Playing is a major part of our lives. It is one of our most intrinsic instincts that both keeps us young and engages our physical and mental abilities. Here is a list of 10 glorious games we grew up in the era before video games.
One of Lebanon's oldest traditional games, Barjees is thought to be of Persian origin. It consists of throwing shells of assigned values on a broidered piece of cloth. The game sharpens analytical skills and focus, and a single round can span for hours!
#2 Seven Blocks
Seven blocks or filish is a group game that requires teamwork and coordination. It consists of piling seven bricks on top of each other and throwing a ball to tip-over the pile. The remaining team members then have to rebuild the stack while the opposing team blocks their attempts with the ball.
The simplistic game preaches sacrifice and team effort, with members often acting as human shields to give their partners the chance to rebuild the pile successfully.
#3 X, or Fakha/ Sikke A'rjaa
All that this entertaining game requires is a piece of chalk. It consists of hopping from one drawn box to the next and collecting a thrown object while avoiding the chalked borders. The game is strictly a physical one, with benefits including a better physique and increased hand-eye coordination.
#4 Checkers, or Dama
This ancient French game found its way to Lebanon in the early 1900s via the Ottomans. Often compared to chess, Dama is a board game that harnesses tactical strength and mental prowess.
The basic rule for this ancient Greek game is to hit one marble with another from a significant distance. Playing with marbles improves aiming and focus since the tiny glass balls make very difficult targets. The most successful player often walks away with the largest and most coveted marble of all, the tahboush.
#6 Hide-and-Seek or Tag
What list is complete without them? These two global games need no explanation. Despite its many names (Police Harame, Ovrira) and variations, the goal of the game goal is the same in essence.
#7 Pinball and Baby-foot or Foosball
Every 90's kid has played these two games at one point in their lives. Before the PlayStation and the Ataris, these two arcade classics were the go-to to kill some time on Fridays after school.
#8 Monopoly and Risk
These Western board games infiltrated Lebanon's public domain in the 80s and successfully imprinted themselves into a loved place in our memories. As any player can tell you, the games require strategic thinking, and strengthens analytical abilities.
With over a dozen games you can play, cards have long been an active component of many Lebanese outings and nights. Games like Leekha, Shaddeh, Arba'miyeh (400), Tarneeb, and Arba'tash (14) are Lebanese favorites you seldom grow up without learning.
#10 Tawlit Zaher, or simply Tawleh
Possibly the oldest remaining game in history, Tawlit Zaher has existed since 3,000 B.C. Archeologists found traces of the game in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Persian Empire. A large portion of the beloved game is based on luck (rolling dice), and the remaining part requires intelligence and strategy.
Touring the streets and coffee shops of Beirut, you often come across a group of huddled men, quietly engaged in a round of Tawleh. Some boards with wood engravings and intricate designs have even turned into collectable items and family heirlooms passing from father to son.
This list is in-parts based on an episode prepared by Salam Al-Zaatari for Al Jadeed.