of its audience will lead to meaningful reductions in customer acquisition and promotional costs. In connection with our partnership, we have the sole right to utilize the Barstool Sports brand for all the Companys online and retail sports betting and iCasino products. We took a long-term perspective with our investment, retaining 100% of the economics from the retail and online sportsbook, as well as casino and non-gaming revenues. We see meaningful cross-selling opportunities and would expect recently enacted sports betting legislation in states such as Colorado and Michigan to positively impact our brick and mortar business. We anticipate being live with sports betting in these markets as soon as we receive all necessary regulatory approvals. In addition, apart from Nevada, which will be converted by February 2021, we expect our in-house team at Penn Interactive to manage all of Penn Nationals retail sportsbooks by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Our team of over 50 talented product developers and engineers are creating a best-in-class sports betting app that will introduce our 20 million my choice customers and Barstool Sports 66 million monthly unique visitors to the Barstool Sportsbook brand, expected to be launched in the third quarter of 2020.

In regard to our Pennsylvania iCasino app, we have leveraged our land-based database to drive volume to our iCasino platform, Mr. Snowden commented. We are pleased with this strategy, which is geared towards increasing handle and minimizing customer acquisition costs. Executing with a focus on operational excellence, we were able to turn a small profit in the fourth quarter despite an onerous 54% tax rate on slot revenues. To date, a significant percentage of online play has been from existing my choice guests, and more importantly, this business has been incremental to the brick and mortar business. In addition, iCasino has allowed us to reengage with a large portion of inactive my choice members.

Finally, on the sports betting front, we compared the performance of our properties where we launched new sportsbooks in 2019 to their performance in 2018, Mr. Snowden continued. The analysis showed that existing guests, who started engaging in sports betting, visited our properties more frequently and contributed to meaningfully higher revenues in 2019 than they did in 2018. At Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, for instance, we saw a significant increase in gross gaming revenues, particularly driven by the table games segment. Likewise, our food and beverage business benefited substantially from the introduction of sports betting at this property.

Pennsylvania Category 4 Casino Projects

We are proceeding on track with the development of the $120 million Hollywood Casino York and the $111 million Hollywood Casino Morgantown projects (both inclusive of the gaming license fees), affirmed Mr. Snowden. We anticipate opening our Morgantown facility in November of this year. As for our York facility, we received final licensing approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board last December. Our intention is to open the York facility before year-end with 500 slot machines and 24 table games.

Capital Management

We continued to de-lever, reducing our traditional debt by approximately $70 million in the fourth quarter. We ended the period with net leverage on a lease-adjusted basis of 5.5x, said Mr. Snowden. Our ability to generate significant free cash flow provides us with the financial flexibility to capitalize on attractive investment opportunities, like Barstool Sports, and still focus on de-levering. As such, our goal remains to achieve a lease-adjusted net leverage level of 5.0x by the end of 2020.

Summary of Fourth Quarter Results

For the three months ended December 31,

(in millions, except per share data, unaudited)

2019 Actual

2019 Guidance (1)

2018 Actual








Net income (loss)









Adjusted EBITDA (2)







Rent expense associated with triple net operating leases (3)




Adjusted EBITDAR (2)







Cash payments to our REIT Landlords under Triple Net Leases (4)







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What Did Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GLPI) CEO Take Home Last Year? – Yahoo Finance

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Peter Carlino has been the CEO of Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (NASDAQ:GLPI) since 2013. First, this article will compare CEO compensation with compensation at other large companies. Next, we'll consider growth that the business demonstrates. And finally - as a second measure of performance - we will look at the returns shareholders have received over the last few years. The aim of all this is to consider the appropriateness of CEO pay levels.

See our latest analysis for Gaming and Leisure Properties

Our data indicates that Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. is worth US$10b, and total annual CEO compensation was reported as US$12m for the year to December 2018. While this analysis focuses on total compensation, it's worth noting the salary is lower, valued at US$1.8m. We note that more than half of the total compensation is not the salary; and performance requirements may apply to this non-salary portion. We took a group of companies with market capitalizations over US$8.0b, and calculated the median CEO total compensation to be US$11m. Once you start looking at very large companies, you need to take a broader range, because there simply aren't that many of them.

So Peter Carlino receives a similar amount to the median CEO pay, amongst the companies we looked at. While this data point isn't particularly informative alone, it gains more meaning when considered with business performance.

You can see, below, how CEO compensation at Gaming and Leisure Properties has changed over time.

