By Sophie Bokelmann
Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland, or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera.
Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of her or his “meeples” on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or
on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.
During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: “Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?” or “Should I use this tile to expand my city or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving her or him a hard time to complete her or his project and score points?”
Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one meeple on it, turns proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.
ROMANIA: Tintar / Moara (Morris)
By Miruna Baciu
Tintar originated in the Roman Empire. The Romans brought this game to Romania. It was an extremely popular game played by most children in Romania. It is the predecessor of tic- tac-toe and square chess. There are many references to this game throughout Europe. Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” mentions the Morris game.
The goal of the game is to make it so that your opponent only has 2 pieces or cannot make a legal move.
How to play the game:
- This game can only be played with 2 players.
- You start with the board, which has no pieces on it.
- Each player starts off with 9 pieces.
- You each take turns, strategically, putting the pieces on one of the ‘points’.
- You then start to move one piece each turn, with the goal of creating ‘Moara’, which means that there are three pieces in a row (doesn’t count if diagonally). Once this is achieved, you may take one of your opponent’s pieces.
- If you only have three pieces left, you may ‘jump’ with the piece of your choice, when it’s your turn. This means that instead of having to move only one point at a time, you may move wherever you wish on the board.
Notes to keep in mind:
- You cannot move a piece over more than one point.
- The pieces can only move on the lines.
- You should also anticipate what your opponent is planning, for you may be about to create a ‘Moara’ but they do so before you. When that happens, they take your piece.
- You can break up your Moara then create it again to take another of your opponent’s piece. But once a piece is outside the Moara, it is no longer protected.
- You cannot take a piece that is in a Moara.
- If you move your piece in the same position more than 3 times and you cannot take your opponent’s piece, then the game it tied.
HONG KONG, CHINA: Recreational Chess
By Yan Hoi Jacqueline Wong
Required tools: Background paper for the playground chessboard, 4 pieces of counters, dice.
Players: 2-4 people
Players start in the first frame, throw the dice, and play (move pieces) the number on the dice.
Part of the grid will have instructions, such as “move forward to a grid” or “back to a cell.” Players need to follow the instructions on the grid forward or backward.
The fastest player to reach the end wins.
CHILE: Los Gatos (The Cats)
By Isidora Inostroza Mora
Los Gatos is played throughout Chile, but mostly in the north zone of Chile. The game is played by children and teenagers every year on the anniversary of Chile on September 18.
The game consists of several cats made from various materials stacked on a table.
The player tries to knock over the cats with a ball. The player has 3 or 4 attempts to knock the cats over. If the player knocks over the cats, the player wins a prize.
PALESTINE: Book or Flower
By Marah Hegazy, Amina Mahmood, and Taqwa Mahmood
Minimum players: 4, Maximum players: 8 (depending on location and size of the play area)
Two players (tallest is optional) will put their hands up and join them together making a bridge for the other players to pass through.
The two players decide who is going to be book and who is going to be flower (without telling the other players who is who). Then, they choose a short song to sing.
The other players walk around and through the bridge made by the two players.
When the song ends, the two players put their hands (still joined together) down fast and catch one of the players.
Book and flower ask the person they caught “which do you choose, book or flower?” The person doesn’t know who is book or flower.
The person whispers an answer and depending on the answer the person caught goes behind the person they choose (either book or flower).
Repeat until every person is caught and all are either standing behind book or flower.
The team with the most people wins!
By Divine Ngunyanya
Choose 1 player to be the leader, and others stand in a semicircle, with the leader facing the player at either end of the group.
The leader and the player both clap hands. Then, they jump in place at the same time. As they jump, they each thrust one foot forward.
If the 2 players put the same foot forward, the leader is out and the player takes her or his place. If they thrust different feet forward, the leader moves to the next player and the same routine is repeated.
A point is scored every time the leader is successful. Every player takes a turn as a leader. The one who scores the most points wins.
By Januka Neupaney, Manoj Neupaney, Ajay Tamang, and Sashi Tamang
Carrom is a “strike and pocket” table game. The first player breaks, using his/her index finger, by flicking the striker in a forward direction towards the centre formation of the Carrom pieces (shooting backwards is not allowed at any point in the game). The first player to “pocket” a carrom piece will put the same color for the duration of the game. If the player pockets a carom piece he/she plays again, after replacing the carrom striker between a baseline. This continues until a player fails to pocket one of the pieces, then it is the opponent’s turn.
Carrom pieces can only be struck directly if they are not touching the player’s baseline or situated behind the baseline. If this is the case, the player must hit the carrom piece by rebounding the carrom striker off any side of the board or any other carrom piece on the board in a forward direction
The Red Queen
The red queen may be “pocketed” at any point in the game after the first piece has been pocketed, but before the last carrom piece is pocketed. If the red queen piece is pocketed, the player must then pocket one of his or her own carrom pieces. Should the player fail to pocket a piece, then the queen must be replaced in the centre of the carrom board.
The winner is the first player to pocket all of his or her carom pieces (and the queen if not already pocketed).
By Abdulrahman Abu-Hendi
Mancala is an ancient board game and there are numerous variants. This is a version of the basic game, known as two-rank Mancala and also known as Kalah. Mancala is played with 48 markers (or stones). The Mancala board is made up of two rows of six holes, or pits, each. If you don't have a Mancala board handy, use an empty egg carton.
Four pieces – marbles or stones – are placed in each of the 12 holes. Each player has a ‘store’ to the right side of the Mancala board. The game begins with one player picking up all of the pieces in any one of the holes on her or his side. Moving counter-clockwise, the player deposits one of the stones in each hole until the stones run out. If you run into your own store, deposit one piece in it. If you run into your opponent’s store, skip it. If the last piece you drop is in your own store, you get a free turn. If the last piece you drop is in an empty hole on your side, you capture that piece and any pieces in the hole directly opposite.
Always place all captured pieces in your store. The game ends when all six spaces on oneside of the Mancala board are empty. The player who still has pieces on her or his side of the board when the game ends captures all of those pieces.
Count all the pieces in each store. The player with the most pieces is the winner. Planning ahead is essential to victory in board games like Mancala. Try to plan two or three moves into the future and enjoy the game!
By Collette Plowman and Gabrielle Murphy
Conkers is a traditional children’s game in Britain played using the seeds of Horse Chestnut trees. The first recorded game of Conkers using Horse Chestnuts was on the Isle of Wight in 1848. The name “conker” is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself. From the 1850s using Horse Chestnuts was regularly referred to in certain regions. The game grew in popularity in the 20th century and spread beyond England.
A hole is made through a conker, which is threaded with a string or shoelace (about 25 cm long). Conkers is played between two people, each with a conker. Each player takes turns hitting their opponent’s conker using their own. One player lets their conker dangle at the full length of the string while the other player swings their conker. Players take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks.
The person who breaks the other person’s conker receives a point. Which could be the person with the attacking conker or the defending conker. A “none-er” is a new conker that has not broken another conker. If a “none-er” breaks a none-er, it becomes a one-er, if it was a one-er it becomes a two-er and so on.
The hardest conker usually wins. Hardening conkers is done by keeping them for around a year (aged conkers are called laggies or seasoners), baking them briefly, soaking or boiling them in vinegar, or painting them with clear nail polish. Such hardening is usually classified as cheating.
CANADA: Trivial Pursuit
By Mary-Beth Burry and Morgan Winsor
Trivial Pursuit was created in 1979 by Scott Abbott and Chris Haney, two members of the Canadian print media. For the next three years, they perfected the game and in 1984, it was a pop culture phenomenon. The game allowed for single or team play, and proved quite popular at parties and holiday gatherings.
When it is a player’s turn, that player takes the die and rolls it. That player or team moves the respective playing piece a number of spaces equal to the number rolled. When a playing piece lands on a coloured space, that player must answer a question from that category. One must answer a question correctly to continue one’s turn, which allows that player to roll the die and proceed further. The more questions that are answered on a turn, the greater the odds the player eventually will land on a pie space. When a question is answered incorrectly, a player’s turn is over.
Players begin in the middle of the board. These players can take one of six different paths out of the center of the board, which spread out like spokes on a wheel. Around the perimeter of the game board, there is a large circular path. This connects each pie piece to one another in one great circle. After initially reaching this outside portion of the game board, players remain on this outer rim until having collected all six pieces of the pie.
Between each piece of pie, there are seven additional spaces. These spaces are different colors from the two pie spaces in which they are between. Also, there are two “roll again” spaces in between each pie piece. Each space on the game board has a cultural image in it. These images are often of an event or person out of history or pop culture. Each edition has its own specific pictures, which are a large part of the artistic difference in each game set.
When a player correctly answers a question on a pie space, that person gains a piece of the pie. A player must win one pie piece of each color to proceed to the final phase of the game. Therefore, one playing piece must fill up before the endgame scenario starts.
By Gevrije Berisa
Marble games date from antiquity and ancient games were played with sea-rounded pebbles, nuts or fruit pits. A marble is a small, hard ball that is used in a variety of children’s games and it is named after the 18th-century practice of making a toy from marble chips. The names and rules of marble games are as varied as the localities and countries where they are played.
Use chalk or a string to draw a triangle in the middle of a flat space. The object of marble games is to roll, throw, drop, or knuckle marbles against an opponent’s marbles, often to knock them out of a prescribed area and so win against the opponent. Use as many marbles as can fit in the triangle. Players must take turns shooting from outside the triangle.
Knuckling is the act of placing a marble on the forefinger, balancing that finger or the bottom of the hand against the ground and shooting the marble outward with the thumb. The goal is to knock the marbles out of the middle or to knock the other players’ marbles.
The player with the most marbles at the end of the game wins!
By Myra Saaed, Neha Sheikh, and Areeba Hyder
Kho-Kho is a tag sport played by teams of twelve players who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team. It is played in South Asia (mostly Bangladesh, India and Pakistan) and South Africa, and ranks as one of the most popular traditional sports in India.
To play this game, you need as much open space as you can find (traditionally 27 meters by 15 meters); 2 poles or sticks, these are to go at either end of the pitch; ideally, 12 children (but any even number above six is fine), and a timer or stop watch.
To start the game, eye ball the middle of the field/space you are playing in, and put a pole, stick, or sweater on both ends of it. Split the Kho-Kho players into two equal teams, and then allocate/appoint one team as the “chasers” and one team as the “defenders”. Ask all the chasers to line up, on the middle of the field with the two poles at the end, facing in alternate directions, except one of them who would run around to catch the defenders. Let the defenders know that they just have to run around saving themselves from being caught by the chaser.
After everything is set up, the defenders enter the field in groups of three and need to avoid being tagged by a chaser – they can run anywhere on the field, but they’re out if they get tagged. The chaser at the pole starts and must try to tag one of the defenders on their side of the pitch. If a defender crosses the line to the other side, the chaser must tap the back of one of his teammates, who is sitting facing the other direction, and shout “Kho!” The teammate must then try to tag the defender and the standing chaser sits in the teammate’s place so only one chaser is chasing. Chasers can swap with a teammate every time the defender moves into the opposite side of the pitch or the chaser can run round one of the poles to get to the other side of the pitch.
The aim for chasers is to tag-out the defenders the fastest. The objective is to tag all the opponents in the shortest time possible; the quickest team wins!
By Hye Rim Oh, Xiaomei Zhang, and Yu Peng Yang
Tuho (투호) is a traditional Korean game that was originally popular among the royal families and the upper class. It requires players to throw sticks into a large, sometimes ornate, jar or canister from a distance.
The score is determined by the number of arrows in the jar. The player with the most arrows in the jar wins. The jars for playing Tuho may have several holes. The goal is to try to get the arrows in the main hole in the middle. The other holes don’t count, so if your arrows land there it would just be a waste of your energy!
Tuho is played to celebrate Korea’s New Year’s Day and Chuseok. Modern versions of Tuho are often played with a simple canister or jar and rubber-tipped arrows. It is now played by people from all social classes.
JAMAICA: Chinese Jump Rope
By Nyeka Buchanan
￼Chinese jump rope is a children’s game resembling hopscotch or jump rope. It is also known as Chinese ropes, jumpsies, elastics, yoki, or French skipping.
The game is played by 3 or more players using a string of rubber bands that has been tied
into a circle, at least 6 feet long. Two players (the holders) face each other several feet apart
and position the string around their ankles so that it is taut. The third player (the jumper)
stands between the two sides of the rope and must do a series of increasingly difficult
moves without making an error. The position of the string is raised as the jumper moves
through levels, from ankle to shoulder height and higher!
The game begins with choosing the jump pattern to follow and with the holders holding the rubber band around their ankles. There are many jump patterns and most are accompanied by a song. This is sometimes called the “first level”. The jumper tries to complete the chosen pattern. If the moves are completed successfully, then the rope is moved farther up and the series is repeated.
The moves involve jumping and repositioning the feet in some manner. Some of the more common moves are jumping so that both feet land outside the rope, both are inside the rope, one is inside and one is outside, or both are on top of the rope. These moves are called “out”, “in”, “side”, and “on” respectively, which the two other players chant as the jumper executes them.
There are many variations of the game that are played. Sometimes the rope is crisscrossed so that it makes an X, and the player must move his or her feet into different sections of the X in some pattern.
By Noor Chhatwal and Ajmer Singh
Ludo is a board game for two to four players, in which the players race their four tokens from start to finish according to die rolls. Like other cross-and-circle games, Ludo is derived from the Indian game Pachisi, but simpler. The game and its variants are popular in many countries and under various names.
At the beginning of the game, each player’s pegs are out of play and staged in one of the large corner areas of the board in the player’s colour (player’s yard). Each player rolls the die to enter a peg into play from its staging area to its starting square. A player must roll a 6. If the player has no pegs yet in play and does not roll a 6, the turn passes to the next player.
Once a player has one or more pegs in play, she or he selects a peg and moves it forward along the track the number of squares indicated by the die roll. Players must always move a peg according to the die value rolled, and if no move is possible, pass their turn to the next player.
When a player rolls a 6 she or he may choose to advance a peg already in play, or she or he may enter another staged peg to its starting square. The rolling of a 6 earns the player an additional “bonus” roll in that turn. If the additional roll results in a 6 again, the player earns an additional bonus roll. If the third roll is also a 6, the player may not move a peg and the turn immediately passes to the next player.
A player may not end his move on a square he already occupies. If the advance of a peg ends on a square occupied by an opponent’s peg, the opponent’s peg is returned to its owner’s yard. The returned peg may only be re-entered into play when the owner again rolls a 6. If a player’s piece lands on another of their own pieces, they are doubled and form a “block” which cannot be passed by any opponent’s pieces. Some variations permit such blocks to be passed by rolling a 6 or 1. The first player to reach the centre (or home) WINS!
By Fatuma Ayub, Ibrahim Ayub, and Yonis Ayub
You need 2 people to play this game. You need to make a board of 3 diagonal lines to connect 6 lines. You should have 8 small triangles (see picture above).
You need 6 counters, 3 of the same colour.
Place 3 counters (same colour) on one side of the board and 3 counters on the opposite side of the board.
One person starts first and moves one counter at a time.
The person who has all the counters on one side of the board (diagonally or horizontally) wins the game.
ERITREA: Police and Thief
By Amani Omar and Samar Abdulgader
To play this game, players need 4 small pieces of paper and a pen or marker.
The first player writes down 4 words – lawyer, thief, judge, and policeman – one each on 4 small pieces of paper.
The player folds the 4 small pieces of paper and mixes them up together. Then, each player picks one piece.
The player who picks the “policeman” tells the other players she or he is the policeman. The other players do not say who they are but wait for the policeman to discover the player who is the “thief”.
If the thief is caught by the policeman, she or he gets judged by the player who is the “judge”. A simple judgment could be to sing a song, jump 10 times, talk using only signs, etc.
After the judgment, (for example 10 jumps), the lawyer could lower the judgment to 5 jumps.
If the policeman doesn’t pick the thief but picks the judge or lawyer, he gets judged instead of the thief.
COLOMBIA: La Rana
By Yessica Garzon and Robinson Saavadra
La Rana can be played with two or more players. Each player must stand approximately 11 feet away from the game table. Each player or team takes turns tossing 6 brass rings at a time.
Points are awarded according to where the game brass rings lands. The goal is to throw
the brass ring into the mouth of the frog or La Rana, typically located in the middle of
the wooden table. You can also receive points for putting the rings in holes on the top of the box. Once all of the brass rings have been played, each player’s points are totaled. The player or the team with the most points wins.
Some attribute the origin of this game to an ancient Inca legend. In this culture the toads were revered for their magical powers. On holidays gold pieces were thrown into lakes. If a frog jumped and ate the piece, it turned to gold and the one who threw the gold piece was granted a wish. It was said that many wishes came true and the Inca ordered the construction of a large golden frog. It was a game with a dose of mystery and skill, where dance and joy mingled in a single rite.
La Rana is well known throughout Spanish countries, for example in Colombia, where the frog game is commonly played on every occasion.
CHINA: Shadow Play
By Sijin Chen, Ben Xiu Niu, and Hongfei Zhang
The Shadow Play is a traditional Chinese performance art. It is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create cut-out figures which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod, and laugh.
For the Shadow Play, you need shadow puppets, a white cloth, a stage, and a lamp. It needs 2-4 people to control the shadow puppets behind the white cloth.
Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a main character in the Chinese classical novel, “Journey to the West”. Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices.
To try Shadow Play at home, you need to print out the free printable onto 230 gsm white card stock (230 gsm is the maximum thickness that will go through a standard printer). Next, cut out the character templates individually. Cut out inside the shapes too - you may need to use a craft knife to do this.
The best part (for children) is colouring the puppets in with a black marker pen. It's not entirely necessary but will make the shadow puppets look more like shadow puppets. It’s also fun and easy for a small child to just colour the entire shape in black. They could also use paints to do this if you’re not averse to paint mess!
Once you have cut them out, use sticky tape to attach them to a bamboo skewer. You are now ready to put on your show!
CHINA: Chinese Jianzi (Jiànzi 毽子)
By Lingtong Meng, Bowen Wang, and Dan Dan Zhao
Jianzi (Jiànzi 毽子), Ti Jianzi (tījiànzi 踢毽子), or Jianqiu (jiànqiú 毽球) is a traditional Asian game.
In this game, players aim to keep a heavily weighted Jianzi in the air using their feet and other parts of the body (but not hands, unlike the similar games peteca and indiaca). This game, which goes by many different names, may be rules-based on a court similar to badminton and volleyball, or be played artistically, among a circle of players in a street or park, with the objective to keep the shuttle “up” and show off skills. During play, various parts of the body (except the hands) are used to keep the Jianzi from touching the ground. It is balanced and propelled upwards using parts of the leg and feet. Skilled players may employ a powerful overhead kick.
Do it yourself: To make your own Jianzi, you need a new plastic bag, a coin, a rubber band, and a pair of scissors.
Fold the plastic bag once and fold it again in half. Press it neatly by hand pressure. Fold it in half again, and then unfold the plastic and mark “x” in the centre. Start to fold from one end to the centre, then cut the folds into small strips. Repeat this step for the other side.
Place the coin in the centre of the “x”. Wrap the plastic bag over the coin and fasten it with the rubber band. Now you have your own Jianzi!