Quinto, which is Latin for "fifth," is an exciting board and card game that contains elements found in the ancient history of Rome as well as China. Quinto is based upon an ancient Roman board game wherein the winner was the first to capture five spaces in a row. Unlike the Roman game, Quinto also uses playing cards, which were most likely invented in China.
Quinto is the advanced version of an ancient Roman board game called "Calculi" or "Five in a Row." In Roman times, the winner was the first player to line up five stones or pebbles in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the playing surface. Today, with the addition of playing cards, a scoring system, and chips to replace the old Roman stones, this ancient board game comes alive as never before. In fact, Quinto is so entertaining, we think it is the best board and card game of all time!
The history of the board game reaches far back into antiquity. In fact, the Romans played a wide variety of board games, including Roman Chess (known as "Latrunculi"), Checkers (called "Calculi"), Tic-Tac-Toe (Terni Lapilli), Backgammon (Tabula), and others. According to historians, the Romans used stones to count even before the abacus was introduced. Hence, the word, "calculate." Quinto is most like the Roman game, "Calculi" or "Five in a Row." The traditional rules of Calculi include lining up five stones in a row, either horizontally or diagonally. While some archeologists have referred to Calculi as Roman Checkers because of the similarity of the board and pieces, few boards were checkered in black and white--many were just made of lines. Some stones and boar fragments have been found as well as large bags of stones, which include roundels, the old Roman version of gambling chips.
It is not clear where cards were first invented, but evidence suggests that cards were most likely invented in China, where paper was invented. The documented history of playing cards began in the Tenth Century, when the Chinese began using paper dominoes by shuffling and dealing them in new games. In Europe, the earliest authentic reference to playing cards date from 1377. In those days, cards were hand-painted an only the very wealthy could afford them.
Cards entered Europe from the Islamic empire, where cups and swords were added as suit symbols as well as court cards. These symbols were replaced in Europe by representations of courtly human wings: kings, knights, and foot servants. To this day, packs of playing cards from Italy do not have queens nor do packs from Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and others. The cards we use today are derived from the French, who gave us the suits of spades, clubs, diamonds, and hearts and the use of simple shapes and flat colors.