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Tables games are among the oldest known board games, and many variants are played throughout the world.The Royal Game of Ur, played in ancient Mesopotamia, is another member of the family."Tavli" was first described in an epigram of the Byzantine Emperor Zeno (AD 476–481).
The τάβλη of Zeno's time is believed to be a direct descendant of the earlier ancient Roman Ludus duodecim scriptorum ("game of twelve lines" or, better, "game of twelve signs") with that board's middle row of points removed, and only the two outer rows remaining.
The Raja introduces the game of chess, and Burzoe demonstrates nard, played with dice made from ivory and teak.
Tables should not be confused with Tafl, an unrelated class of board games (albeit linguistically related) played in medieval Scandinavia.
It is known as ifranjiah in Arabic (meaning "Frankish"), and is referred to as takhte nard in Iran.
In many Arabic speaking countries, the game is known as "shesh besh", which is actually a combination for the sake of the rhyme of Persian "shesh" (six) and Turkish "besh" (five).