GAMESCHOOLIN: Top Board Games and Card Games for Families in India 2021

🎲 🏫 It is back-to-school time for many, so to kick off a new year of learning I thought I’d do a fun new series. If you’re looking to shake things up and add more fun to your homeschool routine, I have you covered. Introducing #GAMESCHOOLIN, a new series featuring some of India’s best game publishers and brands. *drumroll please* 🥁

A year spent indoors has caused board games to make a huge comeback and a lot of families are dusting off games from the back of the shelf and sitting around the table again.

So what on earth is gameschooling? “In the homeschool community, gameschooling means to use gaming in an intentional way to work on academic (and non-academic) skills while boosting family connection and making memories to last a lifetime.

We’ve always had games as part of our toy shelf, but the #lockdown really took the #gameschool love to a new level, because it was the BEST way for us to stay connected to each other and cough look each other in the eye again (You know who I’m talking about. 😁)

As a game lover and a parent who’s researched and invested in quite a number of games for Z, I wanted to share our experience with this super popular game category— what works, what makes the best sense to buy, in hope that it will help you make an informed choice for your families.⠀
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#GameschoolIN is all about games that are available to the INdian market. Get it? 😁 The series is going to feature homegrown 🇮🇳 game publishers, brands, and gamers in this space, and it’s going to be an honest review, from both a kid and adult’s perspective of play, design genius, and learnings. And if that doesn’t excite you enough, there’s more. There are 5 weeks of game features bringing you the best ones in the Indian market and a chance to win them all. Excited? 🥳Well, I certainly am!⠀⠀
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Dancing Duck Games

@DancingDuckGames is a tabletop game company that aims at bringing international strategic games to India that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Founded by Neha Tantia, a passionate board gamer, Dancing Duck Games partners with some European publishers to bring their games to India as a way of making board games more affordable and accessible in India. She hopes to positively impact the lives of as many people as she can with the help of board games. They have a small but carefully curated set of games and we had a blast playing Grand Bois, our top favorite of the lot).

Grand Bois: A super fun tile-laying game where players represent secret forest clans and hoard golden chestnuts.🌰

You and your clan must fight for control over the Forest of GrandBois by having the most presence and the most well-placed lookout tower.

Game Highlights:
💚 Beautiful colorful and immersive illustrations
💚Simple and original tile laying mechanism
💚Great depth of play
💚An ideal game for family game night
💚Gets you thinking strategically in a fun competitive way
💚 Math learning opportunities aplenty : matrix, adjacency, graphs, counting, addition and so much more!
💚 our personal favourite game from @dancingduckgames has got to be this.
💯 recommend.

Please use code GAMESCHL10 for a discount store-wide on @dancingduckgames on dancingduckgames.com/

Chameleon : A fun tropical themed card game from @dancingduckgames & a party game for all ages. You have 54 cards + one wild card. Players have to race to match their target card (all 3
Elements- colour, picture and number) with the cards dealt. You can obviously level up and call the shots in an adult party game setup! 😉 You could repurpose these as number playing cards for kids, and more. 💡

Players: 2-7

Skills learnt: Pattern recognition, set collection, colour recognition, calling dibs.

Wondrbox

@TheWondrBox, a potpourri of age-specific, fun-filled activities kits that help kids learn and excel through mind-exercising puzzles, crafts, and engaging innovative DIYs.

If vehicles fascinate your little ones, check out “Rush Up” a board game based on cars, rooted in STEM with a focus on Math.
You get three car sticks and a scoreboard with six different cars at the start of the game. There is a start car stick. And the first one to score ten points for all the six types of cars win the game. It is not as easy as it sounds though!
What we like about Wondrbox:
• Engaging games that are perfect for family night and kids’ playdates.
• Boost the cognitive and logical skills.
• Specially curated age-specific play and learn activities
• Affordable & Made in India

Ionica’s Toys

At the heart of #GameschoolIN is the freedom to have fun while learning- academic and non-academic skills. But that doesn’t mean you need the fanciest learning aids. There’s a lot of easy, no-prep play possible. (Case in point : the dice game ideas shared here)

@ionica_toys is a one-stop shop for a lot of my school supplies and we love so many of their educational games.

