Get on board
Two Mumbaikars are set to launch apodcast that aims to be aresource for agrowing number of board gamers who would rather roll the dice than tap away at their screens
So much of what happens around us is cyclical. The thrill of going up a ladder and the sinking feeling of slithering down a snake's tail was an inseparable part of growing up for many, as was the sound of literal plastic money earned with a good decision in the game of Business.
But that got replaced with the beeps of video games, and before we knew it, gaming became a personalised app on the phone, changing the very reason one indulged in play.
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Now, to reclaim the social nature of this classic leisure- time pursuit, and the need to consciously reduce one's screen time means board games are making a comeback — with designers creating new, evolved avatars; friends pitching in to buy an expensive game for weekend sessions; families spending quality time over the roll of the dice; and strangers bonding over a shared love of board games in cafés and taprooms that now stock a variety for every mood and age.
Priyam Bhushan walked into one such café in Vile Parle earlier this year, and had much to talk about with owner and fellow avid board gamer Ronak Chitalia. With over . . . games, many of which Chitalia picked up on his travels abroad, the café hosts patrons not just from surrounding areas, but also from Bhandup, Mulund and Navi Mumbai — an indicator of a small, but steadily growing community of board gamers in Mumbai. And to address this community in the city and across India, Chitalia and Bhushan have teamed up to launch The Indian Boardgame Podcast later this week.
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"Board- gaming as a hobby is picking up in India. But there is no cohesive resource for the interested to know about the latest information on it or about gaming events in the city. Besides, many people want to play new games, but online suggestions [can be generic]. We want to tell our listeners about the array of games that they can try, and make recommendations based on what works in India and what doesn't," says Chitalia. He further explains that while games with thick rulebooks are popular in the West, social deduction games on the lines of Mafia with simpler rules appeal to Indians. The first podcast will be an introduction to the world of board games, and their many kinds.
"There are games for every mood. While I usually play heavy games [with complex rules], I also enjoy picking up shorter format games to unwind," explains Bhushan, a doctor by profession. " One of our first podcasts will also include our top . . gateway [introductory] games," she adds. India's own rich history of these games will find its way to the podcast, too, as will conversations with designers who are now creating new- age Indian versions such as MahaYodha and Seekers of Astrod. Many of these designers have their monthly meet- ups at Chitalia's café.
Priyam Bhushan and Ronak Chitalia
So, board games seem to have come full circle in India. "We see value in playing these games, putting our mind to the test and making new friends," shares Bhushan. Chitalia agrees. "People need relief from their screens. There are only so many Netflix series you can binge- watch."
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