Project image
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AU$ 4,819
pledged of AU$ 35,000pledged of AU$ 35,000 goal
80
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 16 2016
AU$ 4,819
pledged of AU$ 35,000pledged of AU$ 35,000 goal
80
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jun 16 2016

About

(Note: prices are in Australian dollars, funding goal is ~$25k USD)

 Guru Ganjifa is a 100% custom illustrated deck of 130 cards based on traditional Indian Playing Cards known as Ganjifa with inspiration from Indian Mythology (Dashavatara) and Madhubani (Mithila) artform.  It is for collectors, card players, artists, Indian mythology and history enthusiasts or students and everyone in between.

DECK FEATURES

  • Fully custom illustrated cards based on Indian Mythology
  • Inspired by Dashavatara Ganjifa which is said to be the most popular card game in various parts of India centuries ago
  • First ever general printing of a deck based on Dashavatara Ganjifa making it a unique and rare occurrence
  • Artwork inspiration from Madhubani or Mithila painting whose origin is said to be traced back to the time of Ramayana and a number of prominent Madhubani artists have received Padma Shri, fourth highest Civilian award in India
  • Comes with a booklet containing reference on the history of Ganjifa and rules for different card games (both traditional & invented) that can be played using this artful deck of cards 
  • Printed by Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC) on their Master Finish
  • Different game plays for 3-6 players
  • Free Worldwide Shipping

 

Note about Currency: Since I'm based in Australia, the campaign is funded in AUD (Australian Dollars). In each pledge option, I have have supplied the conversion to USD for your convenience. The project goal of $35,000 AUD is approximately $25,000 USD.

49 AUD ~ 35 USD ~ 25 GBP ~ 32 EUR ~ 2400 INR

THE GENESIS

Hello...My name is Sunish Chabba, this all started as an idea for a design challenge to revive lost or almost forgotten traditional arts & crafts (of India ) while pursuing a course on Design thinking/Human Centered Design. The challenge statement led me to the lost craft of Ganjifa playing cards and it felt like an interesting subject to take up. The intent of this initiative is to combine form & function of such art forms and make those available & accessible to everyone with the hope of kicking off the revival. The approach taken towards this project started with exploratory research and then moved on towards Ideation, Concept development, Rapid prototyping followed by feedback & subsequent launch on the Kickstarter platform.This attempt is to raise awareness among the public so that the knowledge of the Indian Ganjifa cards and the games that are played with them will not be lost. The illustrations are the handiwork of designer Anaya Purandare, who is equally passionate about traditional art & craft forms with experience doing work on Ganjifa craft in the past at Sawantwadi, Maharashtra which is one of the little-known places where this craft still thrives somehow. I, also, do understand that it is a wicked problem to solve and have already started working & communicating with patrons and change agents who are working for the same cause of reviving such art & craft forms. I am  grateful to them for the guidance and suggestions during the course of this project. 

A BIT OF HISTORY

Various kinds of playing cards from around the world are related to each other by common descent, forming a family tree with ever diverging branches (and in rare cases converging ones).

PLAYING CARD FAMILY TREE
PLAYING CARD FAMILY TREE

                                                *Reproduced with permission from Tor Gjerde 

From historical and literary records, Ganjifa cards are known to have been in use in Persia during the European renaissance. These were introduced by the Mughal rulers in India in the 16th century. A key reference comes from an early biography of Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty. “Gunj” is a Persian word meaning treasure, and the last two syllables may be derived from the Chinese “chi-p’ai”, meaning playing cards — but these suggestions are unproven. In Orissa,  where it is called Ganjappa, they say the word came from "gaja pa" that means elephant's foot, because the round cards when they are being played look like an elephant's foot.

The cards are typically circular, although some rectangular decks have been produced. During the later 16th and early 17th centuries, the cards spread to various parts of India and evolved into new forms. One such form was the Dashavatara Ganjifa, which depicts ten incarnations or avatars of Lord Vishnu.  According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu when revealing himself in opposition to evil chose these human and animal appearances. From the 17th century onwards, Dashavatara Ganjifa became the most popular card game in Rajasthan, Bengal, Nepal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Ganjifa cards are also said to be known as Indian Tarot in the old days. 

The Ganjifa Art has been dying out in India, due to lack of interest and awareness with just a handful of people who know the craft of designing the cards by hand and even a lesser number who know how to play any game with Ganjifa cards.

