Lessons in Mentoring Game Design

Mentoring is an Art and a Science, waiting to be discovered by a process of trial and commission. This past summer of COVID 2020, 11 Mentors (Class of 2021) were in turn mentored to step up and work with 5 teams to develop a board game in 4 weeks! The lessons are priceless and our young adult mentors were able to reflect on their experience through a series of FB Live interviews with Rathi Raja. Part 1 Sanjna Kedia ~Virtual coaching has been very gratifying though we struggled at times ~Playing games helps everyone to connect with each other ~Becoming friends with the kids really got them to speak and engage ~It's all about collaboration and compromise at the end of the day Haritha Lakshmana

Gita Vicara Leadership Program

What is Leadership? A much used word, we have a sense for it, and yet eludes, at many levels, a crisp definition. I have an insight that leadership develops and matures at the intersection of worlds, thoughts, enterprises, endeavors and values. Having taught youth many wisdom teachings from the Bhagavad Gita & Upanishads for over 30 years, the one principle that jumps out is to always move ideas and challenge perceptions. The Gita Vicara Leadership Program(GVLP) seeks to formalize this process of movement in a loving, gentle manner, bringing three circles of activity to intersect. At this confluence lies character and values. Values that promote a life of contribution, harnesses our creativi

Delhi to Jaipur ~ A Virtual Game Design Camp 2020

It was a strange summer of our times with lock downs, quarantines and Zoom burnouts! But we were traveling a path untrodden, at breakneck speed, to get to a destination in our imagination! Game Design it was, immersed in travel, feeding the power of imagery to experience a game set in a far off place! 11 Mentors, 28 Youth and 2 Guides made an amazing Game Design camp happen, traveling from Delhi to Jaipur! Board and Deck games were created, cards designed, obstacles maneuvered, monuments restored, boards mapped out, and then the final show! 5 teams over just 5 weeks had prototypes to show, rules laid out and winners declared. Here is what was created by our All Star groups in the spirit of c

Presidential Awards 2020~Our 5 year Journey

2020 was a banner year for YICG Games for Seva in terms of being recognized as a unique leadership program, providing not only the opportunity for hundreds of hours of service, but also learning skills such as design thinking, game development, prototyping, collaborating and conducting presentations. All life skills for this era of our civilization. What have we accomplished 11 High School Youth received the Presidential Award, the highest award for service in USA. What is the back story? How did a small organization think so big? 29 deck and board games in 4 years is no small feat. It happened due to a unique confluence of mentors, teaching paradigms, technology tools, and a can do service

Vision of the Gita~10 Essential Verses

It can be overwhelming. So when Pujya Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati’s book on the ’10 Essential verses of the Bhagavad Gita’ was published, there was a collective big sigh of relief! I took each of the 10 verses and selected 4 words to study with my students The creation of the cards led to new collaborative study possibilities. They could be linked to their verse, skits and debates were possible, and poster stories happened. It was thrilling to say the least as a teacher! The back of each card served as a handy reference to the words selected, along with related concepts. The complex tapestry could be unraveled in a little easier fashion! In addition, smaller cards, with individual words and

Eco-Dharma in ‘Ganga – A River Rescue’

Purchase Game Ganga-River Rescue is a dynamic game of strategy and chance. Set upon the mighty Ganga River, we must race to save their ecosystem which surrounds the Indo-Gangetic Plains. With the ever growing population of India, through this game we can act as advocates that speak out against current climate issues such as pollution and our negative interactions with the environment. Start to build your ecosystem with a chain with a water source (river) or alluvial soil as its base card. Each card gives some background about the living unit, and so you must decide which cards to build upon the previous with this information. Sometimes, random events, such as a spreading epidemic or pollutio

Wisdom Without Borders @ RANA, New York

Sanjna Kedia with Japesh, Aarya and Diya Games for Seva is making its way to the community at large, and I’m glad to report the successful crossover between GFS and the RANA(Rajasthan Association of North America) Diwali event. Making original games to help and share with people the joy of fun was truly captured at the RANA event. Wisdom Without Borders Booth at RANA I was lucky to be able to connect with a member from RANA, who was thrilled at having the Wisdom Without Borders(WWB) kit marketed at their event. WWB is a collection of games, embodying values, dharma principles, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabarata, and the true essence of Games for Seva. It serves as a teaching & game play too

The Masters~Wisdom Quotation Decks to live by

My childhood years were defined by a lot reading. In fact I remember reading a good chunk of Swami Vivekananda’s writings one summer as a teenager and reflecting on how to serve the country, our Desh. We needed to truly ‘Arise and Awake’. But that was another era when we were surrounded by books and had zero technology! We still have the same need as then of needing wisdom and insight to tackle the problems of today, both personal and the community at large. Dipping into our treasure house of wisdom from the masters shines a fresh light on our times and is comforting to know we can apply them to today’s dilemmas. As a teacher I rely on nuggets of wisdom to make a point and we have created a

‘The Acts’ ~ Itihasas & Puranas Jewel in the Crown Series

The simple ‘Acts’ of looking at the Ramayana in search of the wise sayings embedded in conversations, within the dramatic build up to the apocalyptic battle between Rama and Ravana, yields a treasure trove. As part of a Seva project we scoured the text and put together a crystal jewel of 50 quotation cards. That success and satisfaction led to our Quotation card series on RamayanActs, MahabharActs, Bhagavat PuranActs & PanchatantrActs ~ Jewels in the Crown! I have used them as prompts for handling Dharma Dilemmas, Debates, Discussion, Charades, Pictionary and many more acitvities. Here is a quick preview! RamayanActs in the Product Store DEBATE MahabharActs in the Product Store DISCUSSION Bh

