Bored games in the lockdown


If you’ve exhausted playing and replaying the board games you have with the COVID-19 lockdown, here’s how you can use your hands, heart, and head to construct games on ground using the same principles. The main difference – you’ll also get in movement. Kanaka Anant, co-founder and chief designer at Maniams, Coimbatore, picked a few board games most of us are familiar with, and tweaked them to make them more kinaesthetic.


Use a square square box as a dice and draw on the numbers. If you have floor tiles, designate ‘homes’ in the four corners of the room; if your floor doesn’t have tiles, draw them out with chalk or simply trace a path of paper ‘tiles’ leading to the opposite corner. You can count the furniture as a square too – this will also get you to climb up and down. Roll the dice and halve the number on it. This way, when a person gets a half, she moves say two squares and stands on one leg for the half. If she gets a whole number the next time, she continues to hop. You can also play the game using rooms as ‘home’.

Snakes and Ladders

Ask your kids to draw 50 squares on the terrace, with chalk or kolam/rice powder/maida. You can use ropes for the snakes and rulers for the ladders. If you’d like to introduce a contextual element, use sanitisers and masks at the tops of ladders and pictures of the Coronavirus that kids can draw and cut out at the mouths of ‘snakes’. Now play the game in person, moving from square to square, with a dice made from a box. A variation on this is to just have short ladders and ask people to do a yoga pose each time they go up one.


Place regular Scrabble pieces across steps. Roll a dice to determine how many steps a person needs to climb up or down. Let the person pick a letter. Once each person has seven, they can begin to form words, either on the board, or just on the floor.

Hungry Hippos

Place all the balls you together, and put them in a large plate. Now have kids figure out how to ‘fish’ the balls out. One way is using a stick with a net at the end. Ask them to come up with other ways.


Ask kids to take any objects from the house that is not breakable to construct an on-ground ‘building’. They can go as high as they want. Once they’ve done that, they can pull out pieces to put them back in the place they took them from.

Chinese Chequers

Take a print of the game, and have kids map it on the terrace, like a kolam — get grandparents involved to help them plot the points. Kids can paint paper cups for each person, and the game can be played on ground.


Play it across an area with your foot instead, using coins made out of bottle caps and other flat objects. It doesn’t matter if they are of different sizes.

Board games that mirror the coronavirus situation

Pandemic: Contagion

The players takes on the roles of diseases, all of which have no cure. The aim is to destroy the world with disease. There are cards, boards, and even petri dishes. “Fuel your actions with cards that can spread disease by infecting new cities across the globe. You can also mutate your disease to accelerate the rate at which you draw cards, infect cities, or resist efforts to curb your growth,” says the descriptor.

Players: 2-5; age: 13+;

Virus! And Virus! 2 EvolutionViruses have spread out from the lab into a hospital and players must stop them, in Virus! Then, in Virus! 2 Evolution, “Just as our doctors’ efforts were beginning to pay off, the problems got complicated. Samples stored in the laboratory for study reveal that the viruses have mutated and become much more resistant and aggressive,” is the way the game descriptor begins. Players must prevent virus spread.

Players: 2-6; age: 8+;

Euphoria: Build a Better DystopiaThis much awarded game has players as leaders in a dystopian cityscape, where the apocalypse has just taken place. With the help of workers (dice) and recruits (cards), players must “generate commodities, dig tunnels to infiltrate opposing areas, construct markets, collect artifacts, strengthen allegiances, and fulfill secret agendas,” as the game descriptor says. There are four societies, all of which want to create history.

Players: 2-6; age: 13+;

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