Dealing a local hand

These game creators have made purpose-driven playing cards to educate people about Indian politics, nature, and geography
a few cards from a pack of ‘Delhi Trees Card Game’; a set of Mantri cards.
a few cards from a pack of ‘Delhi Trees Card Game’; a set of Mantri cards.

Most 90s kids often riff on childhood memories about spending hours outranking opponents—usually a family member or a friend—in a game of WWE SuperCards or even Uno. A game of playing cards is often an enjoyable recreation in Indian households to help families unwind after a tiring day. A few homegrown game creators have given this activity an (Indian) creative spin by custom-making a few card games to give them an entertaining and educational edge.

A political twist

By providing details of 100 Members of Parliament (MPs), Mantri Cards introduces the gamer to Indian politics and helps create awareness about those who run the government. “The last two elections have been very polarising and it is getting even worse because of social media and how we receive information. We, thus, started to explore a channel that can give unbiased information,” shares Anuja Pitre (32) from Mumbai who created this game in early 2020.

Their deck of 108 cards includes 100 cards on Members of Parliaments with details—educational qualifications, criminal cases if any, their assets and liabilities, etc.,—about the candidates from the 17th Lok Sabha elections as well as eight unique power cards that can alter gameplay. Talking about the process of choosing the represented mantris (politicians)and creating this game, Pitre explains, “[While making the game] we made sure that all states were presented; the ratio of parties in the Lok Sabha is almost identical in our deck.

The male-female ratio has been taken care of as well to give an accurate representation of the Lok Sabha.” The information displayed on these cards has been sourced from the Election Commission of India’s website with inputs from the open data depository platform, MyNeta.info, and PRS Legislative Research, a non-profit. Mantri Cards attempts to not only provide information about our politicians but also cultivate curiosity about our political system and spark discussions about the same.

The natural take

The green havens in Delhi have a variety of fauna but unfortunately, the information citizens have on them is extremely limited. ‘Delhi Trees Card Game’ by New Delhi Nature Society (NDNS), New Friends Colony, offers a fun and informative outlet to learn about one’s surroundings, with a focus on the trees around us. “In our childhood, we played trump cards that featured cars, bikes, wrestlers. I thought it would make a great medium to teach people about the trees in their surroundings. Children would get to learn the names and how to identify these trees,” shares Verhaen Khanna, founder of NDNS and creator of the game.

Delhi Trees Card Game—it is created with the help of filmmaker and environmentalist Pradip Krishen’s book The Trees of Delhi: A Field Guide—consists of 60 cards. Each card displays the name and photograph of a certain tree species found in Delhi, along with its height and leaf size. The cards are also ranked based on this; the higher numbers outrank lower ones. The game, which was launched in early 2021, has received a positive response from nature enthusiasts.

Know basic geography

A number of people have considered geography a boring subject in school. Memorising capitals of countries, marking rivers and mountains on maps, and getting an insight into seasons might seem like mundane activities. In pursuit of making this subject interesting, Priyanka Prabhakar (34), co-founder of Kalkaji-based Coco MocoKids, has created a card game that will help one learn about countries all while having fun. The deck of 50 cards has details of the happiness index, population ranking, and area index of countries—the higher figures win. Additionally, a card also contains other relevant details about a country to help one learn more about a place without having to pay much attention.

“Geography is really boring and theory based in school, and we built an aversion to the subject. Our game doesn’t give out the messages that you are learning, it is just about having fun,” concludes Prabhakar.

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The New Indian Express
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