13th of October, 2022
As we sat on our absolutely stunning booth of the Board Game "মাটি থেকে মুঠোফোন" on the second day of Frugal Innovation Forum 2022, we've had a flash back of the past seven months; of amazing moments that Team Kraftz will cherish forever! Having the honor to craft a Board Game with BRAC Social Innovation Lab, having weekly meetings and testing out the game at BRAC Center with the team, multiple visits all over Bangladesh and seeing how much the students have learned and enjoyed the games, it all felt like a dream, that certainly came true.
Let’s go back in time!
On a busy afternoon of 7th of April 2022, we have received an email that got the entire team of Kraftz on their feet- an email from BRAC, from the department of Social Innovation Lab.
“Collaboration Opportunity to Design a Game”
Since the start of the year, our team had already visited BRAC Center and sat with Team Social Innovation Lab twice to conduct multiple game sessions, where we had also discussed in details as to how we have created the games over the past five years. Conducting the sessions with Social Innovation Lab has always been a pleasure since they have been very cordial with our entire team; there were times in between the sessions where we’d sit together and talk about the many elements that makes board games much more than a medium of entertainment. Learning via Gamification has been in the mind of Team Kraftz for quite a while, and after getting the email on April, we’d also realized that Social Innovation Lab is also heading in the same direction. A big YES was our response to the email we’d received!
A series of meeting and brainstorming followed the email throughout April and May of 2022, as our team dug down to determine if a Board game can be created in the allotted time that Team SIL had given us- a game that is a part of the Mobile Money Project that aims to enlighten adolescent girls about Digital Financial Services, Mobile platforms in particular. The project has been funded by The Gates Foundation. To create the board game, our team was given a timeline of 4 months, which was quite a challenge for both Kraftz and SIL; but we took on the challenge and started the project from June 2022. And from that point onwards started a journey that our team will cherish forever!
From June onwards, our team started visiting BRAC Center weekly, sitting with Team SIL and sketching out how the Board Game is to be created. We wanted to fuse two elements together in the game- an element of movement (usage of motor skill), along with the element of Resource Collection. So, the participants will be involving their motor skills to collect resource in the game to reenact the journey that one needs to go through while using Digital Financial Services. Not only did we want the participants to be enlightened about the many opportunities that DFS has in the offering, we also wanted them to be aware of the challenges that they might face as well. It was quite a surprise at first to many, that DFS is to be introduced to the target audience with the means of a non-digital medium of Board Game. But the presence of tech-phobia in rural areas is what we had to consider and prioritize, ensuring the participants gradually get to know the fundamental basics of DFS, before trying it out practically.
By the end of June, we’d ended up making a hand-crafted version of the game that we started testing at BRAC Center. Be it on the meeting room, or the working space of Team SIL, the entire team would gather around and play the game with us, which was quite a sight to behold! It was amazing to see the game getting off to a good start, being entertaining and educative at the same time. As July started, we started to polish the game and upgrade it further, and gradually started heading off to the digital design for it. Three hand-made version of the game is what it took to end up crafting the first digitally printed version of the game that we took at our first visit for the project at Mymensingh. Playing the Board Game in BRAC Schools, Madrasa and in student clubs has been truly a unique experience for our team, and the response we’d gotten was nothing short of spectacular. While we conducted the game, Team SIL interviewed the students before and after the game was played, to understand the effectiveness of the game.
After playing eleven rounds of the game for three days, we’d returned back to Dhaka; and by then we had a few breakthroughs!
1. The game got an amazing response from the students, in terms of both entertainment and being an educative tool.
2. Every game deserves a good story, and we’d ended up developing it on the visit!
Today is the day! After years of saving up here and there, from travel fares to lunch money, four friends have decided to finally break open their piggy bank. With hearts full of anticipation, the four friends counted the amount of money they had saved. Just like anyone else, they had some goals for which they had saved. They had payments to make for things they wanted, money to send to loved ones for different purposes, and bills that they wanted to help their families pay. They also had bigger dreams; to set up businesses for future revenue and to build savings for rainy days. Limitless possibilities lay ahead!
But was the amount enough? The friends quickly realized that they had to compete to complete their objectives! And so, they devised a game: They would use digital financial services to race to reach their goals as soon as possible. May the best user win!
3. The name of the game was set!
"মাটি থেকে মুঠোফোন" (Roughly “From the Piggy Bank to the Mobile Phone”, or “From Clay to Cell”)
In the past, we used to save up money on Clay/Piggy banks, and then allocate the amount on our daily lives; and on the current day, we can do the very same with Digital phones. The name is inspired from the transition we are having in the digital age, from the Clay bank to the Phone!
For the entire month of August, our team got busy with the completion of the Design Phase of the game. Be it the color, size or material, we wanted to ensure the components of the game are as ergonomically appropriate as possible. Completion of the Design Phase was followed by another visit on September- and this time, Team Kraftz and SIL visited the BRAC Schools and Madrasas in Bogura, Rangpur and Nilphamari! By then we had developed the evaluation parameter even further, and had also planned to play the game in a tournament format. The players who’d won qualified for semi-finals and finals, and the winners were given prizes! The response was even better on this visit, and it was an absolute delight to see the students learning the game so quickly, while enjoying it at the same time. On this visit, we also let the students conduct the game with their friends; we found out they enjoy conducting the game as much as enjoy playing it.
After the end of the visit, Team Kraftz started two processes simultaneously- the production of the game, as well as the development of the Tutorial video for the game. We opted for stop-motion animation for the tutorial, along with the narrative in Bengali so that the participants can get to learn the game as smoothly as possible in less than ten minutes. With the production phase and the making of the tutorial video being over by early October, we headed for the big event- Frugal Innovative Forum 2022.
The journey led to its launch at Frugal Innovation Forum, where we had demonstrated the game. Be it the participants, ED of BRAC, or the donor for the project- we had been graced by an amazing response from all of them. The acknowledgement of Board Games as an educative tool by delegates from various sectors is what has motivated us the most. Playing the game with Asif Saleh (Executive Director, BRAC), and Jason Lamb (Deputy Director, FSP, Gates Foundation) has to be the moment of the forum for our team!
A big, big thanks to the entire Social Innovation Lab team for being so amazing to work with. It has been an honor working with you - Kazi Ashfaqul Huq, Durdana Mahfuz, Anwar Shadat, Arshae Ahmed, Doulat Rashid, Maliha Marzan, Naveed Aananda.
A big salute to Team Kraftz for making it happen- Abdullah Salman, K Maksuda Hoque, Babul Chakma, Rebeiro Bonney, Rashedul Islam, and Imran Hasan.
We believe it is the start of an amazing journey of Kraftz for making more educative and entertaining Board games, and there are many more to come in the near future!
- Md. Tasliman Azam
(Founder, Kraftz. Co-Founder, Kraos Bangladesh).