Barcelona 2002 Colloquium

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Board Games in Academia V


V. Balambal

Folk board games of strategy in Tamilnadu

The rural people of Tamilnadu in India play different types of board games during their leisure time to forget their workload or for enjoyment. There are three categories of games in which (1)physical strength, (2)chance and (3) strategy play important roles respectively. Among these, the number of games in which strategy plays good part is less.

Most of the games of strategy are played indoor and their boards are square, triangular and star in shape. As in many other folkgames, in these strategic games too, the boards could drawn onthe floor (inside & outside the house) or on a card board, or on wood.The game pieces are also not costly; any available solid material could be converted into game pieces.It is not an expensive game at all. Because of migration of ruralfolk to cities & towns these folkgames are also played in urban areas. In modern times, well designed boards and nicely shaped game pieces are available in the bazaars.

There are many kinds of square-board games in which three or four equal number of game pieces are used by each player; unequal number of pieces in triangular board games; and nine game pieces used by the only one player in star board game. This research aims at presenting the traditional folkgames being played in Tamilnadu in India in a systematic way and their interesting features. Each move is a straregy and the player has to calculate his opponent's strength & weakness and try to over power him. In these games the players use strategy instead of physical strength and chance. It is interesting to note that the illiterate brethern in the rural areas do play this game in an able manner; they are very calculative in their moves. Apart from being a pastime, these games reveal the socio-economic conditions of the players too.

The rules and regulations to be followed, and the method of playing the square, triangular and star shapped boards are discussed in detail with the help of the tools. The main sources are collected from different individuals who play these games. The author of this paper herself plays all the games analysed in this paper.

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