CHENNAI: The Mahabharata book might be over 3,000 pages. But the all-new strategy card game based on the book will take you through a condensed version of the epic in just 20 minutes.
Thirty-year-old Varun Devanathan, the brain behind Legend of Vyas, was inspired by the lack of an appropriate medium to educate kids about Indian mythology. “I saw an episode of BR Chopra’s Mahabharata (1990) on television and that’s when the idea occurred to me,” says Varun, who was born and raised in Chennai, and is now based in Singapore.
After many brainstorming sessions with partner and fellow game enthusiast Huren Sivaraj, he launched the two-player game in Hyderabad ComicCon in 2015.
“Previous knowledge about the Mahabharata is not required for playing the game,” says Varun, the co-founder of Vansh Games. Be it kids from Parry’s Corner or Paris, anyone can take out the pack of cards and play.
The game, which took one year to complete, has been designed by a diverse team. “People from Chennai, New Delhi, and Singapore worked on it,” says Varun.
Anirudh Sainath, artist of the game, portrayed Gods in a vibrant manner. He was assisted by Benjamin Tan, a Singapore-based artist. “The most difficult part was to break the epic down into bite-size pieces that were accurate to the plotline but quick and engaging at the same time,” says Varun. The team researched extensively and took help from KM Ganguli’s English translation of the Mahabharata to maintain the nuances of the epic.
The main storyline revolves around the Kurukshetra war, with a connection to the core story. The first release has Arjuna and Karna as its main heroes. They have tried to balance the other powerful warriors in the game, by giving them a different outlook. It includes war formations, spells, astras/weapons and key warriors. There are surprise elements in the form of distinct instructions on each card.
“The winner is decided by the amount of damage each hero suffers once all their support cards are exhausted,” explains Varun.
“An expansion is on the cards by the end of this year. It would not be a digital version as it takes away the experience of playing with cards,” says Varun. The expansion is expected to bring in the rivalry between Bheema and Duryodhana, including the original characters.
The board game costs `2,000. The difficulty level of the game is intermediary.
(The game is available on: http://www.legendofvyas.com/)