How can learning through play become a gateway to better engagement with India’s crafts knowledge?
CRAFT COLLECT explores the viability of a light strategy card game to lead players on a journey across Indian artisanal practices. Players become makers who are tasked with building Indian heritage artifacts. They navigate the origins, geographies, materials, and processes of each artifact while dodging the constraints of time, chance, and uncertainty. The game is won by securing the most completed lineages.
The project uses an interactive framework led by play design to connect the creator and consumer. An effort is made to bridge the existing gaps between the two by making the process of exploring the former more fascinating for the latter. CRAFT COLLECT is my homage to the typically anonymous craftspeople of my home country, India, involving information gained directly from my interactions with them in the capacity of a reporter, collaborator, and consumer.
The content for the card game was developed in collaboration with a team of craftspeople, photographers, and playtesters. Stories of craft clusters across India are brought to life in an unexpected way through the immersive mechanics of game design.
Information about each artifact is sourced directly from their sites of making, through a combination of field research, interviews, and documentation. This direct link between the cards and the artisans they spotlight made it possible to add a fresh voice to each card. The cards’ layout also borrows from the quintessential polaroid to mirror its ‘keepsake’ quality and afford collectability.
More information about the featured crafts, game rules and player experience can be found here.
Most of the project’s future goals are focused on building expansion sets to include more craft forms. It will continue to be a card game to offer screen-weary learners an alternative path to continue their learning. Tactile interaction mechanisms contribute to the process of understanding through hands-on involvement, as observed in most rounds of playtesting. The thesis timeline afforded the time and resources to root CRAFT COLLECT’S context, values, and purpose so that future iterations could directly target scalability. I envision more editions for the game that involve craft forms from different countries with the opportunity to collaborate with an even more diverse pool of designers and artisans. I hope this effort leads to further proliferation of craftsmanship knowledge that brings more artisans to the forefront of conversations around art and design.