What happens when you mix the fun of board games and the benefits of exercise? You get BoardGains, an innovative fusion of the two.
The fitness board game was created by Trinidad-born Eric Mathura, 31, a marketing and events manager/personal trainer at Habitual Fitness in Mississauga, Canada.
When the gym was closed during the lockdown in March 2020, he used the crisis and turned it into an opportunity to develop his concept for the game and transform it into reality.
Speaking to the Sunday Guardian Mathura said “I discovered the power of board games to unite people around fitness while working at the gym.
“In the past eight years at Habitual Fitness, I’ve created lots of innovative fitness events bringing fun to fitness.
“One of those was a specialty bootcamp event called “Board Games Bootcamp” in 2016, which applied a fitness twist to four different board game concepts.
“The feedback was great, everyone loved the event and it was a success.”
He said it planted a seed in his mind; what if one of those concepts could be turned into a real game?
Mathura, who has a BSc in Kinesiology at York University replied the moment he saw the excitement, sense of community, competition, and the motivation his Board Games Bootcamp brought, he knew he was onto something special.
He doubled down on that event and took that fitness whiteboard he had created and kept developing the game over the years.
Mathura, whose family is from Gandhi Village, Debe further added that he continued to develop, test, and fine tune different iterations of the game with different groups of friends individuals throughout the years.
He said the names of the game also changed over time, from Fitness Monopoly to Fitopoly in September 2018 to Pump It Up in June 2019.
Mathura disclosed that it was the winner of one of his events, Lala, the prize was a chef to come to her house and cook her a private dinner asked him where she can buy the game and he told her that he made it.
Mathura responded that a light bulb went off in his head and he should make it into an actual board game.
He revealed that the name came about from a teenager in one of his boot camps who took a photograph of the game and posted it on Snapchat calling it “board gains.”
Mathura said when Canada was in lockdown in March 2020, while furloughed due to his gym employer temporarily closing its doors he used his time to finish the game’s development.
After successfully funding his Kickstarter crowd funding campaign on Nov 11, 2020, he was able to source a manufacturer to bring BoardGains to the hands of people everywhere.
Mathura opined that the timing was perfect as more people were staying at home and turning to home fitness activities during the pandemic.
He shared that his vision in creating BoardGains was to provide a fresh new way to promote family fitness and friendly competition in any group of friends whether playing at the park or beach. Mathura added that the game was versatile enough to be used by personal trainers to teach their fitness classes and can even be played solo at home to get a workout in.
He emphasised that the main goal was to make fitness fun and help all people achieve lasting health and wellness.
Mathura explained the game involves individual players or teams rolling the dice, moving their game pieces, completing physical exercises, and then collecting “gains” as they complete a lap around the board.
He stated the objective was to collect a set number of gains before anyone else or collect the most gains in a set amount of time. Players can gain advantages or are hit with disadvantages by collecting “lucky play cards.”
Mathura stressed that the board game was family-friendly, with simple, easy-to-follow rules, it can be played in approximately one hour in any setting, with no special equipment required.
He said besides Canada and the US, shipping had begun to customers worldwide to diverse countries such as Australia, Germany, Belgium, Austria, UK, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Spain.
When asked if he had any words of encouragement and advice for someone who wanted to bring a board game to market or a small business, Mathura replied to just go for it; don’t over-think about ideas, if you have an idea, run with it. Make a plan and execute.
Mathura will be coming to Trinidad for a BoardGains pop-up event early in the new year.