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Adventure in all its different incarnations and playing games are things that share common grounds and are tightly related; along the history of mankind, in different cultures and civilisations, expressions of gaming, playing for fun and for money - i.e. gambling - have been taking place despite all sorts of prohibitions and taboos. And this is so because the kind of situations - extreme in many cases - that adventures, soldiers, mariners, sailors, survivors and such people frequently confront, produce a change of perspectives and ideas that lowers certain mental barriers.

Take for example dice and games played with them, such as craps; these are very simple games indeed. Dice are portable, small, cheap and very handy. They were in fact by people living under conditions requiring such qualities from a game: dice were invented by a certain man called Palamedes, who was a soldier in one of the armies of Greece, where at his time, a couple of centuries before our era, siege warfare was in vogue, when city-states pitted each against another.

Armies commanders preferred to lay siege because in such a way they would force defenders to surrender, starve to death or weaken them enough to try an all-out assault on any fortification with better odds in favour of the attacker army. Meanwhile, both attackers and defenders stood guard and bored to death, plus, these soldiers, especially the attackers, either got paid or were allowed to sack in search for war booty.

And remember: these were extreme, war circumstances with a lot of uncertainty: any soldier could easily figure out that taking booty may make him rich one day, only to be killed the next one in another battle. So, soldiers have in combat a different mindset: there are no future perspectives, they have to live for the day, and there is fear and the desire to think in something else.

Not surprisingly, soldiers are quite keen to gamble, get drunk, hire prostitutes, take drugs and other similar things; this may seem immoral to some, but it is perfectly understandable under such conditions.

And other people facing death or total uncertainty on a daily basis usually thing similarly: desperate immigrants arrived in the United States and formed the well-known mafia clans of the twentieth century. They did business with gambling, horse racing, booze, prostitution and such niches, and while society found all those activities more or less immoral, for them it was a non-issue.

Merchants who travelled with caravans a couple of centuries ago also thought like that because they faced a lot of hazards and did not know if they would ever return to their homes. And the same could be said of sailors in exploration sea voyages, and the Spanish conquerors, the British and so on.

So, there is a relationship between gaming, gambling and living real adventures; this relationship has nothing to do with morality, but with very human needs.




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