Games in Russia

I'm in Russia for 2 weeks. I thought it would be relatively easy to find a game shop in Moscow, find some nice games that haven't been released elsewhere, and bring them back home to play.

It turns out that adults in Russia play three games (if they play any): chess, backgammon, and a card game whose title translates to "Fool". I asked a number of people about other games, the kind of European strategy games I was hoping to find, and they were all baffled, suggesting that I should check out stores for children.

Well, there are games in stores for children, even some things like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. I didn't see any games that seemed to be Russian originals (except for uninteresting-looking games for little children). I saw a few that might be, but my Internet access has been almost non-existent here, so I couldn't easily check things out.

Someone asked me the other day if I could see myself living in Moscow. I had to answer that I couldn't, and one of the reasons is the lack of gaming culture among adults here (at least that I could find; I imagine there might be something among some small subsets of university students).

We gave a couple of games as gifts to people we were visiting: Modern Art (which I just recently played for the first time) and Coloretto. I doubt that the copy of Modern Art will ever get played. We managed to play several games of Coloretto with the people we gave it to (relatives), and they seemed to really enjoy it, but I imagine that the next time they will play it will be the next time we visit.

I'll have to investigate Russian gaming culture more once I get back home, so that I'll be prepared for my next trip here (probably in two to four years).

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4 Responses to Games in Russia

  1. Doug Orleans says:

    I've played that card game (Durak). As I recall, it's not bad.

    I wonder if university students play more games? I imagine Russia's pretty big and diverse, maybe you just didn't run across any game-playing subcultures.

  2. Andrew Plotkin says:

    I diffidently point out that Mafia is a Russian original game. (But, from a university.)

  3. Dmitry says:

    If you are in Moscow we could definitely meet and speak about boardgaming in Russia - you can contact me by e-mail

  4. Kevin Jackson-Mead says:

    Thanks, Dmitry. It's likely that I won't be in Moscow again for another 3 or 4 years, but I'll definitely look you up when I'm next there.

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