Humans have been playing games for centuries, but we’re still not perfect at them: We make mistakes, underestimate opponents, and can think only a few moves ahead. Computers have no such shortcomings. An artificial intelligence can master most of the classics if it runs enough simulations. As processing power has increased, machines have grown adept enough to trounce their creators at everything from tic-tac-toe to backgammon (though the programs still can’t compete at more creative pursuits like crosswords). Here’s a timeline of their march to victory.