Glories~A Cosmic Vision of Isvara’s Vibhutis

Past & Future come together Sometimes ideas start as a glimmer or a remembrance. I have a vivid recollection of sitting in the main lecture hall at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam listening to Chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, with Swami Viditatmananda bringing this vision of Isvara to life, verse by verse on the Glories of Isvara. The vision was so vast, so all encompassing that I had goosebumps. The teachings lay dormant in my heart for many years until I embarked on teaching the same sections to youth students in 2018. Art as Doorway to Isvara A simple project of creating art to represent Isvara’s Glories by my students turned into a divine deck of 75 cards, with original Art, writings and interpret

Dreams of Maddur ~ Into the heart of Tamil Nadu

A Unique Editing Journey by Dr. Vardhini Desikan As a family, we would spend every summer visiting family in Tamil Nadu. During one such visit we got the opportunity to participate in seva work, for Aid India’s Eureka program, teaching English to village kids. Shravan, my son, has since, on return to New York has continued the teachings every Saturday, with online classes. Shravan’s deep involvement with Games for Seva, in New York,  led to developing a unique bilingual resource book, ‘Dreams of Maddur’, in Thamizh & English. It combined field work in India, in the village of Maddur, Tamilnadu, with the design work done back in New York. Shravan tested the concept during his weekly online cl

‘Eclipse’ ~ Make Your Life

This unique Debating Strategy game presents you with wise choices to apply towards contemporary problems. As the clock ticks, you need to convince the players that your approach to solving a problem is the best, using a personal deck of Wisdom from the Masters. Your entire group votes on who is the winner! Expand your game by adding unique goals and obstacles. Use our rules or make your own! Wisdom Masters featured are Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and many Meditations from around the World. In addition other decks can be used to add to the options. No Goal in life can be made without a strategy to handle obstacles, including wisdom and meditations. This first step then leads to all the

Its A Challenge ~ Are you up to it?

Challenges come in all shapes, sizes and scope! From the sheer difficulty of getting out of bed to making it to school in the morning to grieving the loss of a beloved family member. Can you handle it? One way to start is to see the challenge and guess the kind you could be facing in this game of ‘Guess what’s happening’. And beneath all the laughter and camaraderie, you can value the honesty of acknowledgment that real things happen to real people. The obstacles could be difficult and surmounting them could be a monumental journey. Click here to purchase the boxed set of ‘Its~A~Challenge’ Despair Doubt Sorrow Obstacles~Obscurations~Obfuscations Being in a light hearted mode acts like the p

VediCon – 2016 Our Very First Showcase of Games!

What a Day! And the T-shirts designed by Aadya Bagul was a standout. All our games were on display – Karna’s Karma, The Great Mahabharata Deck building Game, Memory Maya, Vice2Virtue, Karna’s Maze(digital debut), Nahi Bolo! For the entire gallery of photos check this link on FB out.

Bingo – Ramayana & Mahabharata

How well do you know the ancient epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata? Test your knowlegde playing this simple game of Bingo. Download our clues and cards templates for free and have fun playing a round of Bingo with family and friends. Download, Print & Play! Ramayana BingoSheet Ramayana Clues Mahabharata BingoSheet Mahabharata Clues

VediCon 2017 at AVG – GfS Youth Rule!

Many YICG Vedic students who participate in Games for Seva Activities demonstrated our classic games at Arsha Vidya Gurukul. Swami Viditatmananda left no game unturned! Posted by Young Indian Culture Group on Monday, May 29, 2017 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154730071828613.1073741953.139585848612&type=1&l=ca54b00396

Games for Seva Camp @ AVG 2017~Reflections

Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, what an environment to be in for this massive undertaking.  Being able to stay in this retreat was a treat within itself, but to help our community simultaneously is another blessing.  Not only do I feel proud to be a part of the Games for Seva mission and to accomplish the amount of work we had in this short interval, but I am even more proud to be a part of this team.  I could not have achieved what I had if it wasn’t for the tremendous leadership of Rathi Auntie in addition to the help of all the kids and parents involved.  It made for a more enjoyable experience to bond with my team members instead of working on our designated tasks in the seclusion of our homes. T

A Day at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam

As my alarm goes off and my roommate jumps out of bed, I too drag myself from under the covers to go get ready for the day. After we are showered and presentable, we pack our bags with our work and supplies and head out to our first stop of the day—the cafeteria. From breads and bagels to upma and chutney to coffee and chai, the promise of this yummy breakfast enjoyed with your friends is enough to urge even the sleepiest student on summer vacation out of bed. Refueled and energized, we then head to Games for Seva workshop. Haarika, Rathi Aunty, Tanya, and Saniya (left to right) in their workspace at AVG. The team presents some of their projects to Swamiji when he surprises us with a visit a

RamayanActs – Road to the Game

The last half of senior year often consists of spending time with friends and family, enjoying your last few months of work-free school, and making sure you eat at your favorite local restaurants as many times as possible before leaving for college. For the seniors of YICG, however, this time also allows them the opportunity to participate in their Senior Seva project. There was a claim this was hard work! The Class of 2017 (left to right: Anjali, Akshara, Rahul, Adarsh, Ashwin, Nandita, Naome) posing with their graduation cake at YICG’s Gita Vicara. Designed to involve the graduating students in YICG’s Vedic class, the Senior Seva project requires a commitment of approximately 2 hours a wee

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