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Abhishek Lamba’s ‘AZADI’ wins the ‘Best Board Game’ at the 20th Games For Change Festival

YIF alum Abhishek Lamba (YIF '18) combines games and grit to make a mark in the field of games, entertainment and education

YIF alums have made strides in different industries and disciplines, bringing together their learnings in many exciting ways. Abhishek Lamba (YIF’18) has combined the learnings they took away from YIF with their creative spirit. Their game ‘SHASN: AZADI’ has won the ‘Best Board Game’ at the 20th Games For Change Festival, New York.

“For most of my life, I struggled to find spaces where I could grow meaningfully. But at YIF, I found a space to approach education in a truly interdisciplinary manner. The academic discourse at Ashoka imbibed a rigour in me that I am grateful for even today.”

Since the fellowship, they have brought together their learnings in surprising ways. Post YIF, they worked with Memesys Studios with Zain Memon, co-authoring ‘SHASN: AZADI’, a board game about freedom struggles. It raised over $200,000 on Kickstarter and was the first board game ever to win the prestigious Games For Change Awards in New York.

AZADI is a political strategy board game where players play as revolutionaries, trying to free their country from the grips of tyrannical imperial powers. Bringing players face-to-face with systemic historical oppression, AZADI reverses the narrative across popular media where the oppressors are presented as heroes and instead tells the story of the oppressed fighting back.

There are no limits to Abhishek’s creativity. When asked about their other creative pursuits, they said, “I have also expressed my artistry by writing a poem daily. I have done so for the past four years to bring a sense of unimpeachable commitment, discipline, and rigour to my craft. My poetry has been featured on pages like Gaysi Family and the Queer Muslim Project.”

Combining their interests in game design, writing, and social work, Abhishek has created and conducted workshops for kids and adults. They have worked in organisations in Bombay as well as Goa in pursuit of creating replicable pedagogical tools to understand the concepts of ludology, science, and gender better.

Abhishek had wholesome things to say about their time at Ashoka. “Designing a curriculum for children during my ELM (along with Mehr Pasrich and Srishti Gupta), fiery classes with Prof. Dilip Simeon, and hours spent reading and discussing seminal political texts in the library with my peers; all my experiences in the fellowship were quintessential in laying the foundations for my authorship. YIF gave me a platform to explore and express myself in a way I never had, and as clichéd as it sounds—“reach for the stars,” shares Abhishek.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka