revolutionizing board games: embracing the digital era

A woman called Dilki Punchihewa
By Dilki Punchihewa
5th June 2024

Did you know that board games originated thousands of years ago in various ancient civilizations across the world? Early games were elementary, and easy to grasp, but mirrored the cultural and societal values of the time.

Among these ancient marvels stands Senet, one of the earliest board games known to humankind, originating in ancient Egypt around 3100 BCE. This game featured a grid of 30 squares adorned with symbols representing rebirth and death. Players had to throw coloured sticks onto a table to decide on player movements.


The very famous and professionally played game, Go, emerged 2500 years ago in China. Its unassuming appearance may deceive you into thinking it is a very simple game, but in reality, it is a highly strategic game where you use your wits to trap your opponent's stones. Some argue that Go surpasses chess. However, I will leave that judgment to your discretion.


Moreover, did you also know that board games in Sri Lanka originated about 2000 years ago? The oldest board game known to Sri Lankans is Nerenchi which dates back to 10 AD. It is a strategic two-player game where each player should prevent the opponent from forming a mill. 


These are just three out of many early board games that laid the foundation for the rich tapestry of modern tabletop gaming in the present day.

Board games in the early days also provided a platform for people to socialize and learn strategy and critical thinking, but mostly to have fun in a world where technological advancements in entertainment were very limited.

Silence of the Board Games

There was a rather silent period when these board games that used to be cherished during every holiday and occasion were exiled to dusty boxes in attics, never to see the light of day. This was the late 20th century when digital entertainment started sprouting.

With the dawn of the late 20th century, households were inundated with televisions airing teledramas, radios broadcasting melodies, computers with offline or online games, or gaming consoles like The Odyssey, Game Boys, Nintendo 64, or the iconic PlayStation.

There were arcades full of video games for kids and even adults. With the internet becoming faster and better, everyone forgot about board games, mostly because they could entertain themselves from the comfort of their homes while connecting with people on the other side of the planet within seconds.

But, as history often reveals, nothing is truly forgotten or buried.

Phoenix of the Digital Age

In a world of pixels and screens, one might assume that board games are ancient antiquities destined to end up in museums. But, my friends, just like the phoenix rose from its ashes, board games are making a comeback, rekindling nostalgia and establishing its path to the future.

Instead of competing for superiority in the digital age, board games have come together with pixels and screens to provide shared joy and experiences.

From classic games like Monopoly, Chess, and Scrabble to more complex games like Wingspan, Beyond the Sun, and Blood Rage or social deduction games like Blood on the Clock Tower and Avalon, have been made more accessible to players worldwide with reprints and digitalisation of the games. 


However, that is not the sole reason for the renaissance of board games. As the world moves forward and human lives become more intertwined with screens and pixels, we are increasingly looking for a way to unplug and reconnect with the world around us. Thus, board games provide the perfect opportunity to disconnect from your devices and forge more meaningful connections face-to-face while engaging in lively conversation, laughter and making memories.

Board games create a more tactile and immersive experience for the players while allowing them to make quick strategic decisions, expanding their ability to plan, training their minds to foresee the actions of the opponents, building team spirit, along with leadership, communication, cognitive and time management skills.

Across the globe, board game cafes, meet-ups, and tabletop communities serve as havens for like-minded enthusiasts to gather, share stories, and embark on new adventures.

Rise of Board Games in Sri Lanka

The emergence of board games in Sri Lanka can be attributed to the efforts of Tabletop Sri Lanka (TSL). What started as a small gathering of friends playing modern, more complex board games on Sundays has now grown into regular meetups attracting over 80-plus passionate gamers every other Sunday.


If your access to board games is limited or if you are tired of the basic board games or if you are an enthusiastic board gamer in Sri Lanka looking for like-minded people, look no further than the tabletop SL community.


TSL is a safe space for players of all skill levels. With the extensive game library of Tabletop SL, you will have access to a wide variety of games to suit your taste. Whether you are a seasoned player or a newcomer to the universe of board gaming, there is something for everyone and you have the freedom to try out different games at no cost whatsoever. At TSL meetups, you can immerse yourself in the universe of board games and navigate the labyrinth until you come across something you love.  

TSL is not just a place to play games, but it is a community of vibrant, like-minded players sharing their love for board games and supporting the revival of board games all over the world. The resurgence of board games heralds a new era where tradition meets innovation, and human connection triumphs over digital isolation. 


Join us at one of our board game sessions and embark on an adventure to discover the universe of board games. 

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About The Author
A woman called Dilki Punchihewa
Dilki Punchihewa
Dilki Punchihewa, a doctor who constantly faces many challenges in her field, has learned to embrace and overcome these obstacles. These have in turn led her to enjoy the challenges of board games in all their variety.