So with my new position as a member of the faculty at Columbus State University, I was lucky enough to be engaged by one of the professors in my department who teaches game design. He asked me to do a guest lecture on the history of games. So I did. And it was a lot of fun.
I started out pointing out that in three of the ancient river valley civilizations in the world - the Nile, the Yangtze, and the Mesopotamian valleys - that some of the earliest artifacts we have of civilization include games and gaming equipment. From there, a brief foray through the use of games to train nobles and the military, including mock combats through history (Roman wargames, Medieval tournaments and melees, drilling, mock combat, etc) along side a history of board games, leading up to the wargaming developments of the 19th century.
It was a lot of fun, especially once we got into the 20th century, and starting talking about games as recreation once again. This led through the introduction of hobby wargames (HG Wells, Fred Jane, Charles Roberts, etc), into roleplaying games, computer gaming, and euro games.
A very satisfying lecture. I wish I could do a whole semester on the subject.