Pop Cultured: Around the world games

To prevent daily routines from getting too repetitive, try your hand at these fun activities from around the world. Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels.

Welcome back Huskies! Although the semester just started, daily routines can get repetitive. Luckily, there is a solution. The history of gaming began 7000 years ago, according to Kaloumba, a website dedicated to those who share a passion for playing games. So, whether you are curious or have some spare time on your hands, try your hand at these fun activities (which can be played virtually) from different cultures. 


Mandarin Square Capturing is a traditional two-player Vietnamese strategy game played by all ages, according to “Vietnam Traditional Folk Games” on the Go Vietnam Tours site. The game is often played to practice calculating abilities. Each player must gather 25 small pebbles, which represent the “peasants,” and one larger stone to represent the “mandarin.” To play, players must draw a rectangle that is divided into 10 squares, known as “rice fields” or “fish ponds.”  Players must also draw two semi-circles on each end which are called “mandarin boxes.” Players should place five pebbles in each square, according to the site. 

The gameplay is similar to Mancala, where one player selects a square on their side and distributes the pebbles one at a time to each of the spaces. They continue to pick up and distribute until the pebbles land in a mandarin square or an empty rice field. If a pebble lands on an empty rice field, then they can capture all the pebbles in the next rice field over. If a player runs out of pebbles in their rice fields, they must distribute the pebbles they collected in their mandarin square. Each pebble is worth five points while the larger stone is worth 10 points. The game ends when the rice fields are empty because the pebbles are captured.  

Read more about the game here.


Sechsundsechzig (or 66) is a popular card game in Germany that can have many variations depending on the region of Germany or Europe, according to Pagat, a website for card game rules around the world. According to the site, you need 24 cards, specifically all suits from 10 to ace. It is a two-player game but with different variations that can be played with more players.  

Each player is dealt six cards that must remain hidden from the other player. The top card in the remainder of the deck is also known as the trump suit. That card must be face-up. The deck is traditionally placed on top of the trump card so that only half of the trump card is displayed. Ace is the highest-ranking card then 10, king, queen, jack and nine. Players have to choose the suit that matches the trump suit or the card that has the highest number. If both numbers are the same then the first player that placed their card down gets the cards. After placing cards down, players must draw from the deck.  

The game repeats until the deck of cards are gone. Now this time players must try to follow suit and place the higher number or trump card down. The goal of the game is to be the first to score 66 points. Aces are counted as 11 points, 10 counts as 10 points, then king, queen and nine counts as four, three and zero points respectively. After one player scores 66 points, the game is usually played for six more rounds before declaring a winner.  

Learn more about the different tricks here.


Adedonha (or Stop) is a very popular game in Brazil, according to an article titled “5 Super Fun Brazilian Games to Play In-Person or Online” by Ramsay Lewis. The game can be played virtually or with those around you, but will require creative thinking. First, pen and paper are given to each player. Each player chooses a category. Categories are written along the top of the paper. According to the article, names, locations, animals and fruits are some common categories Brazilians use. Then players choose a letter in the alphabet. Letters are written on the side of the paper.  

 Categories Animals  Plants Food Total points 

Games can be longer by adding more players, letters or categories. Players must fill out all categories for that letter row and whoever filled it out first, yells stop. The rest of the players must stop and points are scored. If someone has written the same word then that word only gets five points but if the word is unique the word would be worth 10 points. Whoever has the highest points wins. You can also play the game virtually here. 

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