NasdaqGS:GLPI CEO Compensation, February 6th 2020

On average over the last three years, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. has shrunk earnings per share by 1.6% each year (measured with a line of best fit). In the last year, its revenue is up 18%.

In the last three years the company has failed to grow earnings per share. There's no doubt that the silver lining is that revenue is up. But it isn't sufficiently fast growth to overlook the fact that earnings per share has gone backwards over three years. It's hard to argue the company is firing on all cylinders, so shareholders might be averse to high CEO remuneration. It could be important to check this free visual depiction of what analysts expect for the future.

Boasting a total shareholder return of 87% over three years, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. has done well by shareholders. As a result, some may believe the CEO should be paid more than is normal for companies of similar size.

Peter Carlino is paid around what is normal the leaders of larger companies.

The company isn't growing earnings per share, but shareholder returns have been strong over the last three years. So we think most shareholders wouldn't be too worried about CEO compensation, which is close to the median for large companies. Whatever your view on compensation, you might want to check if insiders are buying or selling Gaming and Leisure Properties shares (free trial).

Arguably, business quality is much more important than CEO compensation levels. So check out this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.

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EA has jacked up the prices of lots of old games on Steam – PC Gamer

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EA might be just returning to Steam after a long hiatus, but many of its older games have continued to be sold on the platform for years. Yesterday, Steam users started reporting that a significant number of them had jumped in price.

It seems to have been the regional prices that have been hit, with the US prices remaining the same. Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition, for instance, is now 24.99, a 5 increase. One of the most ridiculous leaps is Sim City 4: Deluxe Edition, a 16-year-old game that now costs 17.99, nearly double its previous price.

You can see the change in prices on SteamDB by clicking on the currency.

Price hikes aren't as uncommon as they should be, with publishers sometimes getting caught increasing a game's price just before a sale so they can claim they're offering much larger discounts. Dead Space 2, which rose from 14.99 to 17.99 was less than a tenner until July 2018, so this is its second increase in as many years.

On Reddit, MJuniorDC9 has posted a few examples of other games that have been increased in the UK, Canada, Europe, Brazil and Russia. Not every currency has been affected, either, but it's hard to tell, as it's inconsistent. Sim City 4 and Dragon Age are now more expensive in New Zealand, for instance, but Dead Space 2 isn't.

Going through EA's list of games, most seem to have been affected. It seems like a change in EA's approach to regional pricing on Steam rather than preparation for a sale, though this doesn't explain the inconsistencies. Aside from the recent Fallen Order, there's no obvious reason why some games have been changed and some haven't.

In some cases, the prices are now double what they are on Originthough some of them were already more expensive on Steam before the price hikeso it's not like EA is bringing them more in line with regional prices on its own platform. Whatever the reason, you might want to shop around if you were planning on buying something from EA on Steam.

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Five Games on Ravens 2020 Schedule With Added Intrigue – BaltimoreRavens.com

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The Ravens' schedule for next season looks even more intriguing than it did just a few weeks ago.

As a reminder, here are the Ravens' 2020 opponents, with the dates and times to be released in April.

HOME: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

AWAY: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Here are five Ravens home games that have gained appeal since the regular season ended.

This game was already highly anticipated. But after winning their first Super Bowl in 50 years, the Chiefs will visit Baltimore for the first time since 2015. The Chiefs are the only team that Lamar Jackson has lost to twice during his young career. Both of those defeats were in Kansas City, but Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes will finally make his first visit to Baltimore next season.

Even in defeat, Jackson has made a host of electrifying plays against the Chiefs.

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Former Jaguars, Bills DE Ryan Davis Offers Player Perspective to Games in London – Sports Illustrated

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No matter what move an NFL franchise makes, it is important to consider the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of the players. Those 53 men are the ones who will themselves through 60-minute games at a minimum of 16 times a year, and they are ultimately the ones who make teams successful or not.

That is why when the Jacksonville Jaguars announced Tuesday an agreement to play two home games, in back-to-back weeks, in London in 2020, one of the most vocal reactions came from players throughout the league.

Some former Jaguars players, and even players who have never played for Jacksonville, largely had negative reactions to the news on Tuesday. And on Wednesday evening, another former Jaguars player who played a few games overseas weighed in with his wholistic thoughts on London, the Jaguars, and the future of the team.

Former Jaguars and Buffalo Bills defensive end Ryan Davis spent nearly four seasons with the Jaguars, playing in 38 games, a majority of those for the Gus Bradley-coached teams. Davis played in two London games: against the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 and against the Bills in 2015. He knows just what it is like to have to travel overseas to play in the game.

