Tibet boardgame

This game was designed by Gail Gilbert, Beacon Elfins, Brighthelmstone District.

Object of game

A fun and active game to learn about the nomadic lifestyle of the Tibetan people and raise awareness of how the Chinese government are seeking to destroy this ancient way of life.

Who can play?

Children from Elfins up (6 and over). Ideal number 10 but could be more or fewer.

How long does it last?

As long as you wish but with Elfins we have played happily for about half an hour.

What do you do?

The children take it in turns to throw a die and move a token that number of segments around the board. There is an activity that relates to each image that they land on (see below).

How does it end?

When it feels as though everyone has had enough, maybe on a ‘Chinese’ square – see below.

What do you need?

  • A die
  • A board (see the photo for the one I made). Making this can be an Elfin activity all of its own!

My board is about 1m x 0.5m in size made out of a flattened cardboard box. The board layout is like a winding path with about 30 different segments that join in a rough circle. My board is decorated with images of Tibetan life downloaded from the internet. There are five different images on each segment of path that appear in a random order. The images are explained below and relate to an activity that each child does as he/she lands on a segment.

  • A token to move around the board (could be a small Buddhist statue)
  • Props for each image (see under images below)
  • The ‘scene’ – to set the scene I hung Tibetan prayer flags between 2 chairs and strung up a makeshift tent (the Tibetans live in tents made from yak hides)

The images on the board relate to the activities below:

  1. BUTTER CHURN - Making yak butter tea: use a jug and potato masher or even better a wooden butter urn and pretend to make butter from yak’s milk. The person churning could wear a Tibetan type apron (brightly coloured stripes).
  2. YAK - Pretend to be a yak: preferably wearing a yak’s bell, run around the room pretending to be a yak
  3. PRAYER WHEEL - Praying: either turning a prayer wheel or chanting ‘Ommm...’
  4. YAK DUNG - Making yak dung fuel patties: either mould brown plasticine into patties or use damp soil
  5. CHINESE FLAG - If a child lands on the Chinese flag then the camp (flags, chairs, board, props etc) needs to move to a different place in the room and be set up again before the game can continue. One of the fundamental ways that the Chinese government is destroying Tibetan culture is to stop the Tibetans having a nomadic lifestyle and destroying their way of life. When they can no longer choose to herd yaks they often have no employment, and poverty, alcoholism and other social problems begin.