Sunday mid-day writers pit their divyastras against each other to ace a new board game themed around the Mahabharata
The game, which can be played by two to six players, takes you through the battle of Kurukshetra with each roll of the die. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Apart from the word-guessing card game Taboo, no other group or board game has, in several years, managed to get us to really sit down and play. In our mid 30s now, where juggling work and life already seems daunting, playing a game of saanp seedi, carrom or even ludo means carving out time. And is there enough time for anything, ever?
Reviewing the just-launched board game Ranbhoomi Kurukshetra, which attempts to simulate the events of the Kurukshetra war from the epic Mahabharat was a good excuse for the entire Sunday mid-day team to take a break from filing and editing. We focused on boardgame strategy for a change, and it was fun.
The objective of the game, like any war, is to survive till the end; but it’s also about who finishes first. The game has been created by Sutradhar, which has been working towards building and creating an entertainment, gaming and toys universe that draws inspiration from Indian mythology and history.
The players must strive, like in any war, to survive, and of course, finish first. Pics/Nimesh Dave
This game requires four elements—the board, a die, cards, and tokens. A minimum of two players and a maximum of eight can play. The tokens are of two shades—green and dark salmon; the latter representing the Pandavas with symbols for Bheema, Arjuna, and Abhimanyu among others; and the former the Kauravas such as Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa et al.
While it all begins with rolling the die, the gameplay, we must confess, is slightly complicated and requires referencing the rule book at all times, which can feel like a chore. If you find that too confusing, you can watch the tutorial on the Sutradhar app by scanning the QR code.
The board is an illustrative depiction of the 18-day battle of Kurukshetra. As the Pandavas and Kauravas move up the board, “events” are plotted to prevent them from going ahead. The pink and green ‘blocks’, can be countered by opponents using cards that signify either divyastras (divine weapons) or defensive weapons. Each block has its own set of functions—Block 89, for instance, is Karna’s last day where he fires the Bhargavastra.
Every player gets an equal number of cards to use as and when they arrive at a corresponding block. If you arrive at the block of your own team, you get to go one step ahead; but the opponent team’s block sends you back a step. The obstacles get more dangerous as you get closer to victory, sending you two or even three blocks back at times.
The gameplay lasted about 45 to 60 minutes, with a short break in between—because, work meeting—and the only man on our team, who also seemed most competitive, won. Our biggest problem was with the tokens—they are extremely tiny and blend into the board design such that we found it difficult to find our player more than once. For the price at which the board game comes, the creators could have done so much better.
Having said that, we appreciate the effort to bring to life an indigenous game rooted in Indian tradition. It’s a wonderful way to introduce children to the epics. Especially with the internet-savvy generation of children, the more inquisitive might easily go on the internet to read more about the events and terms they come across in the game.
WHAT: Ranbhoomi Kurukshetra (for kids seven and above)
PRICE: Rs 1,899
TO BUY: https://playranbhoomi.com/