The 5 Board Games that Pakistanis Love


In the 90’s, daddy-cool took me to a local toyshop. Of course the man in charge knew me well, I had spent my time there buying off every Batman action figure variant that he had. My excursions became unfruitful therein and after. The shopkeeper decided the time had come to introduce me to Spiderman, a better equipped character that was slowly gaining traction. Spiderman never had that grayscale feel to it nor was Peter Parker a brooding sociopath who doubled as a superhero. The man in charge slipped a fundamentally flawed notion in my father’s head one day. The time had come to divert my attention toward things that had binary results, where you either won or lost. I was acquainted with the following board games that I believe many Pakistanis still love:

1. Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders GameThis board game is based on a simple platonic relationship between snakes and ladders. The players start off with taking turns on getting a six-faced dice to enter the realm and begin the 100 block journey beginning with one. The ladders in between act as direct portals to numbers closer to 100. The snakes act as black-holes that suck you back to where you started from. Snakes and Ladders originally was found in India as part of a family of dice board games that included Gyan chauper and pachisi. Gyan Chauper is now known as Ludo.

The board game was known in the subcontinent by the name Moksha Patam. It was a representation of traditional Hindu philosophy contrasting Karma (destiny) and Kama (desire). For many years the game has been interpreted and used as a tool to teach the effects of good deeds versus bad. The British took the board game to England and sold it as Snakes and Ladders. In America the basic concept was introduced as Chutes and Ladders. The next time you roll that dice, do think about what you might be in for!

2. Ludo

The recent infamy that Ludo Star has earned by edifying the number of backlit screen addicts is questionable. Ludo used to be an extremely addictive board game back in the day. It is not surprising that it remains to be as addictive. The quest is simple and very close to how you went by in Snakes and Ladders. It is also very common to find the two games on either side of a board together. As soon as a player gets the number 6 on his/her dice, the first token (goti) is out to complete an entire run across the four squares of the board. The trick in this board game is to move the right goti at the right time.

Ludo is loosely based on pachisi and was played by many Mughal emperors including Akbar himself. The origin of the game is not entirely known but is said to have been introduced in the caves of Ajanta in India. It is still unknown whether the game was invented by Buddhists or Hindus. Whatever the case maybe, it is an instant favorite.


3. Scrabble

My favorite of the lot. Owing to my hexed luck and my lack of sense of competition where a situation was constructed out of chance, Ludo and Snakes and Ladders was not exactly my piece of cake. Scrabble on the other hand is your all in mind bender from beginning till the end. Each player starts off with 7 or 9 letters that are denoted a power in numbers that are added up once a word is complete. The game is divided in a 15×15 grid and works on the same principles as a crossword only without the guessing cues. Scrabble is a product of Mattle and sold more than 150 million sets worldwide. It is still in production of course.

4. Monopoly

Monopoly Game
You could hear Karl Marx swiveling uncomfortably in his grave when anyone played this game. This board game was particularly important since my parents thought that the economy was hitting a down low and a second Great Depression was imminent. I remember my mother sitting me down one day and telling me about how Bruce Wayne owned resources such as Wayne Enterprises and what exactly was an enterprise. It was all thanks to that board game that I would basically abhor in the coming days. The goal is to roll two die and move your token to attain cash and other opportunities all the while trying to bankrupt your opponent. Monopoly is based on Henry George’s economic ideas and is essentially a mockery to monopolization and unequal distribution of wealth.

5. Zero Kaata (Tic tac toe)

Tic Tac Toe
Although this does not qualify as a board game per se it was and still is a much loved game. The idea was is to make a grid with six tiles that are to be filled with either an X or an O. The agenda is to bring about three of your chosen mark in a horizontal, vertical or a diagonal pattern. This game serve as decadence in classrooms since many students wager many personal items on winning. To control such underground casino joints, teachers find ways to question the moral aspect of the game. It is still widely played whatever maybe the concern

Here are your five board games from the 90’s that you’ve passionately played. For generation X and Y, it is easily imaginable and might send them in a nostalgic overdrive. For baby-boomers, you can find these board games on your ipads or your smartphones.

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