Sensory Play Co

💗💙 LENU Alphanumeric Card Game💙💖

LENU was created to help children learn basic words and equations through fun and engaging card game play.The aim of the game is to score points by creating equations and spelling words with the LENU card.

✅Brain Game For All Ages!
✅Fun educational tool for all classrooms and homes!
✅Develop fluency in numbers and words through fun game play!
🎲Recommended for ages 6+ but equally interesting for younger ones who have learnt to recognize numbers and letters.

🧠 Brain game for all ages

Yes Papa Games

Did you know, @yespapagames is a Chennai-based game company that is the first of its kind in the game publishing industry? No? Me neither. I came across this small team of passionate gamers recently and the passion to share the joy of tabletop gaming is evident from the conversations I had with them. They make award-winning international games at an affordable price, and all #MadeinIndia. They also host free game camps in communities (pre-pandemic) and are always looking to spread the gameschoolIN joy around. I’m super thrilled to have them as part of #GAMESCHOOLIN.
We’ve played a few of their games so far and been truly loving it. In fact it’s our winding down ritual these days, which kinda explains the dimlit 💡 videos.

🐻 Papa bear offered us so much mental practice while keeping it competitve enough for both the adults and kid to play together.

🚦 Right turn, left turn gives you a life lesson in direction and I assure you it’s not as easy as it seems. All the games are definitely more fun than what the game rules might imply.

🎉 Perfect party game package. It would be awesome to play with a huge crowd as well.

Head to boardgamesindia.com to see their latest and greatest games.

What we like about the store:
❤️Prices as low as 399
❤️Amazing quality, #madeinIndia games
❤️Games that truly deliver the “Freedom from Gadgets” promise.
❤️Mind-blowingly wide range of game selections that cater to every gaming enthusiast out there
❤️Seemingly simple game plays, that make shake up your brain cells.
❤️Partnerships with many international publishers and acquired license for 100+ Board Games and Card Games, they are always releasing new games

💯 Highly highly recommend boardgamesindia.com, a one-stop page. Check them out. You can use GAMESCHOOLIN for a whopping 15% off on all games on this page: https://www.boardgamesindia.com/made-in-india till 31/8/2021 🛍 🛒

Cluehunt.in

From playing Sherlock to pretending to be Harry Potter to evading mummies to defusing bombs, escape rooms allow you to live your fantasies. One of the first #escaperooms to open in Mumbai was ClueHunt.in 2013.

Keeping up with the times, @cluehuntmumbai is now available virtually for everyone to take part in. You’re locked in a room with 2-8 other guests and together you look for clues and solve a bunch of puzzles as a team to complete your mission. 🕵️‍♀️

Zoe tried the simplest game they had: Space Adventure, and it was fun for him. 🥳
Age: 5+ with an assisting adult for tech help

🔑There were ~7 puzzles to complete which took him around 30 mins
🧩 Good mix of logical puzzles that involved sensorial inputs
💻Well-structured, challenging and stimulating
🥳Good game experience for virtual party guests
🎲 Variety of games such as Secret Agent 09: The Lockdown Mystery, Great Indian Heist etc.,. all based on popular escape room game formats.

Check them out at  cluehunt.in.

Chalk and Chuckles

Board games can “teach” kindness and empathy? Yes way! 💕

Chalk and chuckles creates games that teach what textbooks can’t – a love for learning, connection & EQ. @chalkandchuckles is a small women-owned and women-run company founded by two sisters- Prachi, an Educational Psychologist & Pallavi. We have tried so many of their toys — their brilliant puzzles, (check #thinkintoys for a look at that) their #homeschool games and resources for Math, Language, etc.,. and now their board and card games. They focus on making games that the whole family can enjoy together – It’s fun first but there’s always room for learning.

As a parent who believes that teaching kindness is as (if not more) important as academics, I love that all their games step in to support and nurture the seeds of kindness in little people’s lives. Whether it is a low or high effort, planned or spontaneous, every single act of kindness matters and I love that all their games offer much room for reflection.

If you’re looking for EQ-rich games you must check them out.

