What Games Should Be Featured in an Authentic Period Drama?

Every little detail added to period dramas helps to convince us that they’re authentic, while any mistakes or oversights can ruin the illusion. When it comes to the games that we see characters playing, what are some of the most authentic choices?

Basset Was Played in the Royal Court

This card game was played among the elite in society and is famous for being arguably the politest game ever invented. A lottery-type game using 13 cards, as explained by Board Game Geek, it began in 15th-century Italy and moved to France, but the significant house edge meant that the banker or dealer was the player most likely to win money.

British period dramas could feature basset from the 17th century onwards, with its greatest popularity coming at the start of the 18th century. However, they should only show it being played by people in the Royal Court, or by the public with greatly restricted stakes and modified rules.

Its reputation as an interesting, high-stakes game played by nobles makes this ideal for use in period dramas. In fact, this game is covered in the 1705 book titled The Basset Table, by Susana Centlivre which follows the story of Lady Reveller, who plays with her friends while also trying to avoid being forced into an unwanted marriage with Lord Worthy.

Baccarat Is Still Going Strong

The confusing origins of baccarat mean that it isn’t clear exactly where and when it began. One of the most popular theories is that it began in Italy, with 15th-century French soldiers taking it home with them, where it evolved into the well-known Chemin de Fer variant.

For UK-based dramas, the earliest written evidence of the game here that’s been found to date is from the mid-19th century, although it seems likely to have been around long before then. This game has traditionally been played among high rollers and in private gambling rooms or the VIP areas of casinos.

This review of Pokerstars Casino shows us how easy it is to find online versions of baccarat these days, as well as other games such as blackjack and poker. The site has a collection of table and card games as well as slots, meaning that it’s possible to play classic games that have been around for centuries as well as the latest new releases, with a welcome bonus to get new players started.

Romantic Chess Added Fast Gameplay

Another game that has evolved over many centuries, chess may have been initially created in India but the current rules and pieces come from Spain in the 15th century. While The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, which was named after a popular opening move, proved successful by looking at the life of a chess prodigy in the 1960s, going further back in time could prove to be more rewarding.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw a movement known as romantic chess, which meant playing each move swiftly rather than the hugely strategic approach that followed in later years. Players wanted to win with great style, which could make it perfect for a period drama showing us an exciting way of playing chess that not many people are familiar with.

All of these examples let us see how period dramas could incorporate games that let us get a glimpse of the past with some authentic details that bring them to life.