We find evidence of games being played long before the beginning of the Middle Ages. The Mesopotamian Royal Game of Ur dates back to the third millenium BCE, and the rules for the game were found on a clay tablet in the British Museum. Roman soldiers enjoyed losing their wages at dice games. Card games appear in 9th century China.
Medieval illustrations show games such as chess, checkers (also known as draughts) and backgammon being played. Pieces for those games and pieces and boards for games like fox and geese and nine-man's morris have been found in archeological digs. Card games seem to have been a much later development, coming into view during the Renaissance. Early sets of cards were not standard in number or suites, and those made for the higher classes richly painted.
Children in the Middle Ages also played games. There is a Breughel painting from the late 16th century that shows children playing games, and some of those that are recognizable are: leap-frog, sitting astride a railing and pretending to be riding a horse, rolling with a hoop, hanging upside down on a vertical bar, blindman's bluff, children riding piggyback, king of the mountain and tug of war.