10 Most Popular Board Games in India

Who hasn’t played board games? Board games have been in our lives since many generations and they are going to stay for a long time as well.

Because board games are a wonderful way to bond people, may they be relatives, friends or even strangers. We are sure you must have played a lot many board games along the years.  

Here’s a list of the most popular board games in India. Tell us which one is your favourite.

Why Board Games

Board games prove to be extremely helpful in strengthening relations and some of them also help promote team work.

There is a huge variety of board games. Some are played just for recreational purposes and some can even win you national championship if you are an excellent player.

10 Most Popular board games in India

1. Snakes and Ladders

 Snakes and Ladders is the most popular game in India right now mainly because of its uncertain nature and its simplicity.                                                                                      

It’s one of the simplest of board games and is hence popular among people of all ages.

If you are one of the very few who hasn’t yet played Snakes & Ladders, no worries, we are here to fill you in. It’s a game purely based on luck.

Players take turns to roll the dice. And they advance a certain number of blocks in accordance to what they get on the dice.

There are a hundred blocks to advance before you reach “Home” which wins you the game. But there are ‘Snakes & Ladders’ assigned to some of the blocks.

If luck favours you, you could land on a block that is assigned a ladder which can advance you a great number of blocks.

Though if you aren’t having luck on your side, you could also land on a block that is assigned a snake which will toss you down a great number of blocks. Whoever is the first to reach the final block wins the game. 

2. Ludo

Ludo is a board game that was derived from the popular Indian game “Pachisi”.

It is an engaging game of luck with a whiff of strategy where each player is trying to make their tokens reach home. At the same time trying to prevent other player’s tokens from doing the same.

Each player is given four tokens. The game starts by rolling a ‘one’ on the dice to get your token out of the starting zone.

Once it’s out, you advance the token through the complete board of 98 blocks according to what you score each time you roll the dice.

The catch here is that any player is capable of sending another player’s token back into the starting zone if they land on a block that is already occupied by the other player.

So throughout the game each player is trying to make sure no other player lands on their tokens, while themselves trying to land on as many rival tokens as they can.

Though Ludo has the dice controlling all movements, players can still strategize to minimize tokens landing on them and vice-versa. The player who gets all the four tokens into the 98th block wins the game.

Ludo is often sold along with Snakes & Ladders, where one board has both these games on either sides of it.

3. Carrom

Carrom is a wonderful board game that helps you strengthen hand-eye co-ordination. In Carrom there are basically 20 coins or ‘discs’ with smooth surfaces. 9 black ones and 9 white ones.

One of the coins is slightly larger and heavier than the rest of the coins and is known as the ‘Striker’. The Striker is used to hit the other coins so that they fall into the holes located at each corner of the board.

There’s also a special coin known as the ‘queen’ which is red in colour. Potting the queen can sometimes win you the game. Though you also need to pot another coin on your immediate next try.

Otherwise the queen will return back to the board from your collection and will be back up for taking.

There are a few variations of the game played on a Carrom board. The classic one basically divides the players into two parties. One party tries to pot all black coins and the other one tries to pot all white ones. Whoever pots all their coins first, wins. The queen carries extra points.

4. Chess

Surely, you must have heard of the name Vishwanathan Anand. The most famous Indian Chess player.

He is one of the grandmasters of this wonderful game of wits and strategic planning. It’s easy to learn chess but very difficult to win at it if you don’t have the knack or the wits.

Chess is basically a two-player virtual war scenario where in each player is given an army of 16 pieces. Eight pawns, two Rooks, Knights and Bishops and one Queen and King. The board is made up of 64 blocks, 32 white ones and 32 black.

Each piece has a designated movement pattern that the players need to stick to. Throughout the game, the players try to eliminate each other’s pieces.

And the motive of the game is to trap the opposite player’s king, such that they can’t avoid the king’s elimination.

It might sound simple but when you actually get down in the ring, you realise its way more difficult. You need to be extremely observant of the opponent’s moves, and plan your order of moves accordingly.

5. Draughts

Draughts, also known as Checkers, is a game played on the same board as Chess. Which is an 8×8 board consisting of 32 black blocks and 32 white ones.

The game is played between two players. Each of them start with a total of 16 coins arranged as shown in the image.

You take turns to move your coins. Now the movement of these coins is always diagonally one box unless they are eliminating an opponent coin in which case they jump over the coin getting eliminated in the same line and land on the block behind it.

A coin can eliminate as many coins as they want in one go as long as the eliminations are continuous.

There are a few variants of this game that are played on a 10×10 board and 12×12 board, with equal numbers of black and white blocks.

