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I don’t play a lot of board games, but I have a wonderful memory of the day I discovered a Trivial Pursuit on the French West Indies. That was many years ago. More recently, I got a boxed set of two games from the Karisko association, which revived my desire to make you a ticket on games to (re)discover the Caribbean. There are two types of games: those that aim to make you better know the Caribbean and its culture and those where the Caribbean is above all the pretext for a playground that makes you dream, because, let’s face it, putting yourself in the shoes of a pirate from Jamaica or a Cuban mafia, it’s cool, isn’t it! But here it is, I have a preference for the first type of games. So today, I’m going to talk about board games to get to know our Caribbean better. And I also put you a list of games I’ve spotted taking place in a Caribbean universe.
French board games, knowledge games about the Caribbean
Initially, there was my first encounter with the Trivial Pursuit édition Antilles in the 2000s. It was the first time I saw a board game dedicated to general culture on the French West Indies! 2000 questions in fields as varied as the geography of the Caribbean, the great moments in the history of the West Indies, Creole cuisine, tropical nature, great Caribbean sportsmen, local music… (It is no longer on sale to my knowledge)
In my research of board games, I also found on the web a game entitled Le trésor de la Martinique [The Treasure of Martinique], imagined by Pirate in the year 2000 following a stay on the island « fallen under the charm of this wonderful island and its inhabitants ». It is possible to have an online demonstration and buy it directly on the author’s website. I didn’t have the game in my hand, but the demonstration is pretty nice. With the help of a yawl and a taxico, you go to the village drawn among the maps before being able to claim the treasure. On the way help and pitfalls, money to win or lose, and especially questions of general culture on Martinique.
And then one day, I found myself on my way to the Karisko association. Since its creation, Karisko has been committed to the reappropriation of our Caribbean history, with a strong emphasis on the history of the kalinagos. With this in mind, it has created games, animations and activities of all kinds. The Kitangomino Ema game released in 2013 is a good example. It exists in giant tray (20m²) to carry out animations with the school children and the groups and also a box in standard format to play at home. On the way of our ancestors, make « banaré » (rite of fraternity), earn carbets, and constitute your village! For this, the game board invites you to answer questions about the different territories of the Caribbean and poses a whole bunch of questions with different levels of difficulties about our cultural and historical heritage.
More recently, in 2017, Karisko published Biotuji, a memory game to serve as an educational support for learning about biodiversity in the Caribbean. This time fauna, flora, oceans, river, mangroves and rocks are in the spotlight! Memorizing elements on our environmental environment: use or scientific name of the plants, knowledge on the birds and the insects, the aquatic species and the marine environment, discovery of the fauna and flora of the mangroves… The area of wooded mangroves, the size of the blue-headed hummingbird, the medicinal use of Kassialata or the sperm whale’s diet will no longer hold any secrets for you!
There was also a game called Kalinago : Trivial Pursuit type game, with questions about the Caribbean and their Amerindian heritage from what I read online. I’ve never had this game in my hand and I’m not sure I’ll ever have the opportunity. (Cannot be found except on priceminister)
French board games, knowledge games including the Caribbean, but not only…
La France d’Outre-Mer is, as its name suggests, a game for knowing French overseas territories. One photo and up to 3 clues to guess one of the 13 territories. You go through squares (help, incident or neutral) and accumulate cards and points as the game progresses to become the winner.
Tambour Battant is still a Trivial Pursuit type game released in 2006 and invented by Sandra Vautour. The questions cover sport, music, literature, film, geography and history and focus on knowledge of African, African-American, Caribbean and European culture. (Not sure if it’s still for sale).
Board Games with the Caribbean as terrain
If you are interested in the Caribbean universe, you should know that there is at least one game library specialising in games on the French West Indies and more widely overseas and Africa: Jeux de societé antillais and co / Nousvousîles in Choisy in Ile-de-France. It has published a list of board games on the French Overseas Territories and its roots; you will find original games for Martinique and Guadeloupe, but also French Guiana, Reunion, Polynesia… and games revisited as the game of the 7 families (mapipi), the game of the goose (tour des yoles), Monopoly in « regional » versions (Martinique, Guadeloupe and even Saint-Barthelemy)…
On the jeudenim.be site, I also found games having for universe of other Caribbean islands :
Jamaïca, racing game
Puerto Rico, management game, role playing game
La Havane, programming game, management game
Montego Bay, programming game
Cuba, management game
Mafia de Cuba, playing game with secret objectiv
Bonus: black culture, afroculture
Finally, we move a little away from the original subject, but if you want to deepen your knowledge on Afroculture, there are games in English referenced on Boardgamegeek :
- Black héritage trivia game and its version junior
- Amazing africa: a cultural adventure
- African-American Discovery
- Afriqu’enjeux: The Africa memory game
You are ready and waiting to become unstoppable on the Caribbean with fun activities for the next holidays and the upcoming rainy days. Perhaps the hardest part will be getting these board games! And you, do you know any other games to improve one’s knowledge of the Caribbean? I mainly searched and found games in French that concern French Caribbean history, heritage and culture. But I am also interested in knowledge games for the English and Spanish speaking Caribbean and I haven’t found any. So if you know any, share your comments. I’d be happy to expand that list!