What Are the Different Types of Public Domain Games?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2020
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There are many different types of public domain games available for those interested in various games to play. Card games are among the most common and prevalent of games available in the public domain, most of which can be played with one or more decks of basic playing cards. There are also many games that can be played using a board or other physical pieces, which include chess, checkers, backgammon, and games such as dominoes and mahjong. Numerous other public domain games exist, often played by children on playgrounds or in parks, and these include games such as tag and hopscotch.

Public domain games are basically any games not owned as the intellectual or commercial property of a particular individual or company. These are typically games that are older than many copyright laws or that have entered the public domain through general play with no claim of ownership over the game itself. Many of these public domain games are available from multiple game companies, or can be played using cards or other products available from different manufacturers.

Card games, for example, are some of the most common and popular public domain games that many people might encounter. Most of these games can be played using one or more decks of standard playing cards, which are fairly regulated and made in similar ways by different manufacturers. These games include everything from poker to bridge, and are often sold with books or special decks that can be used to provide rules on how to play the games.

Other public domain games often use boards or other pieces available from different manufacturers. Chess and checkers, for example, are frequently played using boards and pieces that can be purchased from a number of different companies or made by private individuals. Other games, such as dominoes and mahjong, use tiles and various sets of rules to play games that have been popular for decades or centuries.

Public domain games can also include those games commonly found on school yards and playgrounds. Children often make up their own games, or variations of established games, but there are a number of public domain games that remain popular among subsequent generations. Games such as tag and hopscotch, or scotch-hoppers, are often found in numerous countries and are engaged in by children of many different cultures. Elaborate rules systems and local variations are fairly common as well, though certain core aspects of such games typically remain the same.


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