I stumbled upon the ‘Bharata 600 BC’ board game through an article in the Hindu Metroplus day-before-yesterday.
The game is pricey, at Rs. 3,800, but beyond the price I was astounded by the detailing and design of the game!
The first thing that caught my eye was the board game’s theme. You get to take on the role of the ruler of one of the 16 Mahajanapadas of India in 600 BC! The 16 Mahajanapadas at that period were Anga, Assaka (Asmaka), Avanti, Chedi, Gandhara, Kamboja, Kashi, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya, Panchala, Surasena, Vajji, and Vatsa (Vamsa).
This is a fantastic way to educate users (not just children, but even adults) about India’s history, almost like how Amar Chitra Katha approached Indian history using the comic strip format.
While I was young, I recall playing the Indian version of Monopoly with my friends – called Trade, and it had Indian locations and cities in them. Using the accurate history of India as a base for a board game is a brilliant idea to immerse users while they learn.
In fact, schools and educational institutions could invest in games like these and get children to play them in the class while teachers teach them the nuances of the Mahajanapadas, for an immersive learning experience that does not include digital devices or a screen!
The next thing that drew me in was the mention of handcrafted Channapatna wooden components dyed with natural colours!
The artisans of Channapatna have been seriously affected by the pandemic and the lockdown, and demand has dried up for their wares considerably.
Recently, they have been pivoted to making toys for Christmas trees and that is a very smart idea to make the craft form useful to newer kinds of use-cases.
That this game is encouraging the use of Channapatna artisans’ efforts is a fantastic idea, to bring that craft form to newer ways to create their works of art and reach buyers.
I have not bought the game yet, but I see some of the photos available on the game producers’ website and via Amazon reviews, and the level of detail, craftwork, design, quality, and imagination in the artwork, and overall aesthetics are truly marvelous!
I intend to buy the game for my daughter or son as a gift for their birthday next year.