"i dont quite understand it...and from a players perspective the excitement of playing in london wears off after that game....and this might sound crazy but i know they gone be pissed about how much theyre gonna get taxed for being out there for bout 10-12 days," Davis said on Twitter when someone asked for his thoughts on the game.

When it comes to being taxed, Davis is referring to the taxes Great Britain imposes on visiting athletes. These taxes can be prorated based on how much time an athlete spends in the area, so a second home game, as opposed to just the singular game, is likely to impact the wallets of players to some extent.

"BIG TIME!!!" Davis tweeted when someone pointed out how much of a benefit it is to have zero income taxes in Florida, as opposed to how the taxes overseas work.

"everytime theres a glimmer of hope they do something that makes u question what direction this franchise is goin..i like Shad [Khan] and if this is part of the master plan to make the jags game day experience better down the line then ok...but the city is gettin impatient," Davis continued.

Davis is one of the few who knows what it is like to travel to London to play one game each year. He, of course, has never done it twice, so he can't speak to that experience. But opinions like his are worth monitoring when it comes to playing more games overseas.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan said Tuesday the move to play two home games in London in 2020 is a one-year arrangement for now and is largely done to sustain the team's revenue and keep them stabilized in Jacksonville as the city and team work on developments in the city.

Well, I think, right now, this is about two games this season and, again, I think you have to Im a big believer you judge by actions and not just by words," Khan said Tuesday. "I mean, weve talked about possibly playing two games. But you know, were not the sole judge here or the decision-maker. I think it has to make sense for the league which they ultimately decide. But I mean right now, this is just about two games this season.

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The Best Board Games of the Ancient World – Smithsonian.com

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SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Feb. 6, 2020, 7 a.m.

Long before Settlers of Catan, Scrabble and Risk won legions of fans, actual Roman legions passed the time by playing Ludus Latrunculorum, a strategic showdown whose Latin name translates loosely to Game of Mercenaries. In northwest Europe, meanwhile, the Viking game Hnefatafl popped up in such far-flung locales as Scotland, Norway and Iceland. Farther south, the ancient Egyptian games of Senet and Mehen dominated. To the east in India, Chaturanga emerged as a precursor to modern chess. And 5,000 years ago, in what is now southeast Turkey, a group of Bronze Age humans created an elaborate set of sculpted stones hailed as the worlds oldest gaming pieces upon their discovery in 2013. From Go to backgammon, Nine Mens Morris and mancala, these were the cutthroat, quirky and surprisingly spiritual board games of the ancient world.

Beloved by such luminaries as the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun and Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II, Senet is one of the earliest known board games. Archaeological and artistic evidence suggest it was played as early as 3100 B.C., when Egypts First Dynasty was just beginning to fade from power.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, upper-class members of Egyptian society played Senet using ornate game boards, examples of which still survive today. Those with fewer resources at their disposal made do with grids scratched on stone surfaces, tables or the floor.

Senet boards were long and lithe, consisting of 30 squares laid out in three parallel rows of ten. Two players received equal numbers of gaming tokens, usually between five to seven, and raced to send all of their pieces to the end of the board. Rather than rolling dice to determine the number of squares moved, participants threw casting sticks or bones. As in most complex strategy games, players had the opportunity to thwart their opponent, blocking the competition from moving forward or even sending them backward on the board.

Originally a pastime with no religious significance, writes Egyptologist Peter A. Piccione in the journal Archaeology, Senet evolved into a simulation of the netherworld, with its squares depicting major divinities and events in the afterlife.

Earlier game boards boast completely blank playing squares, but in most later versions, the final five squares feature hieroglyphics denoting special playing circumstances. Pieces that landed in square 27s waters of chaos, for example, were sent all the way back to square 15or removed from the board entirely.

The ancient Egyptians believed ritualistic gaming sessions provided a glimpse into the afterlife, according to Tristan Donovans Its All a Game: The History of Board Games From Monopoly to Settlers of Catan. Players believed that Senet revealed what obstacles lay ahead, warned dissolute souls of their fiery fates, and offered reassurance of the deceaseds eventual escape from the underworld, as represented by successfully moving ones pieces off the board.

The final space represented Re-Horakhty, the god of the rising sun, explains Donovan, and signified the moment when worthy souls would join [the sun god] Ra for eternity.