Set of old Ganjifa cards from the personal collection of Late Kishor Gordhandas
Set of old Ganjifa cards from the personal collection of Late Kishor Gordhandas

 

Reference from the personal collection of Late Kishor Gordhandas
Reference from the personal collection of Late Kishor Gordhandas

 

Dashavatara Ganjifa, circa 1940
Dashavatara Ganjifa, circa 1940

GURU GANJIFA: THE DECK

Guru Ganjifa is based on the Dashavatara Ganjifa, and may be the only form of this Ganjifa variant ever produced with modern printing methods and sold in the West. The artwork is inspired by the Madhubani (or Mithila) paintings, a form of folk painting said to go back to the time of the Ramayana. All cards are round with a 74 mm diameter. As it is the first product coming from the stable of Guru Playing Card Company (GPCC), it has been named "Guru Ganjifa". In Sanskrit, "Gu" means "darkness of ignorance" and "Ru" means "one who removes". Another meaning for Guru is "One who reveals the Guri (target) to the disciple".

The Guru Ganjifa deck consists of 130 cards, of which 120 are used in play. The other ten contain information about the avatars of Lord Vishnu. Each of the ten suits contains cards numbered 1 through 10 plus two face cards, a total of twelve cards per suit. The face cards are the Mantri (similar to the Jack) and the Raja (similar to the King). 

The Raja and Mantri are always the highest cards, but in one group of suits the pip cards rank from the 10 (below the Mantri) down to the 1 (lowest), while in the other group they rank in the reverse direction from the 1 (below the Mantri) down to the 10 (lowest). The rule by which numbered cards rank upside down in half the suits is also found in some early European games, indicating that it goes back to the common ancestor of Western and Eastern cards.

Specifications
Specifications

 

Raja Face Cards (depicting avatars of Lord Vishnu)
Raja Face Cards (depicting avatars of Lord Vishnu)

 

Pip Cards (Matsya suit)
Pip Cards (Matsya suit)

 

Back in earthy red as found in historical references
Back in earthy red as found in historical references

 

 

Krishna suit
Krishna suit

 

 

Buddha suit
Buddha suit

 

 

Here is a prototype deck that we got printed a few weeks back. Please note that the box design for the prototype looks different than the latest mockup above owing to specific feedback from a few, and thus, the designs were updated. The design in Black was the second iteration of changes in the box per the feedback received. For the pics of the latest prototype, you may want to head over to Updates tab for a quick look of the latest design. Note that, the final design may still change but the plan is to get these finalized on or before the campaign end date.

Box design (Prototype - final design may change)
Box design (Prototype - final design may change)

 

 

 

 

Latest Box Design
Latest Box Design

GAMES

There have been references to trick taking games using Dashavatara Ganjifa and 3 games have been documented in the booklet till now. Two of which are traditional ones with one of the contributions made by  Her Highness Rajmata Satwashila Devi Bhonsle of Sawantwadi, Maharashtra in India. The third is a recently invented game by Adrian Morgan, who has given permission to reproduce the game in the booklet accompanying this deck and has also provided a number of inputs on the games, booklet as well as the Kickstarter campaign, in general.  

Anyone interested in glancing at different games  that can be played between 3-6 players  can check here.

Please feel free to share your suggestions on the games and if you have or are keen to invent new games with such a deck of cards (may be, you own an old Ganjifa deck), let me know.

MANUFACTURING

The Expert Playing Card Company will produce Guru Ganjifa deck. This is to ensure that you receive the highest quality product possible, and a deck of playing cards that is both incredibly durable and handles amazingly. Guru Ganjifa will sport the highly acclaimed MASTER Stock and Finish.

FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE

I am pleased to announce that any and all copies of Guru Ganjifa pledged for during this campaign include worldwide shipping. It will be shipped by Taiwan Post Parcel Services (TPPS) and has been tried and tested with a number of other projects on Kickstarter. 

*Please note it is not an EU Friendly Shipping or any other friendly shipping  option for some other country. I did try to explore this option with other vendors, then I read this. I would dig into this in future, but didn't find the time since last month to explore & understand how these options really work on the ground. 

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT GURU GANJIFA?

  • Back us. The reward tiers have been kept simple with 1,2 and 4 decks as rewards
  • Tell all of your friends to get their own deck
  • Share! Help us spread the word via the “Share this project” button above. 
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

By supporting my project you are acknowledging that the time spent on it was worth it, and you are supporting all the good projects with real efforts on Kickstarter. You are also supporting folk & traditional arts which may help in giving a new lease of life to Ganjifa cards and similar art forms.

