Belfast-based multidisciplinary design studio Karishma’s World by Karishma Kursukrkar has launched her Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a unique politically inspired and designed card game Espionage. Triggered by the inauguration of President Trump, the game is designed to offer players an interactive fiction experience.
I met Karishma through Belfast Design Week having attended one of the inaugural events in 2015. Karishma curated a wonderful festival that brought various disciplines into the design arena, so on learning she was launching a game my intrigue was sparked.
My friend Jess caught up with Karishma to find out more about the game and how it came into play.
You’ve just launched a Kickstarter campaign for your card game Espionage. What’s the game about?
Espionage is an illustrated political card game conceived and designed in Belfast in my studio. It combines chance and strategy and – as said by one of the game testers – it’s a bit like “spy monopoly.” Espionage allows players to assume the identities of leaders and rebels all of whom are fighting it out to assume control of the world. The game involves secret locations, weapons and back stories and the aim of the game is to accumulate as many of the secret locations as possible and become the eventual world leader (or tyrant!). Red herrings and player-controlled action cards have been designed to throw obstacles into the path of players during the game. The main premise: “Whoever knows the most secrets rules the world.”
Who is the game suitable for?
Espionage is essentially a party game and is intended for players of all abilities. It’s easy to learn and has certain elements that are similar to classic games that people are familiar with. The game is best suited to a group of 4-8 players.
How did you create Espionage?
I’ve designed for a long time but am a newbie in terms of game design. The creative process has been quite different from my previous projects because of the way in which games are created and the focus on game testing and mechanics. The creative process has been quite circular because of me being involved in all elements of production – so ideation, sketching out to design to testing and then back in to ideation/editing and starting the process again.
What was the inspiration behind the game?
If Trump can become president surely anyone can become president – this was the idea that first inspired Espionage.What first began as a series of politically themed illustrated cards soon turned into a card game. Some of the key influences are globalisation, the harbouring and sharing of secrets for political gain – thinking NSA and the like – and spying on an international scale. The styling of Espionage was particularly influenced by the Tintin comics. One of the inspirations for the “feel” and “humour” of the game has been the political podcast The Bugle which I love listening to.
Espionage is now live on Kickstarter at
and will run throughout the summer in hopes of raising £3500 to bring the project to life. The funding will contribute to the design, manufacturing and shipping of the product. Karishma’s World will be offering a range of gratitude options and stretch goals to supporters of the game as well as updating backers throughout the process and beyond.
For example for £25 you’ll receive an espionage limited edition t-shirt with Karishma’s beautiful designed artwork. I need this in my wardrobe!!