Apart from juicy mangoes and prickly heat powder ads, summer in India reminds us of one more thing —noisy coolers and a spread of the Monopoly or Business board on the bed, with even septuagenarians fighting with their grandkids to take on make-believe property. Summer is the time to let loose with board games — and bringing it back on a worldwide forum is the International TableTop Day, on Saturday!
In an age of video gaming, this day celebrates the joy of connecting with people and playing board games offline. Interestingly, it was created by a popular geek in pop culture, Will (William) Wheaton of Star Trek and The Big Bang Theory.
Siddhanth Rai, the founder of Hyderabad Board Gamers’ Club brought the Tabletop Day to Hyderabad in 2015. The proud owner of over 90 board games, Siddhanth takes them all very seriously. He explains, “Fresh out of the World War II, the Germans could not encourage their children to play their board games as they were largely based on war, area control etc.
So a new wave of games appeared which were competitive, but not just about war. No player got eliminated until the end of the game and there was healthy competition as the points were compared at the end. They were also largely based on resource management, economy, etc.”
Siddhanth wil hold a special board gamers’ meet with tournaments and cash prizes on this day. He says, “Board gaming culture came to India only in 2007 with the game Catan. I was introduced to it in Mumbai. We had friends who came from abroad and introduced board games to our parties. I had just gone through a break-up and had a lot of time on hand, so I started hosting meet-ups every Saturday when I came to Hyderabad.
From 3-4 people, we have gone up to almost 15-20 every Saturday, and interestingly, all of them are from outside Hyderabad. This is a great way to make friends as after 25 or 30, it does get very difficult.”
The power of board games goes beyond just giving families and friends a good time. Sirisha, the owner of a board game cafe in the city says that she has used board games to help kids with autism. She explains, “I have had six years of experience in the field of education. I’ve used dexterity games like Jenga, Suspense, etc. for kids with autism, and noticed a development of their motor skills. It also helps improve focus. I have also taught students with board games related to their subjects as it helps them to remember better.”
So what are you waiting for? Grab a cool drink and lay out your boards... get lost in the world of offline games!...