This board game hasn’t been played for 1,500 years. No one is quite sure of its rules, although it looks like the kind of game that could summon a lion and a bearded Robin Williams.
The game was found in a 2,300-year-old tomb in Qingzhou City, China. Inside the tomb, Chinese archeologists found a skeleton, 21 rectangular game pieces and a broken tile decorated with paintings of thunder and clouds. Perhaps most excitingly, they also found a 14-faced die. The die, carved out of an animal's tooth, is labeled with numbers in an ancient Chinese language called "seal script."
Experts believe the relics are from a two-player game called "bo" or "liubo" that was played up until around 1,500 years ago.
The rules of the game still remain a mystery. However, as explained by Live Science, a 2,200-year-old poem by a man named Song Yu, translated by David Hawkes, gives some impression what it entailed:
"Then, with bamboo dice and ivory pieces, the game of Liu Bo is begun; sides are taken; they advance together; keenly they threaten each other. Pieces are kinged, and the scoring doubled. Shouts of 'five white!' arise."
Archeologists also uncovered 26 shafts, likely the result of looters, that were dug to get into the tomb. In one of these shafts, the team discovered a skeleton, leading them to believe this once belonged to a very unfortunate grave robber.
The grandiosity and size of the tomb suggests that it was the resting place for some of the rich and privileged residents of this ancient Chinese state. At the time, China comprised several warring states; this period ended around the 3rd century BCE, when the all-conquering Qin Shi Huangdi, from the state of Qin, unified China and became the first emperor.
The site was first excavated in 2004 by a team of archeologists from the Qingzhou Municipal Museum and Shandong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. The findings were discussed in Chinese in the journal Wenwu in 2014. However, they were only recently translated into English and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.
[H/T: Live Science]