The original variant played on an 8×8 board has a loophole that can cause the game to always end in a draw from the starting position, if both players make perfect moves.

Draughts also has competitive championships, so if you are really good at it you can even win yourself a Draughts championship.   

6. Monopoly

We all have played Monopoly. In India it’s also commonly known as ‘Vyapar’.

Monopoly is a breakthrough game that can be a very efficient way of learning business skills. It can be played between as many as 6 players.

The game starts with each of the player getting a designated amount of money that they can use to buy properties, pay rents, debts or to bail themselves out of jail. There are a lot of things that you can do in a game of Monopoly, and getting bored is not one of them.

Each player tries to acquire as many properties to keep earning money. At the same time trying their best to make other players lose all their money.

The game goes on till there’s only one player left that hasn’t went bankrupt who is deemed to be the winner.

There are variants of this game that can end in other circumstances as well.

This game is a great way of learning the importance of assets and financial planning.

You might want to invest in a board game like this if you want your kids to have a business mind-set in the future.

7. Scrabble

Scrabble is a board game for all of us who think they know a lot of words in the English language. You’ll never know how clueless you are about English language till you play a game of Scrabble with your friends.

Scrabble board game consists of a 15×15 grid with each of the box assigned certain points. 2 or 4 players can play this game at one time.

Each player is given a certain number of letters with each letters having designated points. In accordance to the box that each letter is used in, the points are calculated for each player.

It’s kind of a crossword puzzle where in you have to make eligible words that can be read from left to right or from top to bottom using the letters given to you. Way harder than what one would imagine it to be.

If you do read a lot of books, you might be a bit better than the rest at Scrabble, but that’s if you get the right letters.

8. The game of LIFE

This is one of the 1990’s board games that all kids in the era were crazy about. It may have lost some of its shine down the years but it’s still one of the most popular board games.

The TGOL’s popularity is due to the fact that this board game literally depicts life. You start from one place and according to your decisions you choose your paths throughout the game and that also decides where you are going to end up.

So the game basically depicts a person’s life according to their choices throughout the game. College life, jobs, retirement, marriages, having or not having kids, you have a lot of options to choose from and build your life.

You also need to manage your finances throughout the game or you could go bankrupt, which is basically an immediate disqualify. This is a very family friendly game that any parents can play with their children.

The most modern version of this game also contains smaller blocks for acquiring pets. In short, if you have kids causing a nuisance this game is bound to keep them busy for a long time.

9. Scotland Yard

This is a board game many people must have played but didn’t know what it was called. Well now you know it.

You’ll probably have a nostalgic moment if you remember that Scotland Yard advertisement they used to have on the TV during the early 2000’s. The game revolves around a fugitive named Mr. X, trying to escape a bunch of detectives.

This is a group board-game and needs at least 5 players for it to be fun. One of the players plays as the fugitive Mr. X while the rest of them become the detectives or police, looking for him. The board game is basically a map of London’s Scotland Yard.

There are a total of 199 locations on the board that are connected with bus routes, train routes, water ways and underground subways (Only accessible to Mr. X). The game starts with all the players being distributed 22 transport tokens.

These are needed to travel from one location to another. And each time a player uses a transport token they have to hand it over to Mr. X, so practically giving Mr. X unlimited travel tokens. The whereabouts of Mr. X are disclosed to the detectives only at certain times.

And all the detectives have to work collectively to try and catch the fugitive by landing on his location. It’s a compelling game of strategy and teamwork with a splash of mystery that even got it the ‘Spiel des Jahres’ (Game of the Year) Award back in 1983.

Mostly Scotland Yard is sold with the ‘Game of Life’ where the board had ‘Life’ on one side and Scotland Yard on the other.

10. Cluedo

Another murder mystery game for all the wannabe Sherlock Holmes. You can get that sense of suspense in your family time with Cluedo. This game basically revolves around a character named Dr. Black.

Dr. Black has been murdered and there are supposedly as many as six suspects. Now each player assumes the role of one of the six suspects and moves around on the board strategically.

Going around the game board that represent rooms of a mansion trying to find evidences in the rooms to try and figure out which of them is the murderer.

There are also clues about the murder and the players have to figure out which room the murder has happened in, when it happened, what was the murder weapon and many more things along those lines.

If you like murder mystery or any mystery books or stories for that matter, you are bound to love this game. It is the perfect blend of strategy and brainpower mixed with suspense, revelations and nail-biting twists and turns.

Cluedo can occupy children and even adults for hours together and believe us, you’ll never feel like stopping once you get the hang of it.

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