In 2019, 3,734 successful campaigns ran on Kickstarter in the gaming category, raising more than $219 million. Of these 3,734 campaigns, there was one campaign from India that contributed to this number significantly. This campaign was SHASN – The Political Strategy Board Game, which raised over half a million dollars through crowdfunding alone.
SHASN comes from a first-time creator from India, Zain Memon. Zain took the opportunity and the chance of bringing a strategic political board game to an audience that otherwise averts from engaging with politics. Witnessing successful Kickstarter campaigns from India is not a frequent experience. The SHASN team had all the odds stacked against them, yet they managed to prevail over these obstacles and pull off a historic, crowdfunding success.
SHASN is a breakout success in the history of Indian creators contributing to crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The campaign met its funding goal of $25,000 within the first 24 hours of going live. It even managed to surpass the goal by more than 10 times, raising $340,000 over 35 days, with 4200 backers.
What made SHASN a success was the experience of taking on the role of a politician it offered to the players. Building your own political ideologies by making policy decisions and competing for power over the nation, added to the entirety of the gameplay. SHASN shipped with 5 different campaign decks, which allowed the players to experience the diverse politics of India, the US, the UK, The Roman Empire and The Future.
SHASN has received general acclaim from the board gaming circuit at large, winning several community awards including the highly prestigious Social Impact Award at IndieCade Europe 2019, widely regarded as the Sundance of the gaming industry.
With tens of thousands of players across 60 countries, SHASN has a cornerstone of Indian board gaming abroad – a truly global Indian export, the first of its kind since Chess.
Reviewers have hailed SHASN as “the best thing to come out of American politics in a very long time” (Stephen Gulik, Everything Board Games), “A really clever strategy game entrenched in a surprising political battleground” (Elan Lee, Exploding Kittens) and “irreverent, relevant, and deeply humorous” (Dan Thurot, Space Biff).
SHASN is now finally available in Indian market for Indian audiences.