 

TIMELINES

Kickstarter Campaign: May-June

Surveys returned: End of July

Digital proof processing and physical proofs approved: Late August

Begin printing of cards: September

Fulfilment and shipping: November- December

WHY KICKSTARTER

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that helps bring creative projects to life. Think of Kickstarter as a place where you can help support a project like this and in return you are offered a series of rewards depending on your pledge. Once you've chosen what type of reward you would like to receive, Kickstarter will ask you to register in order to record your pledge. They will safely set up your payment but you will ONLY be billed at the end of the campaign IF this project reaches its funding goal. Remember, if the project isn't fully funded during our Kickstarter campaign, you won't be charged a dime (and, unfortunately, the deck won't be published). You can always go back and change or cancel your reward level before the campaign ends. You can check more info about it here

I've invested everything I can give in terms of time, organization, monetary investment and research in the last couple of months to get it off the ground. It is now in the hands of the universe to see it through. With the funding goal achieved, I will be able to  take the idea to production for the first print run of 1000 decks and get this beautifully crafted deck across to all of you out there with the sole aim of conserving and reviving the rich legacy of Ganjifa cards.

ABOUT GPCC

The idea was born of the Design thinking course I was pursuing in February this year. The aim of Guru Playing Card Company is to spread and create awareness about the beautiful but traditional art forms as well as use them in a contemporary manner. When I'm not pursuing these creative endeavors, I work as an IT Consultant in my other life.

THANKS

I’d like to thank my parents, family & friends for their help along the way. Here goes the list of appreciation:

H.H. Satwashila Devi Bhonsle, Late Sh. Kishor Gordhandas, Anaya Purandare, Adrian Morgan, Mike Ratledge, United Cardists forum, Robert Tomlinson, folks @ BGG, Tor Gjerde, Rev. Jeff Hopewell, Simon Wintle, Ben Jones, David Harding, Jamey Stonemaier, Nitin Krishna, Arnab Nandi, Rohini Gupta, Claudio Perrone, Jeff Anderson, Allan Kelly, Luke Hohmann, Jason Little, Yves Hanoulle, Puneet Latawa, Dharam Sharma, Deepinder SIngh, Puneet Sharma, Aman Saini, Manavinder SIngh, Amit Sharma, Anuj Behal, Dilbag Bal, VIjeesh Sathyanesan, Parampreet Khurana, Vasudha Joshi & team @ India Foundation for the Arts (IFA)

Heartfelt thanks to IDEO.org , Acumen, Springboard & Coursera for changing the face of education and delivering such quality courses.

More specifically, I thank the faculty & peers of the following two Coursera courses:

Design Thinking for Innovation

Business Model Canvas: A Tool for Entrepreneurs and Innovators (Project-Centered Course)

VIDEO CREDITS

Narration by Nitin Krishna

Heartfelt thanks to Josie Sandoval & Mela Artisans for giving the permission to use some bits from the video they'd shot at Sawantwadi. 

Music: Royalty Free music from Bensound

           Sitar Long by Kaiho CC BY 3.0

           Breaks Beat 4811 by day_tripper13 CC BY 3.0

KEEP IN TOUCH

Guru Playing Card Company Website

Guru Playing Card Company on Facebook

Guru Playing Card Company on Twitter

Risks and challenges

This is my first project and I've made sure to check with and learn from the people who have run Kickstarter campaigns earlier. I've kept the reward tiers simple with a sole focus on the game itself, and that's the reason of not offering anything else apart from the game.

Artwork is almost finished, with the decision on which of the two box designs need to be chosen is pending, and the booklet being reviewed by some of the leading authorities on Playing Cards. In all likelihood, both of these will be finalized before the campaign ends.

I’ve done my best to plan and added in some buffer to Production schedule & shipping timelines, but print or shipping delays are still possible. Either way, I will do my best to keep you posted and resolve any issues at hand. I believe I'm thoroughly prepared for this campaign and will be open and transparent to all the backers if any difficulties are encountered. This is a learning process for me, so if you have any recommendations, please message me.

Note: Presented artwork is subject to minor tweaks and updates. You, as a backer, are responsible for import duties, VAT or any other duties that may be payable to the relevant tax authorities in your respective country as well as providing correct address information in the survey after the campaign has ended (if successful).

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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Funding period

- (33 days)