Hasbro introduces new board games in Tamil

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It may surprise you that the board games that are experiencing a resurgence have been popular for thousands of years around the world. About five thousand years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia when the world was more dependent on human interactions than on the virtual world, board games were the primary source of entertainment. They were race games and war games and while race games had a lot to do with the player’s luck, the latter involved tactical moves, like Chess or Go. And with the advent of the printing press in the 15th century, these games became attractive with more colours and narratives only to hit a huge boom post the 20th century economic boom after the Second World War.

We may call it a comeback – thanks to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns when the family relished playing board games just like our childhood days. Monopoly came out of the shelf and we loved those Hungry Hungry Hippos marbles.

Mass-market games like Connect Four, Candy Land, Monopoly and Trouble, never lost their popularity, even with the invention of video games and mobile apps. Probably, because a thing that has a physical presence has more ability to excite us. It is this popularity of board games, that the brands are going regional with the presentation of games. A popular gaming brand Hasbro has launched a host of games in the Tamil language with complete packaging, instructions, elements of the board games and action cards in the ancient language. In fact, we learn that this is the first time that board games have been launched in a Southern regional language. “These games can be played in Tamil from start to end and it is a unique proposition of this offering. The entire family can come together and play Monopoly, the Deal Card game version as well as the Game of Life in the Tamil language. We are proud to bring the rich culture of Tamil Nadu in these games,” says Lalit Parmar, Commercial Director – Hasbro India, with whom we spoke earlier this week to know more about the regional approach to the traditional games, the market and how in the time of digital gaming, board games will make their space in homes.

He tells us that these games are made and manufactured in India which helps local sourcing and manufacturing resources in India. “These games ensure that everyone has great fun moments while playing in the Tamil version. In the classic monopoly and deal card games one can buy, sell and trade properties in towns and cities in Tamil Nadu,” says Lalit and adds that the games include towns like Thanjavur, Chennai, and Coimbatore among others with exciting action cards and several fun iterations.

Fusing the Tamil language in the traditional board games, the traditional design elements, however, still remain intact with the Tamil version of the games. “Tamil consumers can have the same experience as they have in English as the basic play pattern remains the same. We have added a few nuances and cultural adaptations to the game to make it more culturally relevant,” he says and adds that parents want to pass on these games to their next generation and it brings nostalgia so these games are anchored strongly in the households even in the time of digital gaming options. “Parents can encourage their children to read, speak and teach Tamil all while playing the game so it’s not only about playing and enjoying but also about learning along the way.”

Lalit Parmar 

At a time when family members are hooked to their electronic devices and personal spaces, board games can be a way to spend quality time together. These games also come with challenging specifics that encourage learning while playing. For instance, Game of Life will encourage the player to think critically and make his own decisions. Monopoly, on the other hand, helps to understand the value of trade, math and communication. But is this a child of a pandemic since the board games were reintroduced during the lockdown? “It is true but we also wanted to broaden our consumer base.  The idea was to ensure the best play experience and extend it to vernacular languages and Tamil Nadu has an affinity towards their mother tongue so there was a need for this offering,” says the director.

While there are more opportunities to play all the board games online, Lalit says there is nothing that can take away the face-to-face gaming engagement with family and friends. “In spite of all the adaptations and technological advent, board games are complementary in nature and nostalgia is the most important factor here,” Lalit says in conclusion. 

The list of games available in Tamil language includes Monopoly Deluxe Edition, Jenga, Battleship, Monopoly India Edition, Monopoly Junior Peppa Pig, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and exciting, quick-playing card games like Monopoly BID, 5 Alive, Rook, the Classic Card Game range (Clue, Battleship, Connect 4 and Guess Who?).

Price: Rs 1,199 onwards. Available online.

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