There's an article in the Hindu about the game Pallankuzhi, a game popular in Southern India.
Apparently the game was the subject of some research at a "three-day festival of games at La Tour de-Pielz near Lausanne". Three day festival of games? News to me. Anyone? Update: Info on the Mancala conference is here. And here are some links to a lot of academic papers on Mancala games (scroll down).
Pallankuzhi is one of a group of similar games that includes Mancala and Oware. It is probably the most ancient game that still exists and is actually "good". Obviously, Go is another candidate.
Interestingly enough, another recent article in the Hindu suggested the link between the two games Pallankuzhi and Warri as a possible means of enhancing an India/Antigua alliance, akin to the "Ping Pong Diplomacy" that enhanced U.S. and Chinese relations in the 1970s.
Speaking of Go, Wired is back on the subject of AI and games, this time taking on Go (thanks, Mischa).
I've been having some back burner chat with Dominic from North Star Games. They produce the games Wits and Wagers and Cluzzle, both well received by my fellow gamers. Dominic is sending me copies of each game to evaluate.
They suffered some collateral damage owing to their relationship with the former Eagle Games and are trying to get back to profitability, so check them out.