Threads of love

It was pure nostalgia playing the five stones game and teaching that to the kiddo. These fabric stones stuffed with rice grain are from @threadsoflove.byrohini and are beautiful for sensory play. We enjoyed the other fabric game boards with several games such as aadu puli aatam, tic tac toe and more. The goli puzzle mat you see here is a sensory maze game. Single player games such as these promote fine motor skills and they are a fun way to keep traditions alive, don’t you think?

Threads of Love was born out of a sewist mom’s passion to whip up creative , quirky and innovative children’s products. While their products span across various interesting categories, what really caught our fancy was their sensory and stimulation toys for babies and games for kids that include traditional games from across the world, but with their own twist added to it, which makes it more appealing n interesting to the new age kids!!

Ancient Living

I was today years old when I learned to play the pallanguzhi (பல்லாங்குழி | ಅಳಗುಳಿ ಮನೆ | പല്ലാങ്കുഴി) #GAMESCHOOLIN!

The game is played by two players, with a wooden board that has fourteen pits in all (hence the name from the words fourteen pits (pathinaalam kuzhi). There have been several variations in the layout of the pits, and like Zoe rightly pointed out, this is one unending game (or so it feels like )

The gameboard is from @ancientliving , a brand that is home to plant-based products made using fresh, pure, exquisite, and natural products. They have a variety of traditional board games all of which are eco-friendly and will definitely make you #nostalgic. The board came with tamarind seed counters which offers a 100% authentic game experience imho.

Pallanguzhi or Vamana Guntalu has several play variations— all of which foster strategic thinking and math skills. Take part in this week’s giveaway to win some of Ancient Living’s brilliant traditional board games. You can find these on shop.thegracelog.in

Yuka Champs

If you are looking for a fun and easy way to teach your kids to read a clock and tell the time, look no further. @yukachamps ’ got you covered with Tik Tok Tick. This is a competitive game where you just have to point the hands of the clock to match the time written on the time cards. Whoever points correctly first, gets a point. The faster you move the hands of the clock correctly, the more chances you have to win this game.

You get 4 well designed sturdy clocks and 72 laminated time cards.

Multi-level Gameplays
The game can be played in three levels and from single to multiplayer mode.

Level 1- Beginner level :- o’ clock and half past

Level 2-Intermediate level :- 12 hour format

Level 3 :- advance level – 24 hour format

Check out the clock design that makes it so much fun and easy for the littles. They also have a fab Go Green board game that’s all about environment conservation.

Toiing

🧳 🧭 ✈️ What travelling around the world in 2021 looks like for us. 😎

🗺 An ‘I spy’ type of activity with the puzzle 🧩 map which is the game board you put together, and race to find the items on the stamps you pick. I underestimated the learning and fun this game has to offer. Easily tops our list of #geographygames to play.

🗺 🎲: @play_with_toiing

Toiing is a children’s brand that passionately believes that life skills set the foundation for a child’s holistic development and overall success. All their toys strive to make learning life skills, fun.

Brain Quipo

Family games are fun, no doubt about it. But we could all do with single-player games that kids can challenge themselves with when they are sitting with nothing to do on a boring afternoon. 😀 Well, @brainquipo’s got you covered with their fab list of #logicalthinking games that help keep children engaged while stimulating little brains.

🍦 You’ve seen us play with Sudokidu last year— It’s an awesome first sudoku for kids with cute ice cream shapes in different colors and the levels of challenges it came with were the right level of mind-blowing.

🐧 Smart Penguins, their newest game comes with 38 challenges designed from easy to hard and contains 10 tiles and one game board and you fit the penguin tiles in the right grids.

👿 Monster memory is a game that sharpens your focus and attention to details.

❤️What I like about Brainquipo:

🧠All of their games enhance children’s logical reasoning, problem-solving capacity and improves their focus and memory skills.

🧠Fun characters in the games that keep the interest levels up.
Great quality boards, child-safe materials that are #madeinIndia.

🧠Additionally, I love their triangular Math cards, a must-have #homeschoolmath resource, IMHO. 🙂

Check them out here: http://www.brainquipo.com

Hasbro Gaming

A lazy sunday afternoon called for some family game time and since it was the first time the three of us played this as a family I made an effort to document it. Here’s a highlight video featuring 3 super cool games from one of the biggest game manufacturers in the world, that gave me all the #90skid feels.

