What Popular Board Games Were Invented In India


India is known for its rich history and traditional culture, but what many people don’t know is that India is also the birthplace of some of the world’s most popular board games. Some of the most famous include chess, chaturanga and pachisi. Each game was invented by a different Indian inventor or regional ruler, representing elements of their own culture and values and radiating throughout the world.

Chess as we know it today was born in India around 500 CE. This game was adopted by Persian rulers who admired it so much they took it westward on trade routes to Persia and to Europe. The original Indians version had different names in different regions and was often played with several players instead of two like today.

Chaturanga is widely recognized as one of the oldest strategic board games in existence, having been invented in India sometime before 700 CE. This game consists of four divisions”the elephant division, horse division, chariot division, and foot soldier division”and exists as an ancestor to both American checkers and chess. It spread into China by way 600 CE where it was known as si hu or “four abilities” (think: wisdom, strength, strategy and energy). Through trade further south in Indonesia during 800 HE, Chaturanga became a precursor for chess-like sets on Indonesia islands such as Java Island (where their local name for this game is chadatan)

Pachisi is perhaps one of the oldest board games still played today”it’s estimated to have been around at least 1500 years ago! In medieval India however , Pachisi served a darker purpose: entertainment for royalty out of sight from public view .The goal involves moving all your pieces around the board according to specific dice rolls while blocking your opponent’s pieces from progressing any father along its path. The final circle which each piece must return to before its team can win represents life’s spiritual journey back to unity with Universal Consciousness.

Thanks to these inventive game makers centuries ago , India has left an incredible legacy behind for generations to enjoy ! From enhancing war tactics or social interaction skills or translating spiritual philosophies like Chaturanga does , these ancient popular board games are remind us just how long ago cultures were already practicing creative play long before computers were invented .

Historic Evolution of Indian Board Games

Ancient India is known to have invented some of the most popular and enduring board games in the world. One of the earliest and best-known board games from India is known as Pachisi which dates back to at least 4th century BCE. This Indian version of a race game involved players moving pieces around a cross-shaped gameboard, typically marked with triangles, circles and squares. The player who moved their piece from their starting point first was declared the winner. Later variations of this game included use of dice and different ways for pieces to move across the board, including hopping over other pieces.

The historic Mughal Empire also left its mark on Indian Board Games giving rise to simpler variations such as Snakes and Ladders, originally called ‘Mokshapat’ meaning ‘paths to salvation’ or ‘Gyanbazi’ meaning ‘Brain Game’ in Hindi. Other popular Mughal influenced board games include Thayam (an intricate bluffing game) Chaupar (akin to Pachisi) Junga (a three player dice game) Chess and Ludo (similar in structure to Backgammon).

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Fast forward to modern times, where India has continued producing popular board games with creative yet simple rules designed especially for family gatherings or parties. Such modern examples include Antakshari (the musical guessing game), Paplu (a card game similar to Rummy with Hindu Mythology themed cards), Shikara (a team based strategy race played on an 8×8 grid) and Labyrinth Race (which consists of solving puzzles inside a puzzle box). With so many options for fun activities involving players, these games have become one of the quintessential components for any social gathering across Indian society.

In-Depth Look at the Popular Board Games

One of the most popular board games invented in India is called “Ludo.” This game has a cross-shaped board with four movable points. Players roll a dice to move their pieces on the board around the shape and back to their starting position before any of their opponents finish first. The winner is determined by whoever gets all of their pieces home first.

Another popular Indian board game is Snakes and Ladders, which was invented by the same Hindu poet who created Ludo. On this version of the classic game, players take turns rolling a die and advancing along colored squares until they reach a ladder or snake, which changes direction either up or down respectively. This is seen as an interesting metaphor for good fortune in life, where one can ascend through achievement or descend through bad luck just like on this gameboard.

A two-player strategy board game was also invented in India called Pachisi – an ancient combat strategy played on a sanded kite-shaped patterned cloth drawn out like a large chessboard. The rules are similar to both checkers and backgammon as each player controls four symbol-tipped counters while they race to get them all around the board and into the center before their opponent does.

Finally, India created a dexterity game similar to jacks called Poshampa or “five steps” that involves manipulating five small round stones placed over five equally-spaced holes located at different angles within an outer circle. Players must take turns deftly scooping up all five stones in succession from one hand to another without dropping any – it’s believed this combination of skillful coordination and mental concentration have always been an entertaining favorite among young children in India throughout history.

Interviews From Game Developers and Designers

Board games have always been part of a vibrant and thriving culture in India, with several popular games having originated in the South Asian country. Many of these long-standing board game titles continue to be enjoyed, as well as inspiring new generations of gamers.

To gain better insight into how these classic Indian board games have impacted the gaming industry in India, it is beneficial to reach out to local board game developers and designers for their thoughts. Through interviews and conversations, their perspectives on the matter can be highlighted and shared with broader audiences.

The tales from expert creators are sure to include not just their experiences of developing or designing such games, but also reveal insights about shifting trends over time. This could include changes in theme or mechanics as new cultural influences blended with traditional gameplay features. Ideas about how innovative local gameplay elements have interjected energy into gaining international attention for evolving board game markets can also be brought forth by board game developers and designers.

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Their contributions not only provide an enriching platform that help understand past and present trends; but most importantly they serve to inspire future innovators eager to learn more and adventure into unexplored areas that further develop the gaming industry in India.

Modern Influences on the Board Gaming Industry

The board gaming industry is undergoing a significant transformation due to various popular trends and influences. The emergence of modern technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and more have greatly impacted the board gaming industry. While technology has greatly improved the capability of game developers to create original titles with stunning visuals and sound effects, it also has provided players with greater control over their gaming experience by introducing digital versions of classic games.

Another major influence on the board gaming industry are online platforms such as Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator, which allow players to access hundreds of different titles through their devices. This not only provides friends or family spread across the globe a much larger variety of game types to choose from but also encourages game designers from all different countries to develop their own creations and share them with the world.

Finally, mobile apps are playing an increasingly important role in promoting board games among younger generations through curated collections like Carcassonne for iOS or Skip-Bo for Android. These collections make it much easier for users, especially those who are unfamiliar with traditional board games, to discover some of the great titles available today while keeping convenience in mind since they can be played anytime, anywhere.


In India, popular board games date back thousands of years. The game of Chaupad was created around 500 BCE and promises to provide hours of entertainment as players try to outwit each other in a race to catch all four corners of the board. Chausar was also invented in India during the same period and is still played today with its distinctive “king” piece. Pachisi is the classic Indian game and has traveled far from India, originating between 800-400 BCE. It is similar to a game of Ludo where players attempt to bring their tokens around the board and move into their safety squares. As for strategy games, Shatranj has been mentioned as one of the oldest chess type games dating back some 1500 years ago. These popular board games have stood the test of time and remain sources of entertainment for people into this day! If you would like to learn more about these classic board games, there are plenty of resources available online.

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