Sunday, April 20, 2008

Benefits of Playing Board Games

Board games are played to improve memory, counting skills and hone one’s strategy. For children weak in mathematics and lacking concentration, Aliguli Mane (Mancala) is a traditional antidote. Alignment games like Nava Kankari will help unclutter the mind. Hunt games like Adu Huli and Aney Kattu enable kids to develop a killer instinct to succeed. Race games like Pagade, Chauka Bara and Panchi instil confidence to race ahead in this competitive world.

Those who play board games regularly can drastically reduce their risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia as they age. Why? Playing board games is incredibly good for your mental and physical health and your very sanity.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that challenging your brain with mentally stimulating leisure activities (including playing board games or cards, doing crossword puzzles, reading, writing, and playing musical instruments) is great for your mind.

Seniors who participated in such activities about once a week for a 20 year period reduced the risk of dementia by 7 percent. Those who engaged in these activities more often reduced their risk even more by 63 percent!

Come, rediscover the magic of board games

- Dr. C.R. Dileep Kumar



History of traditional board games in India is very well known. Our mythology is replete with examples of board games being played. In the Rg Veda, a group of 14 verses called as Aksha Sukta is dedicated to dice game; the main event which can be called a turning point in the epic Mahabharata happens during a game.

Game boards inscribed on temple floors are a clue to the wide spread popularity of games. In times gone by variety of board games were played by a whole cross section of population. If Chaduranga was a game of royal court, common man’s favourite was the simple Adu Huli Ata. The game of Sixteen Sepoys played on a beautiful geometric pattern as a board was a pastime of common soldier.

Many popular games of today like Chess, Pachisi or Ludo and Snakes and Ladders have originated in India. The modern day 64 squared chess played by two persons is a simplified version of 144 squared four handed ‘Chaduranga’ played by four with complex moves.

The range of games played have an astonishing variety and variations. These can be broadly classified as...
  • Counting game - Aliguli Mane (Mancala)
  • War game - Chaduranga & Sixteen Sepoys
  • Race game - Pagade, Chauka Bara & Panchi
  • Alignment game - Nava Kankari & Kattam Vilayattu
  • Hunt game - Adu Huli Ata & Ane Kattu
  • Solitary game - Nakshatra Ata & Seethadevi Ata
  • Morality game - Paramapada & Devi Sayujya Ata