If we can thank 2020 for anything, it’s definitely that we rediscovered just how important it is to have indoor games that the whole family can enjoy. We’re not talking PlayStation and video games here, but rather board games and other interactive pastimes that we would normally have been too busy to do if things hadn’t gone the way that they have this year.
These are just some of the best games from around the world that have been played for many years and are still popular today:
Just to throw a spanner in the works, Chinese Checkers has pretty much nothing to do at all with China or the Checkers game that we know and love. Its origins are not 100% known, but it’s long been presumed that the game was created in Germany as far back as 1892. It is also a twist on an originally American game called Halma, which is how it got its legitimate name of sternhalma, or stern-halma.
The game is played on a star-shaped board that has six points. This means that up to six players can play the game at the same time. The goal of this game is for players to try and get all of their own pegs over to the opposite side of the board. The first player to manage this feat is declared the winner.
You may never have played Chinese Checkers, but it’s likely that you’ve seen the boards around people’s houses or in souvenir shops if you’ve ever travelled to Asia, where it is still an incredibly popular game.
Mancala is a game that seems to have originated in Southern India, where there is a similar game called Pallankuzhi in Tamil. However, it’s a common game which has a heap of variations. It’s a “sow the seeds” game and there have been traces of it found in Africa, Middle East and SouthEast Asia. It’s still played in these countries today.
The game is played with a variety of different tools, the ‘board’ can be made from hollowed out gourds of fruit and other items that are easy to get. The pieces include anything from pebbles, to seeds and marbles. Players need to get a piece into each hole until they can get into their base hole. The player with the most pieces in their base hole wins the game.
If you’re looking for an age old game, then “Go” is the right pick for you. It’s one of the oldest board games in the world and it was invented in China around four centuries ago. The players get a set of chips, one has white and one has black. The aim is to gain as much territory from the opponent as possible and have the board dominated by your chips. Surround your opponent’s chips on two sides to trap them. Once they’ve lost all their chips this way, you’ll be declared the winner. Keep in mind that there are different versions of the game and in Korea, Japan and China, the rules can vary from each other.
Board games don’t have to be confined to sitting down either and Carom is testament to that. This game is incredibly popular in SouthEast Asia and combines board games with strategy sport. The boards are square and usually made from polished plywood and every player gets flat pieces of any kind of material that is able to slide across the board with ease. The aim of the game is to flick your pieces with your fingers into the pockets made on the board. Think of it as a version of pool where your fingers are the cues. You can knock other players’ pieces out of the way to grab top spot too.
No list of popular games around the world would be complete without the beloved bingo. Hugely popular throughout the UK, most would consider this a rather modern game that was developed on home soil. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. In fact, we have the Italians to thank for the modern bingo game. It was first played in Italy as early as the 1530s and was (and still is) a form of lottery. The game then made its way across Europe and found its most loving home in the UK.
Today, we still have bingo halls and clubs spread out across the country and you can even yell “BINGO” in your own home now with the advent of the online version too. Now bingo can be played alone, with family and friends, or with a group of likeminded strangers, you have your pick!