Board game by Team UPES registers emphatic win at Toycathon 2021
Board game Mission Setubandha outshone around 1.2 lakh participants from across India to win Toycathon 2021
Toycathon 2021, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Department for Promotion of Internal and International Trade, Textile Ministry, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and AICTE, presented a unique opportunity for students, teachers, start-ups, and toy professionals to submit their innovative, creative ideas and prototypes.
Team UPES led by Dr. Ashish Karn, from UPES School of Engineering, Mr. Pankaj Badoni, from UPES School of Computer Science, Manas Ranjan Mishra, and Ashish Thulkar from School of Design, devised a physical board-game MissionSetubandha for their official entry at Toycathon 2021.
Mission Setubandha brings to the Indian market a unique concept of cooperative board game rooted in Indian culture and traditions, albeit with a perfect blend of innovation and ingenuity – producing a fun-filled game for kids and adults alike. The board design of the game was conceived by Dr. Ashish Karn and executed by Manas Ranjan Mishra and Ashish Thulkar from UPES School of Design. And the graphics and videos were managed by Pankaj Badoni from UPES School of Computer Science.
Says Dr. Ashish Karn from UPES School of Engineering, “I defined the characters of the game, rules of gameplay, and the crude board design. Pankaj Badoni, from UPES School of Computer Science, encouraged and supported me throughout. He helped me with the graphics and videos. Whereas Manas Ranjan Mishra from UPES School of Design came up with a beautiful board for the game. Students from UPES School of Computer Science also pitched in their efforts to prepare the creative videos with Pankaj Badoni and Dr. Ashish Karn. Gaurav Mittal, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, worked on the other hardware pieces of the game.”
The conventional board games in the market such as Ludo, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, etc., are competitive board games where one player is meant to overpower the other, sometimes even ‘kill’ to secure his victory. Though these games are fun and interesting, there is always a competitive battle, aggression, and a mad race for victory on the family board game table.
Some research studies suggest that such an intense setting may lead to stress in certain individuals, and kids, thereby being completely counterproductive. There are some semi-cooperative and cooperative board games introduced in the western market – but many of them deal with dire circumstances such as mystery, spying, pandemic, etc.
Therefore, the challenge was – Can a board game be designed to teach elements of cooperation, team-spirit, equity and empathy to kids? Can a board game be designed which can embody the Indian value systems and is simultaneously easy to relate to?
Thereafter emerged the historical element of Setubandha from Ramayana. The incident beautifully captures the spirit of teamwork and cooperation. The game begins with four warriors – Hanuman, Jambavan, Nala, and Squirrel who joined hands in the mission of building the bridge for Lord Rama.
Mission Setubandha revolves around a military expedition and involves the elements of collaboration, responsibility, and profound lessons from Indian culture and traditions. The game captures the historical narrations of Ramayana by Valmiki with precision and brings up the engineering principles in building the Ramasetu.
Another unique feature of the game is that the same board can be used to play multiple games. The first and the more prominent game is Setubandha which has two levels – Setunirmaan (Bridge construction) and Setunirikshan (Bridge Inspection). A faster version of the game is known as ‘Help Hanuman’. The second game is also a unique innovation since it can be set up flexibly and the difficulty level of the game can also be adjusted by the kids themselves. All in all, this game is a unique genre of board game that will be a delight to play with friends and family.
The tagline of this uniquely crafted game is –
Come on, summon all
to the beckoning of virtue
Loud goes the clarion call
to build the Dharmsetu!
Says Dr. Sunil Rai, Vice-Chancellor, UPES, “Mission Setubandha, a board game developed by the students under the guidance of faculty, is a unique and pioneering effort in highlighting the unparalleled philosophy from the ancient history of India. It promotes a spirit of cooperation and universal brotherhood amongst the learners. This project is also a departure from the standard format of a winner and loser in a game. This game advocates a win-win model, and this is the reason it won so many accolades and was declared the winner. Team UPES deserves appreciation and best wishes for many more successful endeavours.”
Echoing her thoughts, Manisha Mohan, Dean, UPES School of Design, says, “I am extremely proud of the entire team that worked on Mission Setubandha. This is a fabulous win under the leadership of our expert faculty. When I saw the game myself, I could see it was a clear winner and a wonderful concept. I am also glad that three schools (UPES School of Engineering, UPES School of Computer Science, and UPES School of Design) collaborated so well in this entry as Team UPES. We intend to do more multidisciplinary projects in the future.”