Board gamers to gather at the The March of the Meeples in Mumbai

The March of the Meeples, a board gaming event opens this weekend in Mumbai

When was the last time you spent your weekend playing board games with friends or family? Tabletop India, a not-for-profit group started by city-based tabletop gamers, aims to bring lovers of board games, card games, war games, dexterity games, and role-playing games under one roof. With 22 members, the group is ready with their second big event, The March of the Meeples, this weekend (the first was held in April 2015 as part of World Tabletop Day).

A board game event organised at Creeda, Fort. Pics courtesy/Vikas Munipalle
A board game event organised at Creeda, Fort. Pics courtesy/Vikas Munipalle

“When people in India think of board games, they usually think of Ludo and Monopoly but there are a whole lot of games. In the eight-hour event, we offer board games for a fee. Most games are not easily available in India. We even teach those who seem interested,” says Vikas Munipalle, one of the organisers, who is a professional photographer.

A gaming session by Tabletop India at a Bandra pub last year
A gaming session by Tabletop India at a Bandra pub last year

“We wanted to promote board games in Mumbai. Apart from playing the game, the activity involves social interaction and physically meeting people for a game as opposed to making virtual friends, which I think is important,” says Munipalle, adding that the culture of playing board games as an organised group does not really exist in India while it is a popular concept in the West. “Most of these games are designed in Europe and the US. Germany hosts an annual three-day board game festival. There are board game cafés as well. Mumbai got its first board game café called Creeda, located in Fort, last year. So, things are changing. We hear India is going to start designing games as well but it hasn’t happened yet,” says the 31-year-old.

For those familiar with the games, there will be Splendor and Settlers of Catan tournaments. On offer will be snacks, and hot and cold beverages that will be available all day. The event is open to all age groups. “It’s a common misconception that board games are for children. While we do have some board games for kids (as people bring their children along) most
games are cerebral. Each has its level of difficulty, which is described in weights.

We have lightweight, medium as well as heavy weight games. A few board games can go on for 12 hours too,” he adds.

On: March 27, 12 noon to 8 pm
At: YWCA, Asha Kiran, 53, (next to Azad Nagar Metro), JP Road, Andheri (W).
Cost: Rs 400
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What is a Meeple?

A meeple is a little wooden character representing a player in many modern board games. Alison Hansel coined the word in 2000 during a game of Carcassonne when she fused “my” and “people” to describe the wooden figures  used by players

Top 5 games to catch

>> Agricola: Farm your little plot of land, grow wheat, vegetables, and raise children along with breeding sheep, pigs, cattle, horses in this farming simulation. Agricola is the equivalent of Farmville (played online) in board games.

>> Codenames:
A new party game, Codenames involve two spymasters who need to give clues to help their team select their other team members from a tableau of 25 names. There is an assassin hidden behind one of those names, and the team that chooses the assassin loses immediately.

>> Pandemic:
Here, four to five players choose roles as a medic, transporter, doctor, or researcher and work to save the world from four contagious diseases. Everyone wins, or everyone loses in this tense, cooperative game.

>> The Sheriff of Nottingham:
As a humble merchant, you need to bluff or bribe your way past the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham. Your bargaining skills need to be used here.

>> The Voyages of Marco Polo:
Criss-cross Asia as Marco Polo and one of his contemporaries. Based on Polo’s experience in China, this game will have you gripped from beginning to end as adventure, wealth, and the Great Kublai Khan await you.

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