MUMBAI, Aug. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Designer and innovator Zain Memon, co-founder of a media start-up, Memesys Culture Lab, launched a Kickstarter campaign on 16th July 2019 for his team’s latest project, political strategic board game SHASN. Usually, Kickstarter campaigns take at least a few weeks to succeed and reach their funding goal. Zain’s campaign – by dawn – had already raised $28,592, with over 333 backers. As of today 12:40 pm, SHASN raised $124,871. The campaign will be live till 16th August 2019.
Designed by Zain Memon and his tiny gang of artists, activists, and gamers – SHASN is a gripping table-top game about ethics, politics, and strategy. It is centered on a nationwide election and breaks the body politic clearly and carefully down to its bare bones.
SHASN has been handpicked from over thousands of projects on Kickstarter, to headline the crowd-funding website globally. The game has also received rave reviews internationally, especially in the USA and UK. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, and Siri creator Tom Gruber are both self-professed ardent fans. Stephen Gulik of Everything Board Games claimed, “SHASN is the best thing to come out of American politics in a very long time.”
Zain is the co-founder of Memesys Culture Lab, a unique place, a multi-disciplinary studio, founded by filmmaker Anand Gandhi. The lab’s medium-agnostic approach has ventured into cinema, virtual reality, augmented reality and now, board games. And despite the scope of their ambition, the folks at Memesys have been artistically and commercially successful.
Perhaps the most cutting-edge studio out of India, famous for making impossible films like Ship of Theseus and An Insignificant Man, is now making impossible board games.
“I have always appreciated games as a high-impact medium,” says Zain Memon, co-founder, SHASN, game creator and ludologist. True to his passion, his shelf is stacked with hundreds of imported board games. After playing and studying games for years, he is now making them.
His brainchild, SHASN, is a thrilling political strategy board game that simulates the experience of on-ground politics. SHASN puts players inside the minds of politicians as they make policy decisions, influence voters, capture areas and build ideologies.
“A major reason we made the game is that our political discourse is broken,” says Zain. “People aren’t able to converse anymore about the most important problems of our world. We wanted to create an intervention that would facilitate that.”
SHASN has routinely sparked political debates, rousing people to hash out their ideas with passion and vigor. One playtest in Los Angeles actually led to the breakup of a couple, when they discovered their differing views on Affirmative Action. Zain recounts another session in Mumbai, where a self-avowed nationalist eventually changed his views on India–Pakistan relations over the course of the game.
A film and media producer, Zain, has been a part of films across the industry, all around the world. His latest collaboration is with György Pálfi, a highly-respected auteur, who was so impressed he decided to make SHASN’s cinematic trailer free of cost.
On taking his film experience to games, Zain states that, “The game actually came much before the film. It’s been around for thousands of years, it’s almost pre-human. So many other species have been deploying play as a practice to prepare for the real world. It’s visceral. It’s a simulation of the real world in a controlled environment.”
SHASN now aims to take the benefits of play and attempts to gamify politics in a similarly thrilling fashion, all the while preparing its players for the real world, just a little more.
Here’s the link to SHASN’s Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zainmemon/shasn-the-political-strategy-board-game-break-ks
About Memesys Culture Lab
Memesys Culture Lab is a cinema and new media studio at the intersection of science, philosophy and culture. The studio will actively participate in cinema, literature, pedagogy, technology, art, scientific and philosophical research, and actions of significant social impact.
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