India has been the land of many globally renowned inventions such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Zero etc. The country’s inventions are not just limited to arts, crafts, cuisines and science and culture but board games too.
Some of the earliest evidences of board games come from Indus Valley Civilization in the form of archeological finds. It is also clearly evident that gambling was a widespread activity in the Vedic period.
Chauppar has an interesting timeline. It reached its high point during the Mughal period. It is also the game that most traditions credit to the downfall of Yudishthira in the Mahabharata.
Various forms of chaupar have flourished in India. The most modern version of this game is ludo, which was reintroduced in India by the British around 1950. Many commercial versions of Indian chaupar were extremely popular in the US in the twentieth century.
Tiger and Goat
Goats and Tigers Game is locally referred as “Meka puli aata” (Telugu) or “Aadu puli Naatam”(Tamil), or Aadu Huli aata (Kannada) or Pulijudam. It is a strategic, two-player tiger hunt game that is played in south India.
The game is asymmetric in that one player controls three tigers and the other player controls up to 15 lambs/goats. The tigers ‘hunt’ the goats while the goats attempt to block the tigers’ movements. This has been the most ancient game.
Chaturanga was one of the more popular aristocratic games of ancient India. The game was invented in India before being introduced to the West Asians, who took it to Europe from where chess, its most modern version, emerged.Developing around the sixth century CE, it started off as a didactic game to teach young princes about the four angas (parts) of the royal army which is the infantry, the elephants, the chariot and the cavalry.
The word chaturanga first appeared in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. This immensely popular game has undergone various changes from chaturanga to shatranj to finally chess.
Pachisi is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross. A player’s pieces move around the board based upon a throw of six or seven cowrie shells, with the number of shells resting with a gap upwards indicating the number of spaces to move.The name of the game is derived from the Hindi word pachis, meaning twenty-five, the largest score that can be thrown with the cowrie shells. Thus, this game is also known by the name Twenty-Five.
Pachisi is a game for two, three, or four players. The players are split into in two teams. One team has yellow and black pieces, the other team has red and green. The team which moves all its pieces to the finish first, wins the game.
Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and ladders game is also called as Moksha Patam or Parama Padam Or Gyan Chauper and is a dice board game from ancient India. It was from India that it spread to the rest of the world. It was a very popular game to be played its main purpose was not only entertainment but also to teach morality. So the players move from the lower levels of consciousness to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment and finally to Moksha.