Thailand’s 10 Most Popular Games
With a population of almost 72 million, Thailand is the 11th most populated country in Asia. Known for its tourism and manufacturing, Thailand is a country that knows how to work hard but also knows how to have fun.
The Songkran Festival is the world’s largest water fight and comes around every April when locals and visitors take to the streets with buckets and water pistols to mark the traditional Thai New Year.
However, you don’t have to get soaking wet to have fun in Thailand. The Thai people enjoy a great many pastimes and below we have compiled a list of some of the favourite games enjoyed by people around the Southeastern country.
Makruk is a strategy board game that is also known as Thai Chess. The game is also played in Cambodia under the name Ouk.
The game originally came from India and features a king (lord), queen (seed), two bishops (noblemen), two knights (horses), two rooks (Boats), and eight pawns (cowrie shells). The pawn or ‘cowrie shell’ can’t move two spaces in their first move as they do in the Western variant. They can move one space forward and capture one space diagonally forward.
Seeds can move one space diagonally and the nobleman can also move one space diagonally as well as one space forward. Horses have a similar movement to the horse knights in traditional Western chess and the boat also moves in the way a traditional rook moves.
The lord is able to move one space in any direction and the aim of the game is to checkmate the king.
There are a number of variations to Makruk including Sut Khun, Sut Met, Sut Ma, and Takhaeng Ruea.
Deed Luk Kaew
Deed Luk Kaew is a marble game that can be played with as little as two players or more. The game can be played on a table or on the ground and sees a circle drawn before players take turns trying to shoot their opponent’s marbles out of the circle. The object of the game is to knock all of your opponent’s marbles out of the circle.
The name “Deed Luk Kaew” means ‘Marbles of the Four Elements’ and dates back generations. The game is a much loved traditional Thai game that is enjoyed by young and old and is a link to the traditional cultural heritage of Thailand in an ever-increasingly digital age.
The game of Mak-yek is an abstract strategy board game played by two players. The game is played on an 8×8 square board with two sets of 16 pieces. The pieces move like a rook in chess and the intention is to capture the opponent’s pieces.
Unlike chess, the original setup of pieces takes place on the first and third rows of the board. Opponents play in turn and capture pieces by landing on or in between pieces. By moving between two enemy pieces, the player is able to capture both. The overall object of the game is to capture all of your opponent’s pieces.
Variants of the game can be found around Asia, including APit-Sodok in Malaysia, Rek in Cambodia, and Gala on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Makhos, also known as Thai checkers, is a variant of the draughts game that combines skill and strategy. The game is played on an 8×8 board with each player having 8 pieces that are placed on the first 2 rows of the black squares.
Players can move their pieces forward and diagonally forward only. When a piece, also known as ‘men’, reaches a back row they are promoted to the position of ‘king’. This allows them to move and capture across any range of empty fields to capture opponent pieces.
To win the game, a player must capture or block all of their opponent’s pieces so they are unable to make a legal move.
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor is the international version of China’s popular Honor of Kings mobile game. It was initially released on iOS and Android in 2016 and was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018.
It is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game where players control one of 115 characters or heroes as they are also known. Players work their way up from the lowest level to build experience and skills, ensuring players continue to play.
Arena of Valor has also entered the eSports arena with many Thai players entering teams into global competitions.
The game was developed by TiMi Studio Group, published by Level Infinite, and produced by Ray Ning.
Players can choose their hero based on their role with most belonging to one of six categories (some may have overlapping categories). These categories include:
- Marksman – The marksman can deal sustained damage to opponents and is useful in team battles but is typically vulnerable.
- Mage – The mage will typically use magic to deal damage. Like the marksman, damage is usually inflicted from a distance and they can be fragile.
- Assassin – Assassins are highly mobile and are used to dispose of opponents quickly. Because of this, they do not have much health.
- Tank – Unlike the assassin, tanks have high HP levels and are built to withstand attacks.
- Warrior – Warriors typically have a blend of attributes that allow them to battle and defend themselves.
- Support – Support heroes are designed to heal and debuff the enemy team and can usually be found aiding marksmen.
Genshin Impact is another popular game in Thailand that can be played on mobile devices. However, it can also be played on laptops, desktop computers, and Playstations.
The game offers players an open-world environment in an anime style. It is an action RPG where players are able to switch between four characters to best make use of their skills and attributes.
The aim of the game is to unravel the mysteries of the world of Teyvat and reunite with a long-lost sibling.
As with most Asian countries, casino games are extremely popular. The most popular casino game in Thailand is Baccarat, a card game where the player can back the player or the banker’s hand.
The banker and player both have two cards dealt to them and the object of the game is to have the hand closest to a total of 9. A hand that exceeds 9 sees the total of the cards being added together with the first digit removed to reveal the number. For example, a hand with two 8 cards drawn would total 16, the 1 would be dropped for a game value of 6.
There are also a number of variants that can be played, including:
3 Card Baccarat – 3 card baccarat is similar to standard baccarat only three cards are dealt. In the event of a tie, the hand with more kings, queens, or jacks would win.
Baccarat Banque & Chemin de Fer – This version allows a player to play the role of the banker.
Mini-Baccarat – Mini-Baccarat has the same rules as traditional baccarat only there is a time limit. This results in faster gameplay.
Punto Banco – This is a baccarat game similar to mini-baccarat but uses 3 dealers instead of 1.
Coin Master is a fun, single-player mobile game that was created by Moon Active and is available on iOS and Android. Players compete to win coins via a slot machine-type spin system so they can build up their villages and progress to higher levels.
The game’s daily spin number is limited but players can use in-app purchases to enjoy a greater number of spins and move through levels more quickly.
Each level is completed by building five elements, with progress becoming more expensive and difficult as players level up.
A collectible card feature is also available in the game and players can trade these to enjoy more spins and pet experiences. A social aspect of the game allows players to gift friends a free spin every 48 hours, encouraging people to get their friends playing as well.
Roblox’s popularity lies in its versatility with the platform allowing players to play games, create games, and chat with other users. It has a number of RPG-style games including Brookhaven RP and Adopt Me! and is free to use. In-app purchases are available to improve the user experience.
Roblox was launched in 2006 and now has as many as 52 million daily users. The combination of gaming, creation, and social networking make this a popular game platform all over the world, especially in Thailand.
Tanghulu Master – Candy ASMR
Tanghulu Master – Candy ASMR is a relatively new simulation game that was launched in September of 2023 and enjoyed immediate success.
Tanghulu is a traditional Chinese candied fruit snack where berries are served on bamboo skewers and dipped in syrup. Players create and stream a Tanghulu eating show as Lulu and can earn money from sponsored ads. The aim is to build up Lulu’s shop, following, and experience to become a true Tanhulu master.