Researchers often struggle to determine the rules of games played millennia ago.

But thanks to an unassuming cuneiform tablet translated by British Museum curator Irving Finkel during the 1980s, experts have a detailed set of instructions for the Royal Game of Ur, or Twenty Squares.

The roughly 4,500-year-old games modern rediscovery dates to Sir Leonard Woolleys excavation of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Urs Royal Cemetery between 1922 and 1934. Woolley unearthed five boards, the most impressive of which featured shell plaque squares encircled by strips of lapis lazuli and decorated with intricate floral and geometric designs.

This game board, now housed at the British Museum, is structured similarly to Senet boards, with three rows of squares placed in parallel rows. The Royal Game of Ur, however, uses 20 squares rather than 30. Its shape, consisting of a 4- by 3-panel block connected to a 2- by 3-panel block by a bridge of two squares, is reminiscent of an unevenly loaded dumbbell, according to Its All a Game.

To win, players raced their opponent to the opposite end of the board, moving pieces according to knucklebone dice rolls. Per the Met, squares inlaid with floral rosettes were lucky fields, preventing pieces from being captured or giving players an extra turn.

Though the Royal Game of Ur derives its name from the Mesopotamian metropolis where it was first unearthed, Finkel notes that archaeologists have since found more than 100 examples of the game across Iraq, Iran, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus and Crete. Later versions of the board have a slightly different layout, swapping the right block and bridge for a single line of eight squares. (This format, better known by the name Twenty Squares, was popular in ancient Egypt, where Senet boxes often had 20-square boards on the reverse side.)

In his encyclopedic Oxford History of Board Games, David Parlett describes Mehen, which derives its name from a serpentine deity, as the Egyptian snake game. Played between roughly 3100 B.C. and 2300 B.C., the multiplayer matchup involved up to six participants tasked with guiding lion- and sphere-shaped pieces across a spiral racetrack reminiscent of a coiled snake.

The rules of Mehen remain unclear, as the game faded from popularity following the decline of Egypts Old Kingdom and is sparsely represented in the archaeological record.

Writing in 1990, Egyptologist Peter A. Piccione explained, Based upon what we know of this game ... the feline game pieces moved in a spiral along the squares, apparently, from the tail on the outside to the head of the serpent at the center. The spherical, marble-like tokens may have been similarly rolled through the longer spiralling grooves.

Surprisingly, notes Parlett, none of the probable Mehen pieces known to survive today are small enough to fit into the individual segments of the boards with which they were found, adding yet another layer of intrigue to an already mysterious game.

In fall 2018, excavations at the Russian fortress of Vyborg Castle revealed a long-forgotten medieval game board etched into the surface of a clay brick. While the find itself dates to the comparatively recent 16th century, the game it represents was first played as early as 1400 B.C., when Egyptian workmen building the temple of Kurna inscribed a Morris board onto a roofing slab.

Comparable to modern-day checkers, Nine Mens Morris found opponents directing their army of nine men, each represented by a different game piece, across a grid-like playing field. Erecting a mill, or row of three men, enabled a player to capture one of their opponents pieces. The first person unable to form a mill, or the first to lose all but two men, forfeited the match. Alternate versions of the game called for each player to rely on an arsenal of 3, 6 or 12 pieces.

Examples of Nine Mens Morris abound, unearthed in Greece, Norway, Ireland, France, Germany, England and other countries across the globe, according to Games of the World: How to Make Them, How to Play Them, How They Came to Be. The game was especially popular in medieval Europe and even earned a mention in Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream.

One of ancient Scandinavias most popular pastimes was a family of strategy games known collectively as Tafl. Norsemen played Tafl as early as 400 A.D., according to the Oxford History of Board Games. A hybrid of war and chase games, Tafl spread from Scandinavia to Iceland, Britain and Ireland, but fell out of favor as chess gained traction in England and Nordic countries during the 11th and 12th centuries.

A disk-shaped gaming board unearthed in 2018 at the site of the Scottish Monastery of Deer testifies to Tafls widespread appeal. Dated to the seventh or eighth century, the board is a very rare object, according to archaeologist Ali Cameron.

Speaking with the Scotsman, Cameron added, Only a few have been found in Scotland, mainly on monastic or at least religious sites. These gaming boards are not something everyone would have had access to.