Hasbro Gaming is a household name when you think board games that bring families and friends together for fun and meaningful social interactions. They have a variety of multi-player games across skill based, luck based, light strategy, and party games.

Game of Life: Fun family game with valuable life lessons for young children. This is something we will play for years to come, no doubt.

Monopoly: Does the crowd favorite even need an introduction?

Monopoly BID is the latest card game version of Monopoly launched in India.

See more on their store HERE.

Braintastic Toys

Nothing like a quick game to fix #mondaymornings. Just the right amount of dopamine and serotonin, to get me up and running I’d say. Yep, it’s totally possible to get these benefits from #boardgames including the release of oxytocin (the ❤️ love hormone) from the social “connectedness”. One of the more fascinating aspects of these games is the ability to shift family dynamics. Imagine mom or dad beaten at these games by the kid. Such a rare chance of role reversal sure is rewarding and generally tends to make some of us more competitive. Neurally it’s never “just a game.” There’s so much happening in your 🧠.

Today Z taught me how to play Nine men’s Morris from @braintastictoys. This game dates back to the Roman Empire and is also called cowboy checkers. We call it tic tac toe level 2, because just like tic tac toe you’ve got to form 3 men lined horizontally or vertically. You remove an opponent coin for each line you make. A player wins by reducing the opponent to just 2 coins.

@braintastictoys has a wonderful range of wooden toys, pegboard puzzles, tracing boards and more such games. All of these are made right here in India, with the help of local artisans. Priyanka, the founder, aims at bringing toys that are educational, affordable and sustainable through Braintastic Toys. You can win games of your choice by participating in #GameschoolIN. Or use coupon code GAMESCHOOLIN05 for a store-wide 5% off.

Zayn and Zoey

Seasons Match 🌞🌸⛅️☀️❄️☃️🌧☔️🌬🌊🌫🌈🌷🌱🍃🍁🏝🌻🏕

One of the hallmarks of a Charlotte Mason, a popular #homeschooling approach is teaching children concepts using books that are particularly engaging. These books are called #livingbooks and bring a subject alive by heightening a child’s interest in the topic as they become enthralled by the storyline. Zayne and Zoey books have a special love in our bookshelf because of how effortless it is to introduce non-fictional topics through these stories to the little ones. They are also based in real-life settings making the concepts relatable for children. So imagine my delight when I learned about their board games line, which is an equally informative, fun supplement to these books!

🎲 Zoe’s seen playing the Seasons Match game here.

Here’s what I love about it:
✅ Spinning the wheel makes everything fun.
✅ Makes for a simple, yet rich unit study on the seasons topic.
Learnings: Knowledge of the 5 seasons- Summer, Monsoon, Autumn, Winter, Spring and of the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and the activities we enjoy in each season.
✅ Can be played independently although it’s fun to race against a competitor.
✅ Super simple, super interesting.

Head here: http://www.zaynandzoey.com/product-category/games/

The Clever Clogs

Oftentimes, kids outgrow games faster than we imagine and when that happens I try and level up the gameplay using several methods as per the game. This ring toss game by @thecleverclogs is not as easy as it looks. In fact, the probability of getting a ring tossed in is significantly low which is why it’s such a popular carnival 🎡 game both for the customer and for the stall owner. Anyway, I digress. 💍 😄

One easy and intentional method to play a game that’s mastered is by using the non-dominant limb. In this case, I had Zoe try and toss the ring using his left hand.

The non-dominant hand is actually linked to the non-dominant hemisphere in your brain – the one that isn’t exercised as often. There are studies that show that when you use your dominant hand, one hemisphere of the brain is active. When you use the non-dominant hand, both hemispheres are activated, which may result in thinking differently and becoming more creative while strengthening neural connections in your brain, and even grow new ones. It’s similar to how physical exercise improves your body’s functioning and grows muscles.
✅ Fine motor skills: It is definitely much harder to be precise with your movements.

✅ Unleash Creativity: Using the opposite hand confuses your brain. The brain is in charge of keeping you functioning and it does that with predictability.

