Whether alone or in teams, for pleasure or profit, sporting or seated, games have been an ever-present feature of every civilization. With multiple participants vying to achieve a goal by following a set of rules, games provide an outlet for the natural human instinct for competition without the risk incurred in, for example, battle. Indeed throughout history, many games have served as a microcosm of war, whether that involves taking down one’s opponent’s king, as in chess, taking turns to attack and defend, seen in all sorts of games from rugby to bridge, or racing to a certain destination, be it on foot or with a counter.
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Born in Saxony as Peter Bienewitz, he studied at the University of Leipzig from 1516 to 1519, where he adopted the Latinised version of his German name, Petrus Apianus. In 1519, he moved to Vienna, where he was part of the second Vienna school of cartography, which included Georgius Tannstetter and Johannes Cuspinianus. He then moved again to Landshut, where he produced the Cosmographicus liber in 1524, an extremely popular work on astronomy and navigation which underwent thirty reprints. Based on Ptolemy, it contains paper instruments called volvelles, which Apianus would use so effectively in his work that they are sometimes known as Apian wheels.