CHENNAI: Crashing Jenga blocks, players yelling ‘pictureka!’, heated games of Taboo and Scrabble were what one witnessed at the board game evening launch at the Folly Amethyst. Presented by Amethyst Café, Brigge and Bambaram, the evening was a vibrant meet of the city’s gaming enthusiasts.
Talking to City Express about the initiative, Murali Satagopan, co-founder of Brigge said, “Brigge is a platform that connects people with similar interests and we wanted to bring together people who love board games. When we put this on the app, over 35 people joined. It’s a way of telling and showing them that there are so many out there who share a similar interest. It’s also a way of bringing back the board gaming culture.”
As the evening began, Santhosh Subramanian, founder of Bambaram, India’s first toy lending library, hosted the game Scattergories. Sounds interesting? Well, it sure was! The participants were asked to write down things under different categories like: ‘Things that are worn above the waist’ and ‘Things that are found in a safari’ starting with the letter ‘P’. The participants were clubbed in pairs of two, and came up with some zany answers, leaving all of us in splits throughout the 30-minute session.
“We wanted to break the ice before moving on to the other group games. Our aim is to build an active board gamer’s community here,” said Santhosh. Pointing to the origin of board games to the era of emperor Krishnadevaraya, he says, “Board games here have become like an occasional indulgence. The irony is that it originated in India. These games can stimulate our mind and there’s a theory of multiple intelligence in it,” he added.
Now comes the interesting part, the classic board games! As new boxes of these games were passed among players, we decided to try our hand in the fun-yet-not-so-easy game of Pictureka. The aim of the game is to find a variety of things on the two-sided, nine tiled board like four snakes, wires with plugs, furniture and oh well, the list is endless. As we rolled the dice, and picked up one of the 150 cards (split into three colours: Green, blue and red) which indicated five pieces of furniture, believe it or not…we didn’t find a single furniture piece on the board! ‘What sorcery is this,” we thought. “Don’t worry, this game is delusional. Most times even if the object is right in front of us, we hardly see it,” consoled a fellow player, as we realised that the point of the meet was interpersonal experience. Murali said, “These days Taboo is being played from an app on the phone. If friends come over, we watch a movie or do something digital. We want to bring in a change. Next time someone comes home, play a board game! We want people to come back to the real world.” As the first session of the board gamers meet at Amethyst came ended, Santhosh said, “Now that everyone knows how fun these games are, bring your friends and play over a cup of coffee. We’re also planning to have a weekly or fortnightly meet like this.” Game on!!