Students of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University celebrate after winning a recent Challenge 21 tournament in the campus.

MANILA, JULY 8, 2013 (PHILSTAR) Have you played tic-tac-toe, scrabble, bingo, breakthrough, chess and basketball?

All these fun games and exciting sports are now consolidated in one mind-enhancing board game invented by a retired government officer.

A unique board game that is truly Filipino, Challenge 21 promotes abstract thinking, mental alertness, observation skills, and strategizing out-of-the-box.

Challenge 21 is an educational strategy board game for enhancing mental skills through the formation of natured-inspired shapes and patterns with mathematical logic, the invention of 68-year-old inventor Leonardo Mejia Yu, a retired economics professor and former Philippine Ports Authority officer.

Vivid memories about his simple life by the foot of Mt. Matutum and places overlooking Sarangani Bay in then less-urbanized General Santos City are what inspired Yu to design his first board game incorporating nature and rural elements.

In those places I recall birds, kites, butterflies, clay pots, antique boxes, zigzag roads, and even shark fins jutting out at sea, hence the conception of Challenge 21, recalls Yu, who is a member of the Filipino Inventors Society.

The heart of Challenge 21 lies in its use of special patterns resembling shapes of animals and objects like birds and shark teeth.

The multi-player board game can be played by two to four players for bonding activities among family members, friends and colleagues. Likewise, it is governed by a set of rules and procedures, which is easy to understand and can be learned in a few minutes or in just one or two readings.

Challenge 21 is played by forming a combination of 21 shapes or patterns and blocking opponents from forming these patterns. The entire board game consists of four sets of colored chips and a main board to form special natured-inspired patterns using the chips.

Every player thinks thoroughly and comprehensively every time the opponent move, to block or prevent the opponent from coming up with a successful combination of shapes, forms and patterns.

At the same time, the player has to come up with his/her own unique strategic move to be ahead in reaching for that winning combination of shapes, forms and patterns just like in an art competition.

Each shape, form and pattern shall have corresponding points. A combination of such shapes which reaches an equivalent of, at least, 21 points or the highest point earned net of penalties, even if below 21 points will be the winning entry.

Teenagers and professionals who were able to play the board say Challenge 21 is a truly engrossing board game, wholesome entertainment and an analytical substitute for computer games.

A remarkable game, challenging the mind, teaching one to look at all angles. With Challenge 21, you learn to strategize, says businessman Rene Baltazar.

It was the lone Filipino invention among the 518 inventions worldwide in the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, Switzerland last April and was among the recipients of a silver medal award.

Last year, Yus invention won first prize in the Tuklas Award (Outstanding Invention) initiated by the Department of Science and Technology during the National Inventions Contest and Exhibits in SMX, Pasay City.

The board game has passed safety standards set by the Department of Health, as it uses set pieces that are non-toxic, non-synthetic and recyclable. The board game set is made of strong imported paper which is environmentally friendly and safe to play.

The unique invention is displayed at the showroom and business center of the Filipino Inventors Society Producer Cooperative (FISPC) at Delta building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.

For inquiries, contact the FISPC at 709-0260, email at or visit www.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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