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Princely States of British India - Card Game

About the Game

In order to rule over Indian Subcontinent, British established their paramountancy over the local kingdoms. Many were awarded ranks and honours, depending on their status. This card game contain information about 85 kingdoms, that were awarded 11 or more Gun Salutes, and fall under the present political boundary of India.
This unique cognitive card game can be used to learn History, Geography, Mathematics, English, Political Science, and General Knowledge. Cards are designed in such a way that everyone, from a 2 years old to a 100 years old can play and enjoy. Zones are color coded, which can be used to play with 2-3 year old kids. Gun salutes are all 2 digit odd numbers, which can be used for 3-5 year old kids. A black band contain information on how many years the dynasty ruled, when they merged into India. This number is 3 to 4 digit long. It can work well with kids from 5 to 9 years of age. Children of ages 8 and above can play using Area and Population also, which contain decimal values. With elders, we can immitate games like poker and guess-the-card. The options are limitless. You can get more ideas, and even submit yours in "How to Play" section.

Journey of the Card Game

In 2016, the idea of developing a game using the data of Princely States came to us. A small team started with the research. While the list of Princely States was easily available, gathering accurate information about the states became a challenge. Surveys were done by the British, but that data was quite old. Since then, the geographic boundaries and population of states had changed. Flags, crests, emblems, and insignias of many states were available, but not for all. Our team established contacts with a few of the royal families to gather the information. Only a handful proved to be helpful. Our small studio in a basement in Kalkaji, Delhi was our hub. It took us three years to gather enough information to start the design. During this journey, several prototypes were developed and tested with different user groups.

Early Prototypes

The first prototype was developed in 2017 with a limited number of cards. It contained some dummy data to test the feasibility of such a game. By end of 2017, we had prepared over 70 cards, printed from our office printer, and carefully cut into the required shape. A small paper-punch helped us get the corners round and using some ivory sheets and tapes, we made a case. A few sets were printed and used for testing. Several errors were spotted. Eventually, by the end of 2018, we were able to prepare all 85 cards, print them and play with students of various schools. During the game-play, we realized that at many points, the game is getting stuck in deadlocks. There, some values for Population and Area were adjusted to their nearest rounded off version, and the game continued.

Final Design

During the lockdown of 2020, we had an opportunity to do exhaustive testing on the cards. The size and thickness of paper were changed multiple times to ensure that even younger kids, with their tiny delicate hands, can handle the complete deck. The first version did not have rounded corners. After lamination, that appeared to be a problem. Different qualities of laminations were also tried. Finally, a small size, that can suit everyone from a 2-year-old to an 80-year-old was finalized.