✅ Using the opposite hand is sometimes the nudge our practical brain needs to “move out of the way” for the creative juices to get flowing again! Personally, I feel it triggers improved memory functioning for my bad case of #mombrain. 🧠

Check out @thecleverclogs for a fine range of quality wooden toys and games to engage little brains. They have a fun variety for all your little ones— head to thecleverclogs.in 💍 🛍

Big Little Things

If you’ve never played a card game before, let me tell you the best place to head to for card games that are super duper fun for little ones and adults alike: @biglittlethings.co.in. They make fun games for the entire family that sneak in some learning too. Their games cover diverse subjects right from acting skills to learning about countries.

A few years ago we tried ‘Little Performers’ and that was a super hit with my then 3 year old. Their other games like Scavenger hunt, country snap tops our list of favorite games that offer hours of fun both as a single player game or as a group play one.

What you see here is their latest game called Train the brain, and it isn’t all that simple as I make it look like in the video. 🙈 There are different game plays here, but let me tell you something I enjoyed: the brilliant gender label-free designs of animals in different professions like a scientist sheep, fitness instructor flamingo, Chef cheetah, and so on. There’s definitely a lot of room for conversations and thought here as we play, and have fun training our photographic memory.

Funskool

I’m sure you’ve heard of Strike 4, the popular family game where you win by outwitting your opponent and being the first to form a line of 4– horizontally, vertically or diagonally. Super fun entertainment and comes with so many benefits too.

❤️Fine motor skills
💛Basic math 🧮 counting
❤️Promotes quick thinking
💛Pattern recognition
And so much more.

@funskool_official’s purpose is to inspire, engage and entertain every child, and the child in every adult. They are India’s leading toy manufacturing company. Conceived in 1986 as a joint venture* between their parent, the MRF Group, and Hasbro Inc., they began commercial operations in 1988. Over three decades later now, you can find their toys in 4,500 retail stores across India.

Tacit Games

Tile-based games where you build the game board are definitely my kinda games. This one is based in the historical city of Hampi, the capital of Vijayanagara kings. A land of prosperity with abundant farms, ponds, markets and attracted people from all walks of life— farmers, miners, traders, scholars.

This tile-based strategy game is from @tacitgames, designers, and publishers of contemporary board games and puzzles with Indian stories. They create modern-day board games combining their keen eye for design, attention to aesthetics, a deep sense of art, and visuals combined with great quality of components to create the best games for everyone. They constantly work with a great group of content writers & Artists to broaden the kind of content in the board games that we publish.

This one-of-a-kind board game took them over one year of study, design, testing, and development. All the artwork, mechanics are hand-drawn, manually tested, and later digitalized for production. What a fabulous way to learn about Indian 🇮🇳 history. I certainly wouldn’t forget the facts of the Vijayanagara empire had I learned it this way. Who agrees? 👑

They also work with artists from across India to make Indian art puzzles.

You can use coupon code GAMESCHOOLIN250 to avail yourself a discount of INR 250/- off on Hampi or free shipping on all puzzles. 🧩

History games, anyone? 😃

Luma World

Guess the Fence from @mylumaworld: A fantastic game that helps players understand the application of different geometric concepts, shapes, and patterns. It’s a ‘write and guess’ board game format where both players build fences using different shapes and the other player has to guess the positions, and shapes by asking smart questions. Great for acquiring life skills like problem-solving communication and visual reasoning, while having fun.

@mylumaworld is a K5 Education company that creates unique child-centric experiences and promotes holistic real-life skill development through Experiential Learning. They have designed and published educational board games, card games, flashcards, and application books that help kids balance screen time with offline academic activities.
Come participate in #GAMESCHOOLIN to win 2 of their fabulous games. 💕

🛍 You can use GAMESCHOOLIN10 to get an extra 10% discount on their website you can access via bit.ly/thegracelog

Biblubox

Rush Hour is a wildly popular #STEM toy— It’s a traffic jam game that comes with 182 challenges of increasing difficulty, from beginner to expert, and is a great 🎁 for kids who like smart games and a challenge.

The goal of the game is to get only the red car out through the exit of the board by moving the other vehicles out of its way. However, the cars and trucks (set up before play, according to a puzzle card) obstruct the path which makes the puzzle even more difficult.

