Published: 28th April 2021
This unique board game will take you through the lanes of Kancheepuram through the eyes of a handloom weaver. Check it out!
Ettana: The Looms of Kanchi is a four-player board game developed by Madhu Sundar's Mad4Fun Games and it is about to hit the markets soon
Right from her childhood, Madhu Sundar was exposed to the rich colours and textures of Kanjeevaram silk sarees. Brought up in Chennai, Madhu was always fascinated to see her mother and grandmother draped in exquisite silk. "It was these memories and the fact that I also got married wearing a Kanjeevaram saree that led me to make a game based on it," she says. Madhu, a Zurich-based game developer, has created a unique board game, called Ettana: The Looms of Kanchi, featuring the weavers of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. "The colours, designs and traditions associated with the sarees is something that has inspired me for a long time," says Madhu.
The game is played with the help of dice. Madhu explains the gameplay. "There is a 5x5 octagonal matrix and there are certain colours on the board. There are also a set of action and design cards. Each aspect of the game is associated with Kancheepuram or its handloom," says Madhu. Each player in the game is a weaver and the challenge is to collect eight points or annas. Therefore, the game is called Ettana. "Each design card has a part of a design that the weaver wants to create. The player has to create the pattern on the board. The action cards signify the activities of the weaver that he has to do in order to establish his trade. The players can earn annas through the value on the cards," explains Madhu.
Madhu hopes that her game will eliminate boredom and repetitiveness that sets in when one board game is played multiple times. "The players have to think of new strategies during every game and every turn. What works once might not work the next time. I wanted to eliminate the repetitiveness and that is what I feel makes the game really unique," says Madhu. To ensure that her game stands out, Madhu collaborated with her friend Darshini Sundar, who helped her design the game. "We have been working on this game for a year," says Darshini, who is based out of Bengaluru.
Ettana is set to launch during the middle of May as the maiden game under Madhu's company Mad4Fun Games and will be priced at `2,900. Currently, Madhu and Darshini are in the post-production phase and are accepting pre-orders. The game can be played by two to four players of ages eight and above. "Having four players introduces some randomness into the game as after every turn the board is shuffled. This prevents any player from getting stuck in a deadlock," says Madhu. The players will be more eager to know what's coming up, she feels.
And Madhu hopes that it is this uniqueness that will draw more players to try out the new game, amid stiff competition from other more famous and established board games. "I was introduced to board games through a game called Settlers of Catan and I got hooked onto it immediately. Any board game enthusiast would definitely love to know more about new, unique games," says Madhu, to which Darshini adds, "Ettana takes you through the lanes of Kancheepuram. Through the gameplay, you will essentially experience pillars adorned with carvings, beautiful sarees hanging or weavers dyeing of yarns. It evokes a sense of nostalgia."