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A board game that's no child's play

Pramod and Rohini, the founders of Kitki

Pramod and Rohini, the founders of Kitki  

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The brains behind Kitki, a team that comes up with board games for children with fun as a priority and learning only as a bonus, open up on their journey

A brainchild of Pramod Ponnaluri and Rohini Deepthi Natti, the name of their firm, Kitki, as it literally says, is a window to learning. In an attempt to make children enjoy the learning process, rather sub-consciously, they have come up with board games for three subjects including history, mathematics and chemistry. On their eureka moment of giving it that label, they say, “We were looking for naming this idea and nothing impressive was working out. The next moment, we started looking out of the window for ideas. And there we went, gotcha!”

The backgrounds of the two, both alumni of BITS, Pilani, Pramod, a finance student and Rohini, an economics student are a world away from what they do now. It was a rediscovery of priorities that helped them reach here. “As I was filling through my MBA application form to several colleges, I took the question of ‘why are you doing this’, a little too seriously. I imagined a situation, if I had one crore in my hand and questioned if I would do this then? The answer was no,” replies Pramod on his decision of giving it a pass. Meanwhile, Rohini’s passion for design was what she realised during her formal education. A freelance photographer and a painter as well, she’d worked on a designing internship in her last year of college, an investment research firm later followed by an experience in a start-up for a couple of years. “The journey was exhausting , but it helped me get all my answers related to my career then. From being the first person to be employed in a firm to see it grow into a 120-employee organisation, I knew all the pitfalls I had to surpass, if I had to establish one such on my own,” reveals Rohini.

The games the two went onto prepare, took a year and a half’s time. “We had to take a lot of inspirations from games like scrabble, snakes and ladders to ensure a sense of familiarity and yet retain a stamp of ours,” they say with assurance. They worked on wooden planks, used broom sticks, plastic on their way of preparing models to a refined game. While Pramod happens to be the brain behind it, in his attempt to channelise the creative and the intuitive abilities of a child with the game, everything that’s visual is a result of Rohini’s efforts. Their story is intriguing yes, but just as it is, with every other young firm, Kitki continues to have its own share of ups and downs.

It took time for convincing that, there’s a market for this, in and beyond the country and also in resisting the temptation to pass it off as another product in a toy store.Testing the games themselves, many a time with friends and kids, it was a battle of conviction.

It was relieving when they toyed with the digital media, received orders worldwide, from the likes of US and Australia. You don’t feel like nodding otherwise when they state, “There’s a universality and sure repeat value when the kids play this.”

Why didn’t they take a graphic turn, with the advent of the latest animation techniques around to build this? “Primarily, we love board games ourselves and next, the human connect the games bring about. You see each others faces, the vulnerabilities and the bonding that happens is consistently refreshing,” they prove their point.

For the child in everyone

SAMRAT (HISTORY):

A four player game where players reprise roles rulers including Muhammed Ghori, Raja Bhimdev II, Raja Jai Chand, Prithviraj Chauhan. The game tests the skill of marshalling resources to get past seven stages with the one managing it the earliest winning it all. To earn ammunition, one will be presented clues about the rulers, so that learning happens simultaneously.





ESCAPE E.V.I.L (CHEMISTRY):

Here, a supposed master traps four players in a maze and leaves them an exit passage for which, they need to prepare a product and go through several stages to earn the chemicals. There is also the danger of getting back to the initial position is also just around the corner. In the game modelled on snakes and ladders, they are asked to answer questions that involve chemistry in daily life.





THREE STICKS (MATHEMATICS):

Based on scrabble, there are three sticks measuring, 3,4,5 units respectively. Four players have to use this and build shapes starting from a triangle to a decagon. In the process, players discover shapes like trapezium and how it is formed and calculate area and perimeter and win points. Whoever gets 500 points first wins.

(The games can be ordered on Amazon, Flipkart and other online outlets too.)

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2018 10:33:57 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/a-board-game-thats-no-childs-play/article7761503.ece