What I like:

🚗’Open, setup and go’ kinda game
🚗 Many levels of play, beginner to expert
🚗 82 challenge cards with solutions
🚗 Teaches logic and sequential reasoning
🚗 Fun theme appeals to younger players
🚗🚗 Develops critical thinking skills.
🚗 Improves spatial reasoning and planning skills, all through fun gameplay.

There are many levels I have tried the hardest challenge and it is not easy – they took me a while too. So this will be one that will last for years and years and its incredibly fun. Great single player game for all ages. Highly recommend!

Biblubox is a mom-run venture, born out of passion. They always wanted creative toys that provide improvement in a child’s life and believe that toys could become new textbooks. They have ideated and designed toys intended to promote critical thinking skills and mental wellness, and revive the ancient culture where families used to sit together and play. Stay tuned as they launch a new product in collaboration with game therapists, this July.

Kaadoo Games

🦁 🐅 🌳 If you’re looking for wildlife-based games that particualrly help build awareness and familiarity with animals, develop an interest in nature and conservation, then @kaadoogames is the place to head. They’ve got all habitats covered —The Animal Buddy and Wildlife Safari 🛻 games have been a super duper hit with even a much younger Zoe purely because of their marker coins – safari trucks. Way to get a child hooked 🤩

In all honesty, there’s so much to learn about different habitats, and the wildlife it supports from their brilliant games. Forget Geography text books, this is a far more effective and fun way to learn all this and more.

🎥 Featuring in this video is one of their tile games based on Disney movies – The Pixoo Pin ft. ‘The Lion King’ transformed into an exciting Domizzle – a cross between a domino game and a puzzle!

🌳 Let’s hear it from @kaadoogames on the who, what and why:
“We are a passionate group of parents, nature-enthusiasts, and creators, who are on a mission to bring the thrill of wildlife into your homes wrapped in awe-inspiring board games. Our mission started on a safari trip at Bandipur 6 years ago, where Diinesh Kumble, our founder, challenged us to re-create our incredible experience into a board game, which manifested into ‘The Big Game’ jungle safari series. Since then, we have launched 40+ board games, card games, dart games, and puzzles, and have also introduced exclusive collections with Disney and IPL teams – CSK and KKR, all made in India. With our games, we intend to encourage curiosity and admiration in today’s generation for the world around us. “

🎁 You can use code GAMESCHOOLIN20 for orders above 350, which will get you a 20% off store-wide. 

Dice Toy Labs

🤖 Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it is certainly a skill that will equip kids for the future. But where exactly do you begin? OFFLINE. Yep, you can have kids
make a list of instructions (sequencing) for a daily task (like brushing their teeth), and breaking it down in to small steps (decomposition) is an easy way to include coding in even more mundane tasks. There are books and board games that focus on teaching coding concepts offline like this epic game called My Bot Bytes by @dicetoylabs.

This is a fast paced board game with action programming, logic, strategy, fun and engaging game for family. They had Zoe hooked right at the start with thier super cool comic strip instruction sheet. 💬🗯💭 💥

🤖 Teaches #Coding and Algorithms
🤖Detailed Colourful Illustrations
🤖High-Quality game components
🤖Highly Replayable
🤖Epic Artwork
🤖Cool Comic
🤖Adorable Bots
🤖Made in India 🇮🇳

Loved the game concept- Executing instructions as a part of a board game is definitely an interesting way of introducing programming concepts to kids – especially conditions and loops.

Head to dicetoylabs.com and use GAMESCHOOLIN15 to get a discount.

At the intersection of PLAY and LEARNING lies #gameschooling and it has the potential to change everything in your #homeschool environment. That was exactly what we wanted to accomplish with the series — to showcase the amazing gaming community in India that’s creating brilliant games for everyone and for every topic under the sun.

I want to thank YOU all for the amazing response to 5 weeks of #gameschoolIN fun! It’s a wrap, 

Please check my instagram guide “GameschoolIN” for easy access to all the brand features. Head to thegracelog.in to see a round-up with links and discount codes that you can use. 💕

I’ve listed all their games on my Amazon store-front. Check it out here: Amazon.in/shop/THEGRACELOG .

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