Buy these games in their home country and you’ll get a keepsake with character, and a surefire icebreaker for making friends along the way.

Hand-carved bao boards (a spin on mancala) are easy to find in the markets of Kenya and Tanzania—but local players are hard to beat. Maybe suggest a round of bao la kujifunza—“bao for beginners.”


 Cuban Dominoes
On streets in Havana, games of partner dominoes rage. Players move with mechanical precision, playing a winning move with a triumphant thwack.



Japan’s version of the ancient cup-and-ball game has become a full-on phenomenon, with the YouTube channels to prove it. SpinGear’s two Tokyo stores stock every imaginable color and pattern.

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