IT’S a great way to connect — or reconnect — and enjoy ourselves.
Most people go through phases in their lives that at some point includes playing board games. From Monopoly to RISK and Pictionary to Scrabble, the coming together for a couple of hours of dice rolling or card pulling to keep ourselves entertained has been a rite of passage.
No reason to stop now.
Games offer opportunities to interact with others, work as teams and generally keep our mind and body in shape.
While many of the old faves still sell well, new board games have started to make an impression since people want variety.
Daryl Chow, founder of Origame has been creating local card games that tap on Singapore icons, behaviour and cultural nuances.
The new games require some getting used to; you do have to think, but after a few rounds, it is enjoyable.
“It’s nice that the games are short. Our attention spans are shortening. But it also means we can play more games rather than one long one,” the former NTU linguistic lecturer explains.
Of the slate of games he has developed, some have become clear favourites.
“The public generally likes Durian Dash as it involved more strategic thinking. Though Kopi King has its fans,” he adds.
Daryl reckons games are not growing in popularity.
They’ve never lost favour but they continue to attract new audiences.
Dreaming Up Games
The games are thought up by Daryl who draws inspiration from daily life. The end results are relatable and are a great way to connect people with society.
The games reflect local culture and environmental concerns, which would appeal to a younger generation. Reef Rescue looks at saving the oceans. Wok and Roll leaves you in charge of ordering from a zhi zhar restaurant. The packaging reflects the theme: Wok And Roll looks like a zhi zhar take-away box.
Two of his games were created for schoolchildren. Home Beat and The Family Race were given at the end of the school term to all the primary school children. A great way for them to spend their holiday understanding the positive values that help forge stronger family ties.
In The Spirit Of The Game
As the game gets underway, there are hoots of laughter and the character of the players become more evident: The dominant and demanding one looking for an advantage; the quietly contemplative schemer; the blur one trying to keep up but always a few steps behind; the fixer, intent on mischievously cheating. It brings out the children in adults and is a good way of understanding the basic characteristics of the players.
Unlike digital games, the physical aspect of board games is more engaging, and judging by the reaction of children and adults it fosters a greater sense of camaraderie and gamesmanship, not to mention laughter and good-natured jibing.
Daryl didn’t expect his games to sell in large numbers in Singapore, but along came COVID-19 and the confining nature of the pandemic must have pushed more people to purchase lesser-known board games.
In a world of digital delights, Daryl is still intent on creating board games that bring people together. While some of the games could be converted for the digital realm, he is not exploring that option yet.
But as his games reach a wider audience, it could be a wonderful way for people to stay connected. Already Wok And Roll is doing well in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Origame games range from $20 for the popular Kopi King and Chope! to $40 for Rainforest City, a puzzle game.
The games are available online and at various outlets.