Overview: Host a versatile and youthful game night with friends with these different childhood games from around the world !
A great game night needs several things: snacks, good friends, and awesome games that offer a challenging and interactive time.
While classic games like Monopoly and billiards will always have a special place in our hearts, we’re looking for games that have entertained people around the world for decades. (Let’s just say, every culture has its own “Monopoly.”)
We’re not talking about “Squid Game” from South Korea, either. As much of an impact as that childhood has had on my adults, Korean and non-Korean alike, we’re shifting gears and taking a look at less popular games from different cultures that many old-heads might remember from back in the day.
CATCH THE DRAGON'S TAIL (CHINA)
Game Type: Beginner
Group Size: 20+
Equipment: Handkerchief (for each “dragon”); cones for boundaries
Objective: The goal is for the dragon’s head to tag the dragon’s tail. Seems fun, right? They will try to catch the opposing team’s handkerchief. They must do this without breaking the chain of people. Only the leader, or head, of the dragon may catch the handkerchief. When the dragon’s tail is caught, they “catching” team will link up with the other dragon and continue to pursue other dragon’s, while protecting their own tail.
Split into two teams and then have the teams get in a single file line. Larger groups can split into teams of 6 or higher.
Have each team put their arms around the persons waist in front of them. You are going to form a train. (This could also be done by holding hands, connecting arms, placing hands on shoulders, etc.)
The player standing at the front of the line is the dragon’s head, while the last one is its tail.
The person in the rear hangs the handkerchief from their back pocket.
This can be more challenging than it seems, as the participation behind the dragon’s head will stop the head from catching the tail. The leader will have to struggle to reach the dragon’s tail, but once succeeded, the head takes the place of the tail and the participant next in line becomes the head.
Watch this video to get a visual of how the game is played!
LUTA DE GALO/GALLO (BRAZIL):
Game Type: Intermediate
Group Size: 2+
Equipment: Bandana/Rag per child
Luta de Galo is the super fun and challenging Portuguese game for “fight of the roosters.” It’s played between two players, and each player tucks a handkerchief into their back pockets and lets it hang out.
Objective: To grab the handkerchief from the opponent’s pocket.
Each player must cross their right arm across their chest, and hold up left leg.
Players must hop around one-legged and use their free arm to snatch their opponent’s handkerchief.
If a child puts their left leg on the ground or unfolds their right arm, they’re out.
Here’s a quick, fun tutorial tagged for your ease.
TINKO TINKO (NIGERIA):
Game Type: Intermediate
Group Size: 2-4
Tinko Tinko is a simple game that requires no equipment other than people! This game is essentially the hand-clapping game “Slide” where two players clap their hands against each other on a rhythmic sound that the players chant. In the Nigerian version, the words Tinko Tinko are sung repeatedly.
To play Tinko, you and your opponent should be in sync, so you both don’t go against the rhythm.
Objective: Increase the number of hands claps from once to two to three, and so forth and so on while maintaining synchronization. Whoever breaks the rhythm loses.
While simple, this game becomes challenging in the case of one losing track of clap and can be highly competitive! If this sounds like something you’d like to try, watch how two players interact in this video.
Game Type: Advanced
Group Size: 10+, even numbers for teams
Equipment: Open Space; Boundaries
This game is a bit rough compared to the other ones we’ve highlighted in this article because strength (and serious lung power) is needed.
The fun part begins when one member from one group called “the raider” pits against the opposing team members. The raider must try to catch or tag as many opposing players as possible while chanting the phrase kabbadi kabbadi without getting caught.
Objective: The team can join hands and form a barricade to make it harder for the raider to escape. The tagged players will be out if the raider makes it to the boundary without catching their breath. If the raider catches the breath or gets caught by the opposing team, the raider will be out. Once the round is complete, the members of each team shall be decreased.
Here’s a video of one of children playing Kabbadi in India! They’ve used chalk to create the boundaries, but other items such as cones can be used; the boundaries just need to be visible by both teams.
DARUMA-SAN GA KORONDA (JAPAN):
Game Type: Beginner
Group Size: 3+
This game shouldn’t be mistake for the traditional “Daruma Otoshi” where the “Daruma” is taken from the top to the bottom of the stack without knocking the doll off. However, this game is inspired by the doll! Hence the phrase “The daruma doll fell over” which is said by the “it” person. (Source)
One person is It. Instead of counting to ten, It says, “Daruma-san ga koronda” since it has 10 syllables. For the other players, the object of the game is to get close to whoever is “it” without him seeing them move.
The It person faces away from the other players with their eyes shut. “It” says “Daruma-san ga koronda” quickly, and then turns around as quickly as possible, opening his eyes. While “it” is saying the phrase, the other players move closer to him. Just before “it” turns around, the players must freeze.
If “it” sees a player moving, that player must hold hands with “it.”
If a player successfully reaches “it” without getting caught, he or she slaps “it” on the back, then everyone except “it” runs away. However, if “it” is holding hands with one or more captured players, the attacker tries to break their hands apart with the side of his hand. Then everyone except “it” runs away.
When “it” shouts “Tomare!”(“Stop!”), everybody must freeze.
If “it” tags one of them by taking no more than three steps, the two switch places.
While there are many games we would love to list down, the ones we’ve mentioned are easy to follow and can be played regardless of upbringing or culture.
Which game did you like the most, or have you played any of these games before? Which one would be most interested in playing?