The most popular Tafl variation, Hnefatafl, deviated from standard two-player games in its use of highly unequal sides. To play, a king and his defenders battled a group of taflmen, or attackers, that outnumbered them by roughly two-to-one. As the kings men attempted to herd him to safety in one of the four burgs, or refuges, located in the corners of the grid-like game board, taflmen worked to thwart the escape. To end the game, the king had to either reach sanctuary or yield to captivity.

The toast of the Roman Empire, Ludus Latrunculorum or Latrunculi was a two-player strategy game designed to test participants military prowess. Played on grids of varying sizesthe largest known example measures 17-by-18 squaresthe so-called Game of Mercenaries was likely a variant of the ancient Greek game Petteia. (Aristotle sheds some light on Petteias rules, likening a man without a city-state to an isolated piece in Petteia left vulnerable to capture by an opponent.)

The first documented mention of Ludus Latrunculorum dates to the first century B.C., when Roman writer Varro described its colored glass or precious stone playing pieces. Two hundred or so years later, the anonymously authored Laus Pisonis painted a vivid picture of gameplay, explaining, [T]he enemy ranks are split, and you victoriously emerge with ranks unbroken, or with the loss of one or two men, and both your hands rattle with the horde of captives. The poets Ovid and Martial also referenced the game in their works.

Despite its recurrence in both written and archaeological evidence, Ludus Latrunculorums exact rules remain unclear. Various scholars have proposed potential reconstructions of the game over the past 130 years, according to Ancient Games. Perhaps the most comprehensive of these is Ulrich Schdlers 1994 essay, translated into English in 2001, which suggests players moved pieces forward, backward and sideways in hopes of surrounding an isolated enemy piece with two of their own. Captured tokens were then removed from the board, leaving victorious players hands rattl[ing] with the crowd of pieces, as Laus Pisonis put it.

In Patolli, a gambling game invented by the early inhabitants of Mesoamerica, players raced to move pebbles from one end of a cross-shaped track to the other. Drilled beans used as dice dictated gameplay, but the exact rules of entry and movement remain unknown, as Parlett notes in the Oxford History of Board Games.

Among the Aztecs, Patolli held unusually high stakes, with participants wagering not just physical goods or currency, but their own lives. As Diego Durn, a Dominican friar who authored a 16th-century tome on Aztec history and culture, explained, At this and other games the Indians not only would gamble themselves into slavery, but even came to be legally put to death as human sacrifices.

Commoners and aristocrats alike played Patolli, which was particularly popular in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. According to fellow 16th-century chronicler Francisco Lpez de Gmara, even Emperor Montezuma enjoyed the game and would sometimes look on as they played at patoliztli, which much resembles the game of tables, and is played with beans marked like one-faced die which they call patolli.

Like many aspects of Aztec culture, Patolli was banned by the Spanish conquistadors who defeated the Mexican empire in the 1520s and 30s. Parlett writes that the Spaniards destroyed every gaming mat and burned every drilled bean they could find, making it difficult for later historians to piece together the games exact rules.

Modern-day chess traces its origins to the ancient Indian game of Chaturanga, whose Sanskrit name refers to the four limbs of the Gupta Empires army: infantry, cavalry, chariots and war elephants. First recorded around the sixth century A.D., but presumably played prior to this period, Chaturanga pitted four players, each assuming the role of an imperial military arm, against each other. Pieces moved in patterns similar to those seen in modern chess, according to Donovans Its All a Game. Infantry, for instance, marched forward and captured diagonally like pawns, while cavalry traveled in L-shapes like knights. Unlike todays game, however, Chaturanga involved an element of chance, with players casting sticks to determine pieces movement.

During the mid-sixth century, Indian merchants introduced a revised two-player version of Chaturanga to Persias Sasanian Empire, where it was quickly transformed into the improved game of Shatranj. (Declaring check and checkmate stems from the Persian practice of saying shah mat when an opponents shah, or king, was cornered.) When Arabic armies conquered the Sasanian Empire in the mid-seventh century, the game further evolved, its pieces assuming an abstract shape in compliance with Islams ban on figurative images.

Chess arrived in Europe by way of Arabic-held territories in Spain and the Iberian Peninsula. A Swiss monastery manuscript dated to the 990s contains the earliest known literary reference to the game, which rapidly gained popularity across the continent. By the end of the 12th century, chess was a staple everywhere from France to Germany, Scandinavia and Scotland, all of which followed a slightly different set of rules.

Per Donovan, the most radical change of all was the emergence of the queen as chess most powerful player during the 15th and 16th centuries. The shift was far from random. Instead, it reflected the previously unheard of rise of empowered female monarchs. Isabella I of Castile led her armies against the Moorish occupiers of Granada, while her granddaughter, Mary I, became the first woman to rule England in her own right. Other prominent female royals of the period included Catherine de Medici, Elizabeth I, Marguerite of Navarre and Marie de Guise.

Like many entries on this list, the exact origins of backgammon, a two-player game in which rivals race to bear off, or remove, all 15 of their pieces from the board, remain unclear. But elements of the beloved game are evident in such diverse offerings as the Royal Game of Ur, Senet, Parcheesi, Tabula, Nard and Shwan-liu, suggesting its basic premise found favor across both cultures and centuries. As Oswald Jacoby and John R. Crawford write in The Backgammon Book, the earliest conceivable ancestor of what is now called backgammon is the aforementioned Royal Game of Ur, which emerged in Mesopotamia around 4,500 years ago.

Modern backgammons most memorable characteristic is its board, which features 24 narrow triangles divided into two sets of 12. Players roll pairs of dice to determine movement across these geometric arenas, making backgammon victories a near-even mix of skill and luck, according to Donovan.

Rolls of the dice are crucial but so is how you use those rolls, he explains. This balance has made backgammon popular with gamblers since time immemoriala tendency exemplified by a Pompeiian wall painting featuring an innkeeper throwing two brawling backgammon competitors out of his establishment.

Variations of the game eventually spread to Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Europe. During the medieval period, as many as 25 versions of backgammon, including Frances Tric-Trac, Swedens Brde and Britains somewhat confusingly titled Irish, popped up across the continent. By the 1640s, the last of these had evolved into the modern game of backgammon, so named in a nod to the words back and game.

Go, then called Weiqi, arose in China around 3,000 years ago. A game of territorial occupation, according to the Oxford History of Board Games, Go is far more complex than it seems on the surface. Players take turns placing stones on a grid of 19-by-19 squares with the dual goals of capturing enemy tokens and controlling the largest amount of territory.

Although simple in its rules, writes Donovan, the size of the board coupled with the intricacies of capturing and recapturing territory and stones create a game of great complexity, closer in spirit to an entire military campaign filled with local battles rather than the single battle represented in chess.

Popular lore suggests Weiqi was first used as a fortune-telling device, or perhaps invented by the legendary Emperor Yao in hopes of reforming his wayward son. Whatever its true origins, Weiqi had become a staple of Chinese culture by the sixth century B.C., when Confucius mentioned it in his Analects. Later, the game was included as one of the four arts Chinese scholar-gentlemen were required to master. (In addition to Weiqi, aspiring academics had to learn Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as how to play a seven-stringed instrument called the guqin.)

China may be the birthplace of Go, but Japan deserves much of the credit for developing the game that Parlett describes as involving a higher degree of sophistication than any of the worlds great board games, with the possible exception of chess. Go reached Chinas eastern neighbor around 500 A.D. and was initially played by the seemingly discordant groups of aristocrats and Buddhist monks.

By the 11th century, however, nobles and commoners alike had embraced what they called I-go, paving the way for the games ascendance in Japanese culture. During the 17th century, the ruling Tokugawa shogunate even established four schools dedicated to the study of Go.

Thus arose the system of hereditary professionals, including both masters and disciples, which raised Go to unparalleled heights of skill and cultivation, Parlett writes.

Japans elaborate Go training system fell apart when the Tokugawa shogunate collapsed in 1868, and the game lost popularity in the ensuing decades. But by the early 1900s, Go was back in full swing, and over the course of the 20th century, it gained a small but not insignificant following in the Western world.

Mancala, from the Arabic word naqala, meaning to move, is not one game, but hundreds united by several shared characteristics: namely, moving beans, seeds or similarly shaped tokens across a board filled with shallow pits or holes. The family of games emerged between roughly 3000 and 1000 B.C., with examples of mancala-like rows of holes appearing at archaeological sites across Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia.

The most popular mancala variant, Oware, finds two participants playing on a board with two rows of six holes. Players take turns sowing seeds by picking up tokens in a given pit and depositing them, one-by-one, in sequence around the board. Fast gameplay is encouraged, as taking ones time is considered anathema to the spirit of the game.

Mancalas goal is usually to capture more seeds than ones rival by counting and calculating strategic moves. But in some cultures, ensuring the games longevity is actually more important than winning. Though nothing is left to chance in most variations, mancala is often viewed as a gambling or ritualistic game, with its outcome considered at least partly fate-determined, according to Parlett.

[It] is a game of perfect information, perfect equality, much freedom of significant choice, and hence great skill, he writes. The complexity of chess lies in its depth, that of mancala in its length.

Though not technically an ancient creation, the Game of the Goose warrants inclusion on this list as the earliest commercially produced board game. A race governed purely by chance, the competition involves not the slightest element of skill or true player interaction towards the winning of stakes, according to Parlett.

The earliest reference to the Game of the Goose dates to between 1574 and 1587, when Duke Francesco de Medici gifted a game called Gioco dellOca to Spains Philip II. Per the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, the pastime quickly spread across Europe. As soon as June 1597, one John Wolfe described it as the newe and most pleasant game of the Goose. Over the following centuries, various versions emerged, each with its own distinct illustrations and theming.

Though the Game of the Gooses visual elements varied widely, the basic premise remained the same. Players vied to send their pieces to the center of a coiled, snake-like board, traveling counter-clockwise as guided by dice rolls. Six of the boards 63 numbered spaces were illustrated with symbols denoting special rules, such as skip ahead to space 12 after landing on space 6, The Bridge, or start over entirely upon arriving at space 58, the ominously named Death tile. As suggested by the games name, images of geese feature heavily on most game boards.

To winor claim a pot established at the start of the racea player has to land on space 63 with an exact dice throw. Those who roll higher numbers than needed are forced to retreat back down the track.

In many ways, argues Parlett, the Game of the Goose may be said to usher in that modern period of board-gaming characterized by the introduction of illustrative and thematic elements to what had hitherto been primarily symbolic and mathematical.

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The only person licensed to forge Witcher 3 swords may be extra busy this year – PC Gamer

Posted: at 5:49 pm

Swordsmith Artur Wysocki has too many emails: Over 300 in the past few days, he says. After The Witcher on Netflix spurred a renewed interest in the Witcher books and games, the only smith licensed by CD Projekt to forge and sell swords based on the designs of the games will likely have a few more requests than usual.

Kaer Morhen Forge is a hobby and side-business for Wysocki, and he doesn't keep any in stock, but crafts the weapons for between 400 to 900 on commission (around $440 to $990 USD). Rune inscriptions and handmade scabbards cost extra.

His "silver swords," such as the Mastercrafted Wolven Silver Sword, are actually steel, but can be galvanized in silver. In January, he revealed a sword with a 1 millimeter silver coating, which a buyer unconcerned with cost might be able to request. It is very shiny:

As the swords are made to order, they can be forged to different hardness, sharpness, and balance specifications, ranging from potentially deadly to still-a-bad-idea-to-swing-around-if-you-don't-know-what-you're-doing.

Wysocki is based in Katowice, Poland, but can ship internationally. Like the swords themselves, that won't be cheap, and is subject to whatever local restrictions on monster-slaying weapons exist.

You can see more of Wysocki's swords, photographed by Micha Sygut, on the Kaer Morhen Forge official site and Facebook page.

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‘I’ll ref until I ref my last game’: 3000 games and counting, this official still loves the game – Grand Forks Herald

Posted: at 5:49 pm

"I suppose I figured I could do better than some of the refs that I had," he said with a chuckle.

He officiated his first basketball game in 1977, and last year stepped onto the hardwood with his whistle for the 3,000th time. He works high school basketball, a few college basketball games and some football games in the fall.

That's a lot of miles and a lot of late nights.

"From Maple Grove to Moorhead, the only town I've missed is Rogers, he said. And if I go from Elk River to Moorhead on Highway 10, the only town I missed is Sauk Rapids. I can tell you some story I remember in every single town."

Klinnert is still adding to those stories. At a time when many officials quit after a couple of years, he has no plans to step off the court.

Enforcing the rules of the game was a natural progression for Klinnert, a five-sport athlete at New York Mills High School, who went on to be a coach and school administrator for 18 years. He now operates JK sports in Fergus Falls, selling sports gear.

At 72, the lanky, white-haired Klinnert is slowing down a bit, at least by his standards. He wants to be a fan when his grandchildren play basketball, so he'll only referee about 30 games this winter.

"The highest I ever worked was 93 games in a year, he said. I remember having one stretch where we worked 17 times in 16 days."

A Minnesota State High School League official said 30 games is about average for basketball referees roughly two games a week during the season, which stretches from late November to early March.

Klinnert gets paid about $125 for working two games a night, part of an ever-changing crew of three officials.

After 43 years of pounding up and down the hardwood, Klinnert insists he still gets excited for every game. He estimates hes officiated about 85 tournament finals, winner-take-all games with fans packed to the rafters and tension filling the gym like a fog.

"And when you walk out there, boy, I get the shivers even thinking about some of those games, because it's a feeling," he said.

One of those games, back in 1983, stands out. It was a five-overtime final in Crookston to decide which team would go on to the state tournament.

"Littlefork-Big Falls beat Ada, and the ball hung on the rim and fell off, he said. Otherwise Ada would have gone to the state tournament.

Like many high school officials, Klinnert does the job because he loves the game.

"Because if you're reffing only for the $100 bill, you will not last. You will not last," said Klinnert. "The day that I'm not excited to go to a game, I should call it quits."

Fewer and fewer people are willing to make the commitment. More young officials only stay for a couple of years. A national survey in 2017 of all levels of officials in all sports found 70 percent quit after three years.

The state high school league uses a three-year benchmark when trying to recruit and retain officials, spokesperson Tim Leighton said.

Retaining the officials has become the challenge, he said. Whats happening in officiating now is there are sportsmanship issues, theres jobs, theres family, theres low rate of return in terms of the stipend you receive. Those are all things that are driving officials away. Theyre saying, This just isnt for me.

Leighton insists theres no shortage of officials in Minnesota, even though in the past year, a few basketball and football games have had to be rescheduled because no referees were available.

Long-term, I think were going to be just fine. We would always love to have more officials, but I think were always going to get the games covered, he said. I think there are enough officials to get the games covered.

Still, he admits more officials are putting limits on their commitment to the sport which can put a strain on scheduling.

There are some officials that are spoiled, said Leighton. Theyll only work boys games, theyll only work with certain partners and theyll only work within 5 miles of their house. Thats becoming problematic.

Klinnert likes working with younger officials, sharing tips and tricks for managing the game. He has routines for every part of the game, so he doesnt lose focus.

But he has no sympathy when a younger official complains about the long drive, or the late night.

"I tell them point-blank: Get rid of that attitude, he said. For these kids it's the biggest game in the state of Minnesota tonight. If you don't feel that way, then don't referee."

Klinnert is a throwback, and hes proud of the long hours and lost sleep.

"Old referees, on the way home we're talking about the game, he said. And young referees in some cases don't even know if they played a zone or if they played man to man. The game is over and now let's go see what's on Facebook. That's a difference."

Over four decades, he cant remember many times hes turned down a chance to work a game.

"I took off for my 50th wedding anniversary. I took that night off," he said.

But the demands of refereeing late nights, nominal pay and lots of travel can take their toll. And there are other challenges, too: Being yelled at by coaches turns off a lot of officials, and Klinnert said he sees that mostly in his younger colleagues. That observation is supported by national surveys, which have found that abusive treatment by coaches, players or fans is the top reason officials quit.

Klinnert said that might be changing. In recent years, he's seen more respect from student athletes. After games, they often thank him and his referee team for their work. In 2015, the Minnesota State High School League started a Thank A Ref program, encouraging schools to let officials know theyre appreciated.

And over the years, Klinnert said, hes also gotten a bit more tolerant of coaches yelling at him.

"Take a deep breath, he said. Sometimes you just stand there and let him let them rip you and then walk away, it's all part of the game."

Klinnert said hes never ejected a player from a game, and he's tossed out only one coach, after a last-second call during a college tournament game.

"He came out onto the court and I won't say exactly ... what he told me, but I had to evict him from the game, he said. And they had to hold him down after the game.

It was a few years before he saw that coach again, but before their next game together, they shook hands and put the confrontation behind them.

Klinnert stands by that controversial call. But he acknowledges he does sometimes blow a call. When it happens, he always calls the coach later to apologize.

For the last several years, about 15 to 20 high school officials have reached the 40-year mark.

Only a handful mark a half-century of officiating each year.

As long as his knees hold out and he still feels that ripple of excitement before every game, Klinnert has no plans to hang up his whistle.

"How long will I ref? I don't know. I tell people I'll ref until I ref my last game."

This story originally appeared at: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/02/05/after-3000-games-ref-still-excited-about-every-one of story Questions or requests? Contact MPR News editor Meg Martin at newspartners@mpr.org 2019 Minnesota Public Radio. All rights reserved.

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'I'll ref until I ref my last game': 3000 games and counting, this official still loves the game - Grand Forks Herald

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