Chaupar, Gambling Game of Ancient India
Chaupar, an ancient Indian board game has undergone significant changes in cultural perception over its long history—from an adult-oriented gambling game to a child’s game. My project re-introduces this game, believed to have been played by Gods, to a contemporary audience, allowing new players to enjoy the game in its original form. In addition to the game board, my publication briefly details the history, perceptions, and westernization of the game and re-teaches the original gameplay.
Software Used—Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, Procreate Categories—Book Design, Publication Design, Package Design, Game Re-Introduction Typefaces Used—New Spirit and Nimbus Sans from Adobe FontsProject Completion—December 2022
Chaupar, a gambling board game which was believed to have been played by the Indian Gods themselves, was one of the most loved game in the ancient period. This game was also believed to be a reason for the war of Mahabharat in India, mentioned in the Indian Epic. One of the rulers, emperor Akbar was so fascinated by this game that he ordered the designof the gameboard in his courtyard, using his servants as pawns to play the game. This game of Chaupar travelled the world later, with the emergence of colonial powers. A variation of the Indian game was introduced commercially into the United States in the 1860’s by a certain ‘John Hamilton’. This game than changed to be a child’s game due to the colonialization.
Having such a rich history, my idea was to re-introduce this game, which was now on the verge of being forgotten, to instill nostalgia and attempt to make people remember and appreciate the history of this game. This publication will re-teach the original gameplay, to understand the strategies and be able to play this gambling game, the way it was supposed to be played.
First Few Iterations:
The design of my publication started with the idea of mimicking the game in the book itself. I explored the structure, making it open in all four directions as you read, which will then convert itself into the gameboard, allowing the readers to play.
Realizing this structure being a little challenging in terms of navigation, and going back and forth from rules of the game to actually playing teh game, I took a diversion from this and explored a totallyt different structure, which uses piano-hinge/skewer binding.
But since there are no skewers or any such material/thing was used in the original game, I thought it was going away from my original idea a relating the book to the game itself. Therefore, I came back to my initial idea, only this time opening the book in 2 directions, horizontally, instead of all four, and still detaching the gameboard, which would then become the case/package for the book itself.
The above structure as you can see, seems to be playful just like a game in itself. But it fails in case of an informational book, causing confusion and not letting the users skip to the page they want, forcing them to open/play with the book in order to get to the section they wish to read. Thus, still keeping this idea of opening in two directions, my final book is now divided into 2 sections where the section opening from left to right contains almost all the history of the game from gods to Indian Epic, to Indian rulers. The other section opening right to left consists of the spread and influences, along with explaining the game and it’s rules so that the readers could play this game in its original form.
The design of the book consists of a 3 column grid based on the game which itself has 3 columns. The primary typeface used for headings is New Spirit, designed by Miles Newlyn, which is both nostalgic and entirely enigmatic which works in conjunction with my concept. It is a revival of Windsor, a typeface release in 1905 by Stephenson, Blake & Co. The secondary type or body text is Nimbus Sans, published by Germany-based URW++. It is based on Helvetica but attempts to clean up some of the ‘mistakes’ of the original Helvetica. Thus, it is legible even at smaller point sizes, which was required while using the 3 column grid in an 8”x8” book.
Below are a few spreads that show the various ways of